William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

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Diego
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William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Diego » October 8th, 2013, 7:51 pm

Centipede Press has recently published a new edition of William Lindsay Gresham's classic novel, "Nightmare Alley" and a "Grindshow-The Selected Writings of William Lindsay Gresham."

Both have introductions and added material by Bret Wood.

Beautifully produced, they contain information about Gresham and his works that haven't been mostly known until now.

Bret Wood has had a long-time interest in Gresham and talked to his widow and other family as well.

Bill Mullins
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Bill Mullins » October 8th, 2013, 11:11 pm

Centipede makes limited-edition, high quality (read: expensive) versions of books. I'd love to get a "reader" copy of these.

Nightmare Alley

Grindshow

Here's an essay by Gresham reprinted in Nightmare Alley to wet your whistle.

It was only recently that I found out that the Debra Winger character from Shadowlands had been previously married to W. L. Gresham.

Diego
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Diego » October 9th, 2013, 4:11 am

Yes, they are limited editions and not cheap, but well written, edited, and bound.

Gresham dedicates, "Nightmare Alley", to Joy Davidman, who later married C.S. Lewis.
These new books and other books-in-progress can shed new light that doesn't make Gresham out to be the bad guy, as has been the case in the past.

Bob Farmer
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Bob Farmer » October 9th, 2013, 6:11 am

Don't forget his Houdini book and "Monster Midway."

Diego
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Diego » October 9th, 2013, 11:43 am

Some of the articles reprinted in, "Grindshow", and this edition of "Nightmare Alley", include selections from, "Monster Midway." Some of those chapters of that book which were originally articles Gresham had written for magazines.
Gresham was always pitching articles about Houdini and other magic & carnival related subjects to magazine editors, with varying success.

The Centipede edition includes the original Rhinehart edition's text, which was later edited/cleaned up for later editions.
Today in a world where books like, "50 Shades....", are bestsellers, it might be hard to believe that the U.S. Postal authorities held up foreign distribution of the novel as it was regarded as pornography by them,back then...which could have been the reason for the more sanitized later editions.

Gresham's lesser known works, such as the novel, "Limbo Tower", and his body-building instruction book, "Book of Strength",(with drawing/illustrations by James Randi) can still be easily found on ebay, etc.

Bill Mullins
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Bill Mullins » October 16th, 2013, 9:48 pm

The movie version of "Nightmare Alley" is coming on Turner Classic Movies right now.

Bill Mullins
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Bill Mullins » September 18th, 2016, 11:38 pm

Other carny books:

Death on a Ferris Wheel by Aylwin Lee Martin
Cat Man by Edward Hoagland
Rodeo Clown by Bill Neely
Love Doll by Mel Johnson (pseudonym for Barry Malzberg)
The Man Who Was Not With It by Herbert Gold
Joyland by Stephen King
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Max Maven
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Max Maven » September 19th, 2016, 5:09 pm

Don't forget Fredric Brown's Madball.

Bill Mullins
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Bill Mullins » September 23rd, 2016, 1:20 pm

Brown did a series of detective novels about Ed and Am Hunter. Ed was a teenager, and Ambrose was his uncle, a carnival worker, who helped him solve crimes. The first one (also Brown's first novel) was The Fabulous Clipjoint was full of carnival material, and it won an Edgar award.

Missing from my list above is the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein, which contains some carny stuff. Bill Patterson, Heinlein's biographer, suspected that Heinlein used Gresham as source material. But the book is dedicated to Fredric Brown (who wrote SF as well as detective fiction -- the Star Trek episode "Arena" [the one where Kirk fights the Gorn lizard-man] was based on a Brown story), so I suspect that Patterson is mistaken.

Here are some clips from the movie Nightmare Alley.

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Don Hendrix
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Don Hendrix » September 23rd, 2016, 9:15 pm

Both books are now showing as "sold out".

Diego
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Diego » September 23rd, 2016, 11:55 pm

The Centipede editions are on eBay often, including right now.

