Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — Gordon Hutner, the editor of the journal American Literary History — invited Bryan and me to write an essay-review on five recently published books about New York’s literature and culture. Although it was during a period when I was traveling back-and-forth to Abu Dhabi every three or four weeks and Bryan was doing the heavy-lifting on creating the Lost New York conference, we managed to pull the review together and get it submitted.

But it didn’t click. That’s because one of the books was not like the others. Somewhere in the course of a number of rounds of revision, the ball got dropped. (In all likelihood, I forgot to send back a revised version at some point.)

Earlier this year, I remembered the piece and lamented the missed opportunity to publish it, assuming it was now too late. Imagine my surprise and my delight when, a few weeks, an e-mail arrived from the managing editor of ALH saying that the piece was now being copy-edited. Unbeknownst to me in Abu Dhabi, Bryan in New York had found the ball, picked it up, and run it into the end zone. Or, to use a metaphor that accords with the kind of football I actually watch these days, had found the ball, dribbled it down field, and kicked it into the net.

And now, here it is, in online pre-publication form. (That means it’s available online, but not yet included in a hard copy issue of the journal). Click this link to read “Overshadowed New York,” our review of the following books:

Licentious Gotham: Erotic Publishing and Its Prosecution in Nineteenth-Century New York by Donna Dennis. Harvard University Press, 2009.
Slumming in New York: From the Waterfront to Mythic Harlem by Robert M. Dowling. University of Illinois Press, 2007.
New York Nocturne: The City After Dark in Literature, Painting, and Photography by William Chapman Sharpe. Princeton University Press, 2008.
The Scene of Harlem Cabaret: Race, Sexuality, Performance by Shane Vogel. University of Chicago Press, 2009.

As for the book that wasn’t like the others … well, we hate to throw anything away, so we’ll gussy up our excised paragraphs into a mini-review and post here in the not-too-distant future.