The Song Book of Quong Lee
by Thomas Burke
copyright 1920
The following is not entirely an act of selflessness on my part. However, I hope that if I am wrong about copyright violations (see below), the Estate of Thomas Burke will understand that my actions were taken out of an affection for the source material, and not from any desire to profit from the following.

Thomas Burke (1887-1945) was a very good writer of the Edwardian and post-war eras. He wrote widely, penning 30 books, most of them about London. He was orphaned as a baby and spent his first nine years in Poplar, a working-class London borough near to Limestone and the Thames River docks. He was fascinated from a young age with the life of the East End streets and gained as much education from them as from formal schooling. His books reflected this fascination, concentrating on the East End of London and in particular Limehouse, where he was best friends with an elderly Chinese man who later became the model for Quong Lee. Burke's most memorable creation is the old Chinese sage Quong Lee, who originally appeared in a series of short stories as part of Burke's "Limehouse" series. These were later collected into The Song Book of Quong Lee of Limehouse (1920), More Limehouse Nights (1921), and The Pleasantries of Old Quong (1931).

All of Burke's work is currently out of print. To the best of my knowledge, The Song Book is also out of copyright; 75 years have passed and, as far as I am informed, the copyright has never been renewed on it. Therefore (again, this is the limit of my understanding) The Song Book is now in the public domain. Which is why I'm offering it here; not because I stand to make any money off of it--I'm not--but because I have a great enjoyment for Burke's work and am loath to see it forgotten any more than it already is. So...enjoy.

As an aside, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, the proprietrice of the wonderful Violet Books, will soon be printing The Golden Gong & Other Night-Pieces & Unpleasantries, which in her words will be "Burke's complete weird tales of Limehouse & other areas around old London, with my 10,000 word introduction revealing more about Burke than has ever before been presented to the public." So look for that, and while you're at it buy some stuff from Violet Books. They're excellent and deserve your business.

Buying and Selling
The Power of Music
The Lamplighter
In Reply to an Invitation
A Night-Piece
A Smile Given in Passing
Of a National Cash Register
Under a Shining Window
Exchange of Compliments
A Song of Little Girls
Of Shop Windows
At the Feast of Lanterns
One Service Breeds Another
An Offer of a Lodging
Of Two Dwellings
Concerning English Gambling
Of Politicians
Of the Great White War
At the Time of Clear Weather
Parent and Child
Of Worship and Conduct
Going to Market
A Portrait
On a Saying of Mencius
Dockside Noises
Reproof and Approbation
The Feast of Go Nien
Directions for Making Tea
Of Inaccessible Beauty
Night and Day
Of a Night in War-Time
A Love Lesson
A Rebuke
Upstairs
Footsteps
Making a Feast
The Case of Ho Ling
An Upright Man
Breaking-Point
An English Gentleman

If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.

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