Bill Mullins
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Bill Mullins » September 26th, 2016, 11:27 pm

Gresham uses the phrase "cold reading" in Nightmare Alley. Is anyone aware of an earlier usage in print? (Background here)

Diego
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Diego » September 27th, 2016, 12:57 pm

In previous threads on The Genii Forum, the origins of the word/term, "Geek" and "Cold Reading" have been discussed/explored.

Searching thru books pertaining to carnivals, sideshows, circuses, etc. there is no mention of the term "Geek", and none specifically referring to a "Wild Man" type oddity/attraction. Searches thru The Billboard Magazine, show no references to the term, "Geek" in any articles, news, ads, until Gresham's book comes out.

So far, research has not shown any use of the term, "Cold Reading", as used to to do a (psychic?) reading on someone cold, with no prior info on the person, pre-1946. No magic/mentalism books or magazines, use the phrase until Gresham's book appears.

Mentalism dealers Robert Nelson and Syl Reilly do not make references to the phrase until Gresham's book. Nelson published books/manuscripts on doing readings, but the phrase would have certainly have been used by them, if it had been part of the language/terminology of doing readings pre-1946.
In 1951, Nelson did publish, "The Art of Cold Reading", which is the first time I have found it used in any magic/mentalism/psychic/mystic,
references.

In one letter by Gresham, he mentions bringing/creating into the English language, words/phrases that didn't exist until he put them on paper.

The odds are strongly in favor these being the creation of Gresham. There are no references/evidence showing otherwise to this date.

Diego
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Diego » September 27th, 2016, 1:11 pm

While Nick Tosches was working on his writing for the 2010 edition of "Nightmare Alley", we discussed these questions which prompted me to pose these questions on The Genii Forum back then. The responses helped the research that you read in my previous post.

If anyone DOES find a reference to the words "Geek" or "Cold Reading",(as used in "Nightmare Alley") prior to 1946, please let us know.

Bill Mullins
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Bill Mullins » September 27th, 2016, 2:43 pm

I didn't recall the earlier discussions.

Here is some of what I've sent Diego offline, in case it is of interest to others.

"Geek" appears in Billboard well before Nightmare Alley. The online Oxford English Dictionary has:

geek, n. 2., U.S. slang. A performer at a carnival or circus whose show consists of bizarre or grotesque acts, such as biting the head off a live animal.

1919 Billboard (Cincinnati) 25 Oct. 74/4 (advt.) At Liberty—Snake charmer or geek man; would like to join show going south. 1935 Amer. Mercury June 229 Geek, a degenerate who bites off the heads of chickens in a gory cannibal show. 1948 N.Y. Times Bk. Rev. 7 Mar. 25 An amiable alcoholic who keeps a real live chicken-eating geek in his garden. 1961 Times Lit. Suppl. 27 Jan. 62/2 He‥enslaves a ‘geek’, a dumb sideshow stooge whose daily routine consists of being exhibited in a pit which he has to dig for himself. 1975 R. Davies World of Wonders (1977) i. viii. 130, I was compelled to exhibit Willard as a geek.‥ You lecture for a while on the yearning of the geek for raw flesh. 2001 H. Bone (title) Side show: My life with geeks, freaks & vagabonds in the carny trade.

I recently found a 1914 citation in the NY Clipper.

and Fred Shapiro (a librarian at Yale and author of the Yale Book of Quotations) found a 1912 Billboard cite.

(Yale subscribes to an archive of entertainement magazines, including Billboard, that I can't get into :(

However, this database has partial runs of Billboard, Variety, the NY Dramatic Mirror, and the NY Clipper with loads of show business journalism. It's where I got the NY Clipper citation, but it doesn't seem to include the 1912 Billboard one.

Bill Mullins
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Bill Mullins » September 27th, 2016, 3:00 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:I didn't recall the earlier discussions.


Okay, I went and found them. And I was a participant. And I said some of the same stuff that's been discussed here.

Forgetfulness? Dementia? I'm lucky I can find my way home in the evening.

Bill Mullins
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Re: William Lindsay Gresham - New Editions

Postby Bill Mullins » December 28th, 2016, 11:34 pm

Fredric Brown is mentioned above. Haffner Press is compiling all of his works excepting his science fiction. The first volume of his short fiction has been released.


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