Saturday, August 11, 2007


Book Title of the Week

Passed along me by bookseller Nathan Pederson at The Americanist (thanks!), it's:

Seven Wives and Seven Prisons:
Or, Experiences in the Life of a Matrimonial Monomaniac.
A True Story, Written by Himself.

Nathan pointed me to this great write-up by Garrett Scott, who's selling an 1870 1st edition:

The misadventures of a homeopathic doctor turned serial bigamist, on the run in upstate New York and New England. Despite Wright's classification of this work as fiction, the recurrent episodes of matrimony (varied with the occasional forged bank note or prison-bound son) have enough clumsy detail to ring true--an assessment evidently shared by Kaplan. In any event, despite Abbott's legal setbacks, with each chapter one happily anticipates a sentimental renewal from our tender-hearted narrator: "From the day, almost, when I began to board with this farmer there sprung up a strong attachment between myself and his youngest daughter [wife number two] which soon ripened into mutual love."
The Gutenberg project has it online, and as one reader/volunteer puts it, the "twists and turns of the plot resemble a snake orgy."

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