The Terrific Register, or, Record of Crimes, Judgments, Providencies and Calamities.

Description

By the early 19th century there was a thriving popular press producing cheap reading material for the new urban working classes. Sensational and melodramatic stories, illustrated with lurid woodcuts and attention-grabbing headlines, were sold in penny instalments and eagerly devoured by a new mass audience. 

In later life Charles Dickens remembered his teenage enthusiasm for The Terrific Register, a weekly magazine which ran for about two years from 1823 to 1825. Under the pretext of exposing the misery caused by human depravity, it regaled its readers with graphic accounts of brutal executions, murder, torture, cannibalism, incest, ghosts and apparitions. For a penny, Dickens told his friend and biographer John Forster, he could frighten the wits out of his head, ‘which, considering that there was an illustration to every number in which there was always a pool of blood, and at least one body, was cheap’. Stories such as the ‘Apparition of the Duchess of Mazarine’ and ‘The lunatic widow’ fed his imagination and provided the background for a lifelong fascination with legends, fairy tales and the supernatural.

Full title:
The Terrific Register, or, Record of Crimes, Judgments, Providencies and Calamities.
Published:
1825, London
Format:
Book / Illustration / Image
Creator:
Unknown
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
RB.23.b.6916

Full catalogue details

Related articles

The Victorian supernatural

Article by:
Roger Luckhurst
Theme:
The Gothic

Roger Luckhurst challenges the idea of the 19th century as one of secularisation, exploring the popularity of mesmerism, spiritualism and 'true' ghost stories in the period.

Ghosts in A Christmas Carol

Article by:
John Mullan
Themes:
The novel 1832–1880, The Gothic, London

The ghosts in A Christmas Carol are by turns comic, grotesque and allegorical. Professor John Mullan reflects on their essential role in developing the novel’s meaning and structure.

Related collection items

Related works

A Christmas Carol

Created by: Charles Dickens

A Christmas book by Charles Dickens (1812–1870), published in 1843. Dickens was prompted to write this ...