Emu Editions annotated works

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The Black Avenger of the Spanish Main is the quintessential pirate novel of nineteenth-century America, full of bloody battles, looting and pillaging, darkest revenge, hidden identities, and ultimately reconciling romance. Printed and reprinted multiple times throughout the antebellum years, it thrilled a generation and helped launch what became the Dime-Novel sensation. The young Samuel Clemens so loved it that thirty-years later as Mark Twain, he had his most famous character reenact the story, proclaiming himself to be "Tom Sawyer, the Black Avenger of the Spanish Main!"

 

Written by Edward Zane Carroll Judson in 1847 under his far more famous pseudonym, "Ned Buntline," this story helped launch his chaotic career as a "blood and thunder" author and political provocateur. He went on to lead riots in New York City and St. Louis, engage in filibustering in Cuba, nearly get lynched in Nashville, lead temperance lectures across the West, help launch the Know-Nothing Party, and during it all he wrote over 170s novels that helped launch the crime noir and Western genres—indeed it was a Buntline novel that turned the handsome young guide, William Cody, into Buffalo Bill. This novel is not just an entertaining, fast-paced pirate story, it's also a cultural artifact of its time. This annotated edition is designed to help the present generation better understand the cultural context of this story, including the complex racial and political overtones that show it to be not just a pirate tale, but also a response to the aggressive "manifest destiny" of the Mexican-American War that was raging at the time of its publication.

 

As is true with all annotated Emu Editions, this volume explicates this classic story with dozens of annotations and notes while also including  a brief biography of Ned Buntline, and an essay that places this novel within its antebellum American context. Combined this make this Emu Editions volume not just an entertaining read, but also a helpful text for understanding this important era in United States History.

The Volunteer, or, The Maid of Monterey was written in 1847 by Ned Buntline (Edward Z. C. Judson), a prolific and often scandalous "Blood & Thunder" writer who authored more than 170 novels between 1846 and 1886—most famously, his works turned William Cody into Buffalo Bill. This novel is an engaging and sensational story of a cross-dressing heroine taken straight from the headlines of the Mexican-American War. It was hugely popular in its day, reprinted in multiple editions, but has been out of print for the past 150 years.

 

This new Emu Editions version includes a brief biography of Ned Buntline, and a long introductory essay explaining the cultural, critical, and historical context of this significant piece of nineteenth-century American fiction, including provocative historical discoveries that link the characters in the book to the real-life characters that impacted Ned Buntline's life in the months before he wrote the book—events that included the death of his Cuban wife, Severina, and his near lynching in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

The text has been returned to its original 1847 first printing, but also includes the text changes and illustrations that appeared in later nineteenth-century editions. It also includes maps from the era, and a list of all of Ned Buntline's known publications.

Contributing Editors to this volume:
Lindsay Acker, Sol Brenneman, Lydia Chappell Deckert, Kyle Good, Ethan Herman, Mario Hernández,
Alexandra Warren, Clara Weybright