The fact is, that America is better understood by Europeans than by its own citizens. While she is occupied in self-contemplation and self-admiration—a state of quiescent beatitude originated by amour-propre—we are in a situation which enables us to judge of her with impartiality and calmness.
On the Democracy of the United States and the Bourgeoisie of France (1838) | G. W. M. Reynolds
Sunset (1840) | G. W. M. Reynolds
The following short poem appeared in G.W.M. Reynolds’s novel Robert Macaire. Away, away, the god of day Depart to another sphere: The mists arise, but the darkling skies Like a jewell’d vest […]
Suicide of Antonin Moyne (1849) | Victor Hugo
After Victor Hugo’s death, and before the publication of his letters (many of which remain unpublished), Paul Maurice published Memoirs of Victor Hugo. This was not chronological autobiography but was, as Maurice […]
Angel or Demon (1835) | Victor Hugo
The following poem was written in French in 1835 then translated into English and published in Fraser’s Magazine.
A Brief History of Crime Literature | Stephen Basdeo
“when our happy credulity in all things is woefully abated, and our faith in the supernatural fled, we still retain our taste for the adventurous deeds and wild lives of brigands.”
Battle Song of the Conspirators (1853) | James Bronterre O’Brien
The following poem was written by the radical James Bronterre O’Brien and published in place of the frontispiece in the bound volume of George Julian Harney’s short-lived magazine the Vanguard. Battle Song […]
Keeping Law and Order in the Liberty of the Savoy according to Joseph Ritson | Stephen Basdeo
When Ritson first started his job as High Bailiff of the Liberty of the Savoy, no one really knew what the job entailed. So Ritson decided to research the subject.
The Janissary and Massacre of the Christians (1850) [Part 2] | G. W. M. Reynolds
“Karl has a wife and a child—if you consign him to death, you kill three persons at once;—if you give me up to the executioner, my fate will redound so terribly on no one!”
The Janissary and Massacre of the Christians (1850) | G. W. M. Reynolds
His rage knew no bounds. He muttered threats of deadly vengeance; and on the following morning, he commanded the prisoners to be brought into his presence. Then commenced a terrible massacre, the horrors of which no human pen nor tongue can narrate.
The Comic History of Oliver Cromwell (1847) | Gilbert Abbot á Beckett
In those days, a joke would lead the perpetrator to the gibbet, and a pun was so highly penal—as, perhaps, it ought to be—that a dull dog who had dropped one by mistake, was called upon to find heavy securities for his good behaviour.
Luke Hutton’s “Black Dogge of Newgate” (1596) | Stephen Basdeo
During the sixteenth century a new genre of popular literature arrived in England. Adapted from literature that was flourishing in Spain, a stream of printed books and pamphlets shined a light on the seedy underworld in England’s capital city. The genre — Rogue Literature.
The Black Dog of Newgate (1596) | Luke Hutton
Written in Early Modern English, The Black Dogge of Newgate begins as a long poem and was allegedly written by one Luke Hutton (d.1598). Hutton was a highwayman who robbed someone on St Luke’s Day in 1598, was captured, and subsequently hanged. It was said that ‘he feared not men nor laws’.
A Tale of the Great Plague (c.1840) | Thomas Hood
Thomas Hood (1799–1845) was born in London and, his father being a bookseller, grew up around books. He went on to become a poet, novelist, and satirist. Most famous for his poetry, William Michael Rossetti in 1903 declared him “the finest English poet” between the generations of Shelley and Tennyson.” Although by their nature pandemics are very serious affairs, this particular short story takes a somewhat lighter approach to portraying a pandemic.
Akhenaten: The Egyptian Sun King | Stephen Basdeo
For the majority of their history the Egyptians were polytheistic; Yet in the illustrious history of the Egyptian people there was a very brief time period in which the ruling class enforced monotheism at the behest of a religiously fundamentalist pharaoh.
Song to Freedom (1835) | Charles Cole
While the Spirit within me awakens to song, The strain, lovely Freedom! to thee shall belong ; Where’er thou art fetter’d, where’er thou art free, While I waken the lyre, it shall […]
The Early Works of Eugene Sue | G. W. M. Reynolds
His style reminds us of Cooper’s most approved nautical fictions, rather than of the coarse and vulgar “yarns” so tediously spun by Captain Marryat. He introduces us to scenes and adventures of stirring and painful interest.
De Balzac’s Works | G. W. M. Reynolds
A page of his book an echo to the tablet of his memory; and hence does he occasionally detail minutely those feelings and passions which the generality of authors usually express in one word.
Delight in Freedom (1835) | Charles Cole
The following poem was written by Charles Cole and originally appeared in A Poetical Address to his Grace the Duke of Wellington (1835). It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
To the Man Who Betrayed a Woman to her Foes (1832) | Victor Hugo
The Political notions of the poet must not be judged by this Song. In condemning the conduct of an individual, who betrayed a woman to her enemies, he does not vituperate the subsequent measures which were necessarily adopted with regard to that noble personage: he simply anathematizes the name of a wretch, whose heart, devoid of all kind feelings of gratitude—of respect—and of pity, was corrupted by gold, and rendered subservient to the designs of his employers.
Poland (1833) | Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo’s poem ‘Poland’ was originally written in 1833 and published in Les Chants des Crepuscules. It was later translated into English by George W.M. Reynolds in Songs of Twilight (1836), which has recently been published as a single volume, transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
Eugene Sue’s “Mysteries of the People” (1848): “The Poniard’s Hilt” and the Arrival of Feudalism in France | Stephen Basdeo
By Stephen Basdeo, a writer and historian based in Leeds, United Kingdom. This article follows on from previous posts on Eugene Sue’s epic socialist novel Mysteries of the People. In 1848 Karl […]
Ball at the Hotel-de-Ville (1833) | Victor Hugo
‘Lines Written on a Ball at the Hotel-de-Ville was written by Victor Hugo in 1833 and published in Les Chants du Crepuscule (1835). It was then translated by George W.M. Reynolds and published in Songs of Twilight (1836).
Humours of May Fair (1760): or, Scenes of 18th-Century Life | Anonymous
With hideous face, and tuneless note, A ballad-singer strains his throat; Roars out the life of Betty Saunders, With Turpin Dick, and Molly Flanders; Tells many woeful tragic stories, Recorded of our British worthies.
New Edition of Victor Hugo’s Songs of Twilight | Stephen Basdeo and Jessica Elizabeth Thomas
In this book, therefore—small though it be when compared with the vast magnitude of its subject—there are a thousand discrepancies—lustre and obscurity, which pervade all we see, and all we conceive in this age of twilight, which envelope our political theories, our religious opinions, our domestic life, and which are even discovered in the histories we write of others, as well as in those of ourselves.