Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Monks of Monk Hall

Once upon a time I wrote a short story in which Edgar Allan Poe played a major role. George Lippard, the author of The Monks of Monk Hall, played a smaller role. Lippard's most famous book is going to be made available again, and you might want to check it out:

From Ed Pettit:

I was hoping you could mention on your blog my online serialization of George Lippard's The Quaker City; or, the Monks of Monk Hall, a 19th century gothic novel set in Philadelphia.
First chapter goes up this Sat, March 24, and will continue each Sat for the next year. For more on Lippard check out my cover story in this week's Philadelphia City Paper,
"Monks, Devils and Quakers : The lurid life and times of George Lippard, Philadelphia's original best-selling author"
The Quaker City is a chaotic novel set in Philadelphia in 1842. Its sprawling, sensationalistic plot hinges on the evil denizens of a secret club, The Monks of Monk Hall, where they practice their nefarious crimes: murder, seduction, adultery and rape.
One modern critic called Lippard's style "porno-gothic." Lippard's own contemporaries didn't know what to make of him either. One wrote, "We know of no name for your style, and have not learned that any critic invented any other than the "Lippard style," which must mean a style that requires the writer to be born with St. Vitus' dance, to be inoculated for the delirium tremens, take the nightmare in the natural way, get badly frightened at a collection of snakes, and write under the combined influence of these manifold causes of inspiration."
Lippard is one of the great, forgotten literary figures of early America, a close friend of Edgar Allan Poe, a social activist and labor organizer. Lippard was admired and loathed by his contemporaries. But most all, he was read by them. He's well-worth reading again.
Thanks,
Ed Pettit
The Bibliothecary, a blog of literary endeavour.

1 comment:

Todd Mason said...

Between hippie quasi-cultist Ira Einhorn ("the Unicorn") and the sizable minority of the local ministry finally outed a few years back (as molestors, I mean), local (sadly not solely local) reality rather mirrors the novel as described...