This is the second volume of Fielding's Miscellanies, first published as a three-volume set in 1743. Its major work is the fantasyA Journey from This World to the Next, Fielding's richest and most extensive piece of prose fiction outside his three novels andJonathan Wild. Its theme, described by Gibbon as `the history of human nature', is the excoriation of false greatness and over-weening ambition, one of the great moral ideas of the age. The annotation and commentary to this edition present new evidence about Fielding's manipulation of historical sources in the Journey, which is shown to be both artistically complete and thematically consistent with the other material in theMiscellanies.
The remaining two works in this volume are both plays which Fielding included at a late stage of planning for the book: the farceEurydice, a burlesque of mythological figures who function as vehicles for topical satire, andThe Wedding Day, a revision of an intrigue comedy written early in his career but staged for the first time in 1743, only a few months before theMiscellanies appeared.
The introduction reviews this period of Fielding's career and describes the circumstances leading up to the original publication ofMiscellanies by subscription, and the historical and biographical contexts of the works included in Volume Two. The text follows the significant features of the 1743 presentation, as far as possible; the Greg-Bowers `Rationale' hitherto observed in the Wesleyan Edition is refined and augmented by more recent textual theorizing. The full,uncensored text ofThe Wedding Day, from Larpent MS 39 in the Huntington Library, is given as an appendix to the censored form published inMiscellanies.
'this volume should be welcomed among the Wesleyan Edition's best'
Times Literary Supplement
`Goldgar seems to have been indefatigable in his dauntingly diverse editorial investigations...He also provides a fund of information on classical and historical influences, on eighteenth-century London, on contemporary social issues, journalism, and medicine.'
RES New Series XLVII 185
`This is a superbly produced volume, a fitting inheritor of the work of Henry Knight Miller. The scholarship of both editors is exemplary: the erudition of Bertrand Goldgar's notes perfectly complements the precision of Hugh Amory's text. It is almost impossible to fault ... The Wesleyan editors have to be congratulated on such a rigorous example of eighteenth-century scholarship, and we should look forward to the final volume appearing before the end of
Nick Groom, University of Exeter, British Journal for Eighteenth-century Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1, Spring 1996