The Journal of Penrose, Seaman
This long-forgotten factional novel was the literary sensation of its day. The Poet Laureate Robert Southey said of it ‘Truth is often stranger than falsehood; and so it is in this case‘.
This is the account of the privateer William Williams’s adventures after being marooned upon the Miskito Coast. It is the first story of a message in a bottle, of buried treasure, the first novel written in America, and incredibly anti-slavery, at a time when America’s first three presidents owned slaves. The descriptions of flora and fauna are unparalleled, and some of Williams’ stories of mammoth bones and inscribed basalt pillars have only been discovered to be factual in the last two decades. This book updates the language of the original manuscript, which was expurgated when originally printed, and gives a short account of the life of its polymath author. This is a wonderful work of literature which will bring joy to readers old and young, and is crying out to be heard again today.
The amazing William Williams: Painter, Author, Teacher, Musician, Stage Designer, Castaway. The activities of this forgotten genius spread across almost every branch of American culture… he will stand out as a significant figure in the development of American culture – James Thomas Flexner
I have never read so much of a book in one sitting in my life. He [Penrose] kept me up half the night, and made me dream of him the other half… it has all the air of truth, and is most entertaining and interesting in every point of view – Lord George Byron
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