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.
“I can think of no other antebellum author more deserving of recovery than George Thompson.”
–Leon Jackson, University of South Carolina
About the Book
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, 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 depict the American city as a place of dark mystery, bawdy humor, and near-universal corruption. In each novel, a complex narrative structure interweaves multiple stories of exploited labor, abuse of power, seduction, intrigue, and crime. Thompson’s autobiography, MyLife, 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.
Critical Praise for Venus in Boston
“1 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. lt 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.”