Thursday, December 24, 2009

Harte, Bret. The Heathen Chinee. Illustrated by Joseph Hull. Chicago, published by the Western News Company, 1870.

Since copyright laws were difficult to enforce, the Western News Company of Chicago capitalized on the popularity of Harte’s poem by issuing the first illustrated, pirated edition, packaged in nine loose pages and sold in an engraved envelope. This pirated edition sold thousands of copies, much to Harte’s dismay, partly owing to Hull’s illustrations expressing popular anti-Chinese sentiment. In the illustration shown here, Hull depicts Ah Sin as being violently attacked by Nye and by an angry drunken mob, neither of which are mentioned in Harte's verse.

BH 90-460

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