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In London Labour and the London Poor (1861) Henry Mayhew wrote, “Of all books, perhaps none has ever had so baneful effect upon the young mind, taste, and principles” as Jack Sheppard
. An historical novel based on the exploits of John Sheppard, a thief who was executed in 1724, Jack Sheppard was blamed for inciting working-class crime and vagrancy for decades after its 1839 publication. The fast-paced narrative of Sheppard’s repeated prison escapes and his struggles against the evil thief-catcher Jonathan Wild was immensely popular, as well as controversial, in its own time, and is now available for the first time in a fully annotated edition. This Broadview edition includes the original George Cruikshank illustrations, as well as a rich selection of contemporary reviews of the novel and material on the historical Jack Sheppard, Victorian urban street culture, and the novel’s popular theatrical adaptations.