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INTERNATIONAL PRAISE FOR

The Meaning of Night

“Extraordinary…. Cox has crafted a fictional epic that’s reminiscent of Charles Dickens…. Unfailingly suspenseful.”

USA Today

“Fascinating.”

Globe and Mail

“An unadulterated pleasure…. Thrilling…. An entertaining love letter to the bizarre and dangerous hypocrisies of Victorian England.”

The Independent

“Like the great Victorian novels, this one is brimming with assumed identities, lost birthrights, revenge, murder, treachery and subterfuge, ensuring suspense to the end.”

Winnipeg Free Press

“A page-turning gothic thriller.”

Harper’s Bazaar

“An enthralling literary page turner…. From start to finish, it’s a thrilling journey.”

—Cleveland Plain Dealer

“A rewarding, sinister yarn.”

The Observer

“An enthralling journey into the depths of Victorian London and the psyche of a man obsessed…. The Meaning of Night will have you hooked from [the] stunning opening line to the thrilling final revelation.”

InStyle

“Resonant with echoes of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens…. Its exemplary blend of intrigue, history and romance mark a stand-out literary debut.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A bibliophilic, cozy, murderous confection.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Also by Michael Cox

FICTION

The Glass of Time

BIOGRAPHY

M.R. James: An Informal Portrait

ANTHOLOGIES

The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories

(with R.A. Gilbert)

The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories (with R.A. Gilbert)

The Oxford Book of Victorian Detective Stories The Oxford Book of Spy Stories

EDITOR

M.R. James: ‘Casting the Runes’ and Other Ghost Stories

(Oxford World’s Classics)

COMPILER

The Oxford Chronology of English Literature

For Dizzy. For everything.

Contents

Editor’s Preface

PART THE FIRST

Death of a Stranger: October–November 1854

PART THE SECOND

Phoebus Rising: 1819–1848

INTERMEZZO: 1849–1853

PART THE THIRD

Into the Shadow: October 1853

PART THE FOURTH

The Breaking of the Seal: October–November 1853

PART THE FIFTH

The Meaning of Night: 1853–1855

Post scriptum

Appendix: P. Rainsford Daunt List of Published Works

Acknowledgements

Editor’s Preface

The following work, printed here for the first time, is one of the lost curiosities of nineteenth-century literature. It is a strange concoction, being a kind of confession, often shocking in its frank, conscienceless brutality and explicit sexuality, that also has a strongly novelistic flavour; indeed, it appears in the hand-list that accompanies the Duport papers in the Cambridge University Library with the annotation ‘(Fiction?)’. Many of the presented facts – names, places, events (including the unprovoked murder of Lucas Trendle) – that I have been able to check are verifiable; others appear dubious at best or have been deliberately falsified, distorted, or simply invented. Real people move briefly in and out of the narrative, others remain unidentified – or unidentifiable – or are perhaps pseudonymous. As the author himself says, ‘The boundaries of this world are forever shifting – from day to night, joy to sorrow, love to hate, and from life itself to death.’ And, he might have added, from fact to fiction.

As to the author, despite his desire to confess all to posterity, his own identity remains a tantalizing mystery. His name as given here, Edward Charles Glyver, does not appear in the Eton Lists of the period, and I have been unable to trace it or any of his pseudonyms in any other source, including the London Post-office Directories for the relevant years. Perhaps, after we have read these confessions, this should not surprise us; yet it is strange that

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