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Title: The Great Bamboozle!—A Plot Discovered!

Creator: Walt Whitman [unsigned in original]

Date: March 28, 1842

Whitman Archive ID: per.00470

Source: New York Aurora 28 March 1842: [2]. Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue. Original issue held at the Paterson Free Public Library, Paterson, NJ. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the journalism, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This piece is unsigned. However, Whitman was the editor of the Aurora when this editorial was written, and Herbert Bergman identified him as its author in Walt Whitman, The Journalism. Volume I: 1834–1846 (New York: Peter Lang, 1998). The Whitman Archive editors agree that the style and content of the piece are consistent with other known Whitman writings of this period.

Contributors to digital file: Jason Stacy and Kevin McMullen

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One of the meanest and most contemptible tricks ever attempted by any human being, has just been exploded, and no doubt will, as it ought, bury in its ruins the reputation of those who have attempted to carry it through. Our readers will recollect with what a great flourish of trumpets the New World came out a week since, stating that if had received an exclusive copy of a new novel, "Zanoni," by Bulwer.1 Hundreds of citizens were gulled into a purchase of the mammoth sheet by this announcement. Now mark how a plain tale shall put the great Bamboozle down.

This "Zanoni" proves to be the same as a work published in the New York Visiter several years since, and entitled "Zicci." Whether the latter is by Bulwer or not, we cannot tell. But it has been resuscitated and hashed up by the renowned Bamboozle, and here we have it under the name of "Zanoni." So far, the public have been handsomely sucked in.

We last evening saw "Zanoni," as it is published in the New World, and "Zicci," as in the Visiter, placed side by side. They went word for word, and line for line; occasionally patches were transposed and altered, so as to prevent too great a similarity.

The great Bamboozle must have known that, sooner or later, he would be found out. How can he have the impudence to ask for patronage to any thing connected with him, after this?


1. Zanoni (1842) was a novel written by Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton. Whitman here accuses the New World of plagiarizing the novel, "Zicci," "word for word, and line for line" from the New York Visiter and renaming it "Zanoni." However, "Zanoni" was an expanded version of "Zicci," and both were written by Lytton. [back]


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