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Foreword If you think the streets are sordid and unsafe in 1993, read Timothy Gilfoyle's recent book Ci'fy of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920. It describes in stunning detail the sex- and crime-saturated streets of New York, particularly during the nineteenth century. In this issue, Professor Gilfoyle edits a memoir by George Appo, pickpocket, "green-goods" con artist, and opium addict during one of the earliest American drug scenes. While confessions of the criminal life were by no means unknown in the nineteenth century, authentic firsthand accounts without religious axes to grind were rare. Here published for the first time, the confession of George Appo is a fascinating memoir of early American crime. James Crumley is master of another kind of crime—his own particularly literary brand of western detective novels. In his interview he talks about his roots in South Texas and about how he came to live in Montana and write about the West. He also tells us about the process of writing screenplays and of turning his own books into movie scripts. We asked Fred Kaplan, author of the fine new biography Henry James: The Imagination of Genius whether there were any of Henry James's still unpublished letters that he wished were published. He picked for us a set of letters that James wrote near the end of his life. They show what the then acknowledged "American master" was thinking about, and how he reacted, in his last years in London, to the outbreak of the Great War. James was old and the world was falling apart. His great theme had always been the American in Europe—the innocent American of means at play in a sophisticated, beguiling, morally perilous Europe. Early in his career, he had written stories and novels of Americans who were no match for the older cultures; yet during his late years he reversed the formula, depicting the fierce, reckless, sometimes mindless energy of America as overwhelming to Europe. Innocence took on a dark cast in his late works—a theme which he carried to gothic perfection in the horror tale The Turn of the Screw. What did Henry James think when Europe fell into the horrible chaos of World War I— and how did he respond to the United States' refusal, for as long as he lived, to join with a beleaguered France and England? Fred Kaplan's selection of mostly unpublished James's letters tells that dramatic story. Congratulations are in order for the following writers whose stories and poems have been reprinted recently from these pages: Susan Gaines for her story "The Mouse," reprinted in The Best of the West 5; Norman Lavers for his story "The Telegraph Relay Station," and Larry Levis for his poem "To a Wren on Calvary," reprinted in Pushcart Prize 1992-93; Kate Wheeler for her story "Improving My Average," reprinted in the O. Henry collection of 1993; Diane Johnson, whose essay "Rolex" appears in the 1993 Besf American Essays. Congratulations also to Robert Olen Butler. The story "Open Arms," originally published in The Missouri Review, leads off his collection A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. SM ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 5-6
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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