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Serial in fiction

Related: pulp fiction (dime novels, penny dreadfuls, etc... - 19th century literature - literature - serial film

Popular first generation 19th century serial writers: Charles Dickens - Alexandre Dumas - Eugène Sue

Most 19th-century readers received literature in serialized form. In fact, the following titles first appeared serially: Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers, Great Expectations, Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Dostoevsky’s The Brother’s Karamazov, Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady, Trollope’s Phineas Finn, Hardy’s The Woodlanders, and Kipling’s Kim—to name but a few. --http://www.breakfastserials.com/aboutUs_Interview.asp [Dec 2005]

During the 19th century, many popular writers earned a living from writing stories in serial form for popular magazines of the day. Many of Charles Dickens' novels were originally published in this manner, for example, and this is the reason many of them are so long - the more chapters he wrote, the longer the serial continued in the magazine and the more money he was paid. Other famous writers who wrote serial literature for popular magazines include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created the Sherlock Holmes stories originally for serialisation in The Strand magazine. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial#Print [Dec 2005]

In the mid-nineteenth century magazines publishing short stories and serials began to be popular. Some of them were more respectable, while others were referred to by the derogatory name of penny dreadfuls. In 1844 Alexandre Dumas published a novel The Three Musketeers (Les Trois Mousquetaires) and wrote The Count of Monte Cristo which was published in installments over the next two years. William Makepeace Thackeray published The Luck of Barry Lyndon. In Britain Charles Dickens published several of his books in installments in magazines: The Pickwick Papers, followed, in the next few years, by Oliver Twist (1837-1839), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1841), Barnaby Rudge (1841), A Christmas Carol (1843) and Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-1844). In America a version of the penny dreadful became popularly known as a dime novel. In the dime novels the reputations of gunfighters and other wild west heroes or villains were created or exaggerated. [May 2006]


Serial, a format by which a story is told in installments

Serial is a term, originating in literature, for a format by which a story is told in contiguous installments in sequential issues of a single periodical publication.

By extension, serial also came to apply to a film issued in the same installment manner over a period of sequential weeks at a single movie house.

In recent times, the term has been used for a radio or television production with a continuously evolving, unified plot and set of characters spread over multiple episodes and sometimes years (see, e.g., soap opera). The unity of plot and contiguity across numerous episodes distinguishes a radio or television serial from a radio or television series. In British television, it is also synonymous with the American term "miniseries", meaning a short run series where one overarching story is told across several episodes and concluded in the final installment. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial [Mar 2006]

Romanzo d' appendice

Romanzo d'appendìce (Italian for Feuilleton) was a popular genre in literature, which originated in England and France, in the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th.

This literary genre is characterised by the existence of many and often recurring characters, and by many cliffhangers at the end of a chapter, to ensure sales of the next episode. This is a clear case of form influencing content: these novels were published in episodes in newspapers and could in a certain sense be compared to modern soap opera. Ponson du Terrail, Eugene Sue, Maurice Leblanc, Gustave Le Rouge and Michel Zévaco were among the numerous authors which contributed to the genre.

Feuilleton is used in current language to indicate a quite improbable story. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanzo_d%27_appendice [May 2006]


Feuilleton (a diminutive of French feuillet, the leaf of a book) was originally a kind of supplement attached to the political portion of French newspapers. Its inventor was Bertin the Elder, editor of the Journal des Débats. It was not usually printed on a separate sheet, but merely separated from the political part of the newspaper by a line, and printed in smaller type. In French newspapers it consisted chiefly of non-political news and gossip, literature and art criticism, a chronicle of the fashions, and epigrams, charades and other literary trifles.

Besides France, Russia in particular cultivated the feuilleton in the 19th century. The feuilleton in its French sense was never adopted by English newspapers, though the sort of matter represented by it eventually came to be included. But the term itself entered English use to indicate the installment of a serial story printed in one part of a newspaper.

In the Nobel Prize winning novel The Glass Bead Game the current era is characterised and described as The age of Feuilleton. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feuilleton [May 2006]

See also: serial - literature

Serials in pulp magazines

Pulp magazines, often called simply "pulps", were inexpensive text fiction magazines widely published in the 1930s - 1950s. The first "pulp" is considered to be Frank Munsey's revamped Argosy of 1894. Most of the few pulps still thriving today are science fiction or mystery magazines.

The name comes from the cheap woodpulp paper on which they were printed. Magazines printed on better paper and usually offering content more oriented towards family reading were often called "slicks." Pulps were the successor to the "penny dreadfuls" and "dime novels" of the nineteenth century.

Though many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines are perhaps best remembered for the fast-paced, lurid, sensationalistic and exploitive stories often featured in their pages. Pulp covers were famous for their half-dressed damsels in distress, usually awaiting a rescuing hero.

Many classic science fiction and crime novels were originally serialized in pulp magazines such as Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, and Black Mask.

The format eventually declined (most dramatically in the 1950's) with rising paper costs, competition from comic books, television, and the paperback novel.

The genre also gave name to the movie Pulp Fiction. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulp_magazine [Dec 2004]

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