“A curiously fleshy moment in the history of New York publishing”

June 2, 2008
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Yesterday the New York Times Sunday Book Review featured an excellent piece on Patricia Cline Cohen, Timothy J. Gilfoyle, and Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz’s The Flash Press: Sporting Male Weeklies in 1840s New York—a fascinating exhumation and examination of the weekly periodicals that covered and publicized nineteenth-century New York City’s extensive sexual underworld. Novelist Nicholson Baker writes for NYTBR:

Cohen, Gilfoyle and a third writer, Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz have together produced The Flash Press, the first book-length survey of this strange rock-pool of 1840s profligacy. Readers of Kurt Andersen’s recent historical novel Heyday—and indeed everyone interested in knowing what New York City was like before the Civil War—will want to have a peek. The authors have managed to unearth and collate a remarkable amount of enriching detail about a curiously fleshy moment in the history of New York publishing.

Nicholson concludes his review:

Thanks to… the meticulous research of these three scholars, we once again have a way of looking through a tiny, smudged window into New York’s long-past illicit life. Oh, and the drawing of the chambermaid and her warming pan is on Page 101.

Read the full review. NYT writer Jennifer Schuessler has a posting on the Paper Cuts blog about the book. We have three excerpts from the flash press on our website.

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