Venus In Boston / Edition 1

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This book reprints for the first time since the 1850s three short works by George Thompson (1823—c. 1873), one of antebellum America's most successful and prolific authors of sensational fiction. Beginning in the 1840s, he wrote stories for sporting papers like "Life in Boston and New York," edited the humorous New York weekly "The Broadway Belle," and contributed regularly to the sexually explicit "Venus' Miscellany." He also published dozens of novels, most of which were set in Northeastern cities. His writing blends entertainment and social protest, combining commentary on such issues as urbanization, poverty, race, and class with some of the era's most shocking depictions of sex and violence.

The three works in this volume offer a rich representative sample of Thompson's writing. The two novels-"Venus in Boston" and "City Crimes" — depict the American city as a place of dark mystery, bawdy humor, and near-universal corruption peopled with con artists and criminals of all kinds. In each novel, a complex narrative structure interweaves multiple stories of exploited labor, abuse of power, seduction, intrigue, and crime. Thompson's autobiography, "My Life," presents the author's life in terms nearly as lively as his fiction.

Thompson's zestful, unconventional writings fly in the face of the stereotypical view of Victorian America as strait-laced and sentimental. Ideal for use as a classroom text, this new edition includes a scholarly introduction and an extensive bibliography.

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Editorial Reviews

Leon Jackson
I can think of no antebellum author more deserving of recovery than George Thompson.... This is a book that scholars,students,and teachers need to be reading. It will be welcomed by both critics and historians alike as an important and unique peek into the darker recesses of the antebellum underworld. The introduction to the volume constitutes the most thorough,accessible,and useful account of Thompson's life and work to date. The editors carefully reconstruct the author's world and do a remarkable job of bringing his books to life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558493261
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Note on the Texts
Venus in Boston: A Romance of City Life
Ch. I The blind Basket-maker and his family 3
Ch. II Innocence in the Grip of Lust 7
Ch. III The Rescue 17
Ch. IV A night in Ann street 20
Ch. V The Chevalier and the Duchess 52
Ch. VI The Stolen Package 75
Ch. VII Showing the operations of Jew Mike 90
Ch. VIII The Chambers of Love 98
City Crimes: Or Life in New York and Boston
Ch. I A Young Gentleman of Wealth and Fashion 107
Ch. II The Courtezan's story 112
Ch. III Domestic Troubles 119
Ch. IV A Fashionable Lady 124
Ch. V A Thieves' Crib on the Five Points 128
Ch. VI The Dark Vaults 132
Ch. VII The false wife 137
Ch. VIII The Subterranean Cellar 147
Ch. IX The Masquerade Ball 156
Ch. X The Amours of Josephine 168
Ch. XI The Condemnation to Death 172
Ch. XII Showing how the Dead Man escaped 178
Ch. XIII The African and his Mistress 186
Ch. XIV A Glimpse of the Crimes 192
CH. XV Showing the pranks played 204
Ch. XVI Showing the Voluptuous Revellings 212
Ch. XVII Illustrating the truth of the proverb 219
Ch. XVIII The Dead Man's story 227
Ch. XIX Showing how Mrs. Belmont was pursued 232
Ch. XX Frank Sydney in the Power of his Enemies 236
Ch. XXI Josephine and Mrs. Franklin 239
Ch. XXII Showing the Desperate and Bloody Combat 249
Ch. XXIII Showing how Sydney was tortured 255
Ch. XXIV The Marriage 259
Ch. XXV Servants' Frolics 268
Ch. XXVI Scene on Boston Common 273
Ch. XXVII The Ruined Rector 281
Ch. XXVIII The Disguised Husband 286
Ch. XXIX Wherein one of the Characters 295
Ch. XXX Showing that a man should never marry 304
My Life: or the Adventures of Geo. Thompson
Introduction: In which the author defineth his position 313
Ch. I In which I begin to Acquire a Knowledge 315
Ch. II In which I become a Printer 325
Ch. III In which is enacted a bloody tragedy 331
Ch. IV In which I set forth upon my travels 339
Ch. V I encountered a lady acquaintance 344
Ch. VI In which is introduced a celebrated Comedian 354
Ch. VII A deed of blood and horror 359
Ch. VIII An Escape, and a Triumph 363
Ch. IX An accident 366
Ch. X Six weeks in Leverett Street Jail 369
Ch. XI "The Uncles and Nephews" 371
Conclusion: My Parting Bow 377
Bibliography 379
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