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Buoyed by the runaway success of his bestselling A General History of the Pirates (1724), Captain Charles Johnson went on to publish a much-expanded edition of the work to include a further 80 accounts of some of the most extraordinary British criminals of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries entitled A General History of the Lives and Adventures of the Most Famous Pirates, Highwaymen, Murderers, Street-Robbers, &c. (1734). He added further pirate biographies but expanded the cast to include a ferocious band of ruthless and vicious highwaymen, murderers, and wider criminals. Johnson's volumes, featuring fictional accounts based on factual sources, are significant as the forerunners of the real-life criminal biography genre, and for their influence on such early novels as Defoe's Moll Flanders and Fielding's Jonathan Wild but equally resonate right through to the present day inspiring the fiction of Ben Aaronovich and Jake Arnott. Originally published in folio size complete with fine engravings, this new collection of rogues includes the very best of these original decorative plates but also presents a series of related illustrations, playbills, and portraits from the British Library collections.
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