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My Life: or the Adventures of Geo. Thompson Being the Auto-Biography of an Author. Written by Himself.   By: (1823-)

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First Page:

MY LIFE:

Or

The Adventures of Geo. Thompson. Being the Auto Biography of an Author. Written by Himself.

Why rove in Fiction's shadowy land, And seek for treasures there, When Truth's domain, so near at hand, Is filled with things most rare When every day brings something new, Some great, stupendous change, Something exciting, wild and true , Most wonderful and strange!

[ORIGINAL.]

{First published 1854}

[Illustration: Yellow Cover of Thompson's My Life . Original size 6 x 9 1/8". Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society.]

INTRODUCTION

In which the author defineth his position.

It having become the fashion of distinguished novelists to write their own lives or, in other words, to blow their own trumpets, the author of these pages is induced, at the solicitation of numerous friends, whose bumps of inquisitiveness are strongly developed, to present his auto biography to the public in so doing which, he but follows the example of Alexandre Dumas, the brilliant French novelist, and of the world renowned Dickens, both of whom are understood to be preparing their personal histories for the press.

Now, in comparing myself with the above great worthies, who are so deservedly distinguished in the world of literature, I shall be accused of unpardonable presumption and ridiculous egotism but I care not what may be said of me, inasmuch as a total independence of the opinions, feelings and prejudices of the world, has always been a prominent characteristic of mine and that portion of the world and the "rest of mankind" which does not like me, has my full permission to go to the devil as soon as it can make all the necessary arrangements for the journey.

I shall be true and candid, in these pages. I shall not seek to conceal one of my numerous faults which I acknowledge and deplore; and, if I imagine that I possess one solitary merit, I shall not be backward in making that merit known. Those who know me personally, will never accuse me of entertaining one single atom of that despicable quality, self conceit; those who do not know me, are at liberty to think what they please. Heaven knows that had I possessed a higher estimation of myself, a more complete reliance upon my own powers, and some of that universal commodity known as "cheek," I should at this present moment have been far better off in fame and fortune. But I have been unobtrusive, unambitious, retiring and my friends have blamed me for this a thousand times. I have seen writers of no talent at all petty scribblers, wasters of ink and spoilers of paper, who could not write six consecutive lines of English grammar, and whose short paragraphs for the newspapers invariably had to undergo revision and correction I have seen such fellows causing themselves to be invited to public banquets and other festivals, and forcing their unwelcome presence into the society of the most distinguished men of the day.

I have spoken of my friends now a word or two in regard to my enemies. Like most men who have figured before the public, in whatever capacity, I have secured the hatred of many persons, who, jealous of my humble fame, have lost no opportunity of spitting out their malice and opposing my progress. The friendship of such persons is a misfortune their enmity is a blessing.

I assure them that their hatred will never cause me to lose a fraction of my appetite, or my nightly rest. They may consider themselves very fortunate, if, in the following pages, they do not find themselves immortalized by my notice, although they are certainly unworthy of so great a distinction. I enjoy the friendship of men of letters, and am therefore not to be put down by the opposition of a parcel of senseless blockheads, without brain, or heart, or soul.

I shall doubtless find it necessary to make allusions to local places, persons, incidents, &c. Those will add greatly to the interest of the narrative. Many portraits will be readily recognized, especially those whose originals reside in Boston, where the greater portion of my literary career has been passed... Continue reading book >>




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