Dime Novels: Or, Following an Old Trail in Popular Literature

Dime Novels: Or, Following an Old Trail in Popular Literature

Dime Novels: Or, Following an Old Trail in Popular Literature

Dime Novels: Or, Following an Old Trail in Popular Literature

Excerpt

"Touch but a hair of her head, and by the Lord that made me, I will bespatter that tree with your brains!"

This is from page ten of the first dime novel. It took twenty or thirty years for such exciting sentences to move up until they became the first words on page one. Then, according to a beloved tradition, the stories opened:

"Bang!

"Bang!

"Bang!

"Three shots rang out on the midnight air!"

And this progress represents the history of the dime novel.

The tale which contains the remarks about "a hair of her head" coupled with the threat to bespatter the tree with brains, opens in sober fashion. Here is its peaceful beginning:

"The traveller who has stopped at Catskill, on his . . .

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