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Dime novel

A dime novel was a 19th century United States term for a low-priced novel that could be purchased for a dime[?]. The original dime novels were published in a tabloid format.

The British English equivalent term was penny dreadful.

Dime novels and penny dreadfuls often involved melodramatic tales of vice and virtue in conflict, often with strong elements of horror and cruelty.

Many American dime novels, on the other hand, had inspirational themes. Horatio Alger, Jr. was a notable writer in this genre.

Philip Pullman has written several "modern penny dreadfuls" in this style including The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well, (The Sally Lockhart Trilogy) which while themselves penny dreadfuls also incorporate the atmosphere in which they thrived.

Stanford University has a collection of over 8,000 individual dime novels, and a web site devoted to the subject.

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