Important discoveries in private and public archives have recently brought to light many new letters by Henry Fielding (1707-54) and by his sister, the novelist and classicist Sarah Fielding (1710-68). Published here for the first time is their entire extant correspondence, edited with an Introduction and explanatory annotations - 77 letters from and to Henry Fielding written over the years 1727 to 1754, and 33 letters from and to Sarah Fielding written from 1749 to 1767.
The collection illuminates Henry Fielding's activities as author, lawyer, and magistrate; and it is valuable as well for the light it throws on his character and personal relationships. Fielding scholars are already acquainted with the important letters to his cousin Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, to his rival Samuel Richardson, to his friend George Lyttelton, and to his famous half-brother John Fielding, the latter written on the sad occasion of his final voyage to Lisbon. In this volume they will also find Fielding's correspondence with his great patron, the Duke of Bedford, and his agents - letters relating to Fielding's stewