Editorial Introduction to The City of the Jugglers

This open-access scholarly edition of peripheral Pre-Raphaelite William North’s mid-nineteenth-century novel, The City of the Jugglers; or, Free-Trade in Souls: A Romance of the “Golden” Age, aims to make this little-known work widely available for classroom study as well as for individual reading and research. Our source text is the first edition, published by H. J. Gibbs in June 1850, the physical copy of which resides among the Rare Books & Special Collections of the Thomas Cooper Library at the University of South Carolina; a facsimile reprint edition of the novel, with brief headnote “About This Book and Its Author” written by Dr. Patrick G. Scott, is available from the University of South Carolina Press. 

The original text and USC edition contain four etchings by F. H. T. Bellew—a frontispiece and three in-text illustrations located between pages 78 and 79, 164 and 165, and 216 and 217—that have been inserted as close to their original locations in book I, chapter VI; book II, chapter IV; and book II, chapter VII as paragraph breaks would allow.  We have also included the book’s original advertisements, among which is a promised future collaboration between North and Bellew.

North’s original fonts and page layouts have proven impossible to replicate completely in a digital format; the facsimile title page has been included to show the single most perspicuous instance of the changes wrought by digitization (other examples include the precise line spacing of the poetic Prologue [pp. viii-xii of the original], the appearance of the final signatures on the Soul Agency prospectus in book I, chapter IV [p. 41 of the original], and the printed detail of the revolutionary placard referenced at the end of book III, chapter I [p. 230 of the original]). 

The text of The City of the Jugglers remains unchanged, with the exception of the following ten corrections of what were presumed errors in the original printing: a single quotation mark has been inserted after the editor’s final “right!” in book I, chapter VI (p. 72 of the original); a double quotation mark has been inserted at the end of Darian’s rhetorical question about “selfish vices” in book I, chapter VI (p. 79 in the original); “VII” has been inserted in the heading to book I, chapter VII (p.  83 of the original); a parenthesis has been inserted after the appositive “spirit of evil” in book II, chapter I (p. 111 of the original); “A” has been changed to “As” in paragraph three of book II, chapter III (unnumbered note, p. 140 of the original); “Kaut” has been changed to “Kant” in note 9, book II, chapter III (p. 147 of the original); a colon has been replaced by a semicolon within the long list of Illuminati discussion topics in book II, chapter V (p. 192 of the original): “Arabiannights” has been changed to “Arabian nights” in book II, chapter VI (p. 196 of the original); “did’nt” has been changed to “didn’t” in the monologue of the government spy in book II, chapter VII (p. 209 of the original); the order of punctuation has been altered so that the semicolon appears after the quotation marks surrounding “I must pause for a reply” in book II, chapter I (p. 223 of the original).  

Photos of all original numbered pages and illustrations can be viewed on the USC University Libraries Digital Collections website.  According to North, not a single copy of the novel was sold, although a number were apparently distributed to reviewers, and the original is currently held by fewer than ten libraries worldwide.

Annotations and Editorial Apparatus

We have used the following category filters to annotate The City of the Jugglers: linguistic, historical, cultural, and interpretive. Linguistic filters include glosses on words not in common usage and foreign words. Historical tags have been reserved for the identification of individuals or entities (i.e, newspapers) that appear in the text under satirical or occluded names, biographical or other definitional information about these figures or entities, and the discrete facts of political, intellectual, or social history alluded to in the text (i.e. the Hungarian revolution of 1848).  Cultural annotations elucidate Victorian values, beliefs, practices, rhetorics, and topics that are not so readily linked with particular times and places (i.e., domesticity, fallenness, imperialism).  Finally, interpretive tags identify intertextual allusions and comment on symbols and generic conventions.

In addition to annotations of the text, the COVE edition of The City of the Jugglers provides an Editorial Apparatus comprised of a biographical introduction to and timeline of the life of the author, William North; a briefer overview of the life and career of the illustrator, Frank Bellew; and a bibliography of published references to North. 


This COVE edition has been produced in connection with The University of Alabama English Department’s Fall 2020 EN 537: Introduction to Graduate Studies course.  This would not have been possible without the advanced work put in by our collaborators at COVE, especially Dino Felluga, Ken Crowell, and Jamie Folsom.  We are also grateful for the support and advice provided by Patrick G. Scott, whose commitment to rescuing North from bibliographical oblivion has remained unalloyed by his retirement from the University of South Carolina.  Finally, we acknowledge the Rare Books & Special Collections division of the Thomas Cooper Library at the University of South Carolina for sharing their digital materials. 

To the best of our knowledge, William North’s The City of the Jugglers and its attendant illustrations are in the public domain.

Albert D. Pionke, Editor-in-Chief, The University of Alabama, June 2020 

Citation: Pionke, Albert D. "Editorial Introduction to The City of the Jugglers." William North’s The City of the Jugglers, edited by Albert D. Pionke et al, COVE Editions, 2020, https://editions.covecollective.org/edition/city-jugglers/editorial-intr....