Venus in Boston and Other Tales of Nineteenth-Century Life

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9781558493254: Venus in Boston and Other Tales of Nineteenth-Century Life

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 straitlaced and sentimental. Ideal for use as a classroom text, this new edition includes a scholarly introduction and an extensive bibliography.

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From the Publisher:

Writings by one of America's earliest and best-selling authors of sensational fiction.

About the Author:

David S. Reynolds is a Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  His other books include "Walt Whitman's America," "John Brown, Abolitionist," Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson," "Beneath the American Renaissance," and "Mightier than the Sword: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Battle for America."  He is the winner of many prizes, including the Bancroft Prize, the Christian Gauss Award, the Ambassador Book Award, and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

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