The City of the Jugglers, and Other Stories

There is one discovery I have not yet made. It is the depth of human stupidity. I hope yet to fathom it. Would there were equal hope of discovering its antidote!—"The Master of the World"


Surely truth is great, and will prevail. Why then fear discussion, free and fearless?—"The Grand Style"


"Visit me at my chambers next Sunday, if it will suit your engagements, and we will smoke over the subject."The City of the Jugglers

Regarding that last quote, James Joyce would have been hard put to turn such an elegant phrase with as many different meanings.

When I first learned of William North at the Vault at Pfaff's, I considered Anti-Coningsby as a candidate for transcription. However, despite its popularity when published in 1844, I found its anti-Semitic satire so irritating that I dropped it. A glance at The Impostor failed to attract my interest, and I ended up producing a Kindle version of The Slave of the Lamp. After that I moved on to other authors in my ongoing pursuit of nearly-forgotten treasures.

Recently, my mind turned once again to William North, and I took another look at the list of his works. Upon browsing through his short prose pieces, I found them delightful, and well worth transcribing; alone, however, they constituted an all-too-slim selection. Finally, I decided to add The City of the Jugglers to this collection.

One cannot help but invite comparison and contrast of William North and George Lippard: of North's depiction of brooding male genius and Lippard's depiction of heaving female bosoms; of North's fictional formation of the "Modern Illuminati" and Lippard's actual formation of the "Brotherhood of the Union;" of their mutual admiration of Napoleon Bonaparte and their own deaths at a young age in 1854.

The short stories and essays in this collection are taken from the following sources:

The text of The City of the Jugglers is taken from this scan of the 1850 edition, hosted by the University of South Carolina. [See also this issue of the Victorian Newsletter].

I corrected any obvious typographical errors: notably in "National Humor," "Cham" (Amédée de Noé) is misspelled both times as "Charu," apparently a misread of the author's handwriting; however, I left "Henri" de Balzac as is. Some inconsistencies in spelling were standardized, typically in favor of the most frequent occurrence.

So here it is: the master HTML version, the home-brew Kindle version, and the actual Amazon publication.

December 14, 2023

ffred's nearly-forgotten treasures