William Harrison Ainsworth: Jack Sheppard

(871 words)
  • Stephen Carver (Independent Scholar - Europe)

Jack Sheppard is the story of two apprentices, Thames Darrell and the historical criminal Jack Sheppard, the basic plot and moral closely following the model of Hogarth's series of twelve engravings, Industry and Idleness (1747), with just a dash of Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728), both of which had been in part inspired by the short career of the original Jack Sheppard. The novel is divided into three books, or epochs, each resembling the acts of a play. Epoch the First, 1703, takes place in one night when the main protagonists are new-born babies, and acts as a prologue. Epoch the Second, 1715, takes place over a few days in June and shows the adolescent Jack's fall from grace and into the clutches of the evil …

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Carver, Stephen. "Jack Sheppard". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 July 2001
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=4370, accessed 06 July 2015.]