Pierce Egan the Younger (1814-1880) was like the George R. R. Martin of his day. He loved the medieval period, The son of the famous Regency writer, Pierce Egan, he authored a number of so-called penny dreadfuls, including:
- Robin Hood and Little John; or, the Merrie Men of Sherwood Forest (1838-40).
- Wat Tyler (1841).
- Adam Bell, Clym o’ the Cleugh, and William of Cloudeslie (1842).
- Paul Jones, the Privateer (1842).
- The London Apprentice, and the Goldsmith’s Daughter of East Chepe (1854-56).
- Edward the Black Prince; or, Feudal Days (1854-56).
- Clifton Grey; or, Love and War, aTale of the Crimean War (1854-5).
- Quintin Matsys (not dated but c.1850).
His obsession with medieval outlaws and rebels such as Wat Tyler, Robin Hood, and Adam Bell seems surprising in view of the fact that his life was the model of Victorian respectability. Maybe he focused on rebels because he needed an outlet from the restraints that middle-class Victorian respectability placed upon male conduct in the mid-nineteenth century – who know?!?
His works are usually of epic length – Robin Hood and Little John numbers over 400,000 words! (and here I am panicking about getting an 80,000 word thesis together). The interesting thing about Egan, however, is that he drew all of his own illustrations for each novel, which was not the usual case with penny dreadful publishers.
Below are scans of all the pictures from my own edition of Egan’s Edward the Black Prince.