Sarah Lill - PhD Research Student at Northumbria University



After completing my BA in English Literature at Newcastle University in 2010, I went on to study for a Master of Letters in Nineteenth-Century Gothic literature.  It was during this period that I first became interested in the Penny Dreadfuls and the publisher Edward Lloyd.  During the course of this study I completed a series of research projects, focusing on the Penny Dreadful form and the stigma attached to it and the presentation of suicide and pathology in Blackwood’s Magazine.  My MLitt dissertation examined the progression of the police newspaper in the nineteenth century, concentrating on Edward Lloyd and his publication The Penny Sunday Times and People’s Police Gazette.  I joined Northumbria University in 2011, after having been awarded a doctoral studentship, in order to continue my research on Edward Lloyd and the early nineteenth-century crime periodical.


BA (Hons) English Literature, Newcastle University (2010)

MLitt English Literature, Newcastle University (2011)


The Spectacle of Crime: Edward Lloyd and the Mass-Market Periodical, 1830-1855

My project is intrinsically interdisciplinary; it aims to explore the relationship between fiction, criminality and journalism in British serialised fiction and news material produced between 1830 and 1855, and will incorporate research into legal, political and journalistic contexts alongside the analysis of a corpus of nineteenth-century periodicals.  My research broadly focuses on mass-produced and inexpensive periodicals and associated print culture.  The central figure of the thesis will be the publisher Edward Lloyd.

Lloyd was one of the most infamous publishers of his time.  He was responsible for the production of a wide range of provocative, salacious literature, including the Penny Dreadful.  He became notorious for selling these sensational accounts of crime and it is this topic which crystallises his distinctive appeal to the burgeoning audience of his age.  He was also active in the expansion of mass publishing, introducing Hoe’s rotary press to Britain and adopting the use of innovative techniques to create cheap paper.

I am particularly interested in how works published by Lloyd can impact on our understanding of nineteenth-century popular culture and how they affected commercial mass-production.  I will pay particular attention to the Penny Dreadful and other forms of ‘undesirable’ literature for the working-class masses and I am especially interested in readerships and attitudes to the periodical press.  I will also examine the use of sensationalism and fabrication in Lloyd’s works in order to investigate the permeable boundaries between fiction and journalism at this time.

Engaging with previous scholarship which has tended to reduce the significance of this culture to solely political reasons, I intend to challenge this perspective by offering a study of a far more complex character.  Lloyd, despite being a Liberal in politics, was also a ruthless business man and his stance was typically governed by public taste and popular appeal.  A study of Edward Lloyd and his works allows us to complicate the model of literary culture assumed both by critics dismissive of the cheap press and those who would celebrate it.


Dr David Stewart

(Senior Lecturer in Nineteenth- and Twentieth- Century Literature, Northumbria University)

Dr Peter Garratt

(Senior Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Northumbria University)


North East Nineteenth Century:


Spaces in Theory


Industry in Theory


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