Corinthian Jack

By Charles E. Pearce

This is Pearce’s first sporting novel, published by Stanley Paul in 1920.

This is a tale of bare-knuckle boxing set in 1823 and contains a huge number of references to events around the Regency era, with not just the boxing and associated gambling but also the theatre, dancing, duelling and slavery. There are many real-life people drawn into the plot, including the boxers Tom Spring, Bill Neate and Tom Cribb, and the ill-fated gambler and bookmaker William Weare.

I haven’t found a first edition copy of this novel yet, so this transcription is from the Benman’s reprint of 1927, which features appallingly low quality paper, missing punctuation marks and many spelling errors. All spelling errors which are not to do with reported speech in a Bristol accent have been corrected. Benman’s books had picture dust jackets but this copy has lost it, leaving just red cloth boards.

A film of this novel was made in 1921, starring Victor McLaglen as Jack Halstead. This is a curious name change from the book’s Jack Ralstone, as a vital plot point of the book is a confusion between Jack’s surname and that of his step-father, Simon Halstead.

This book is also available in PDF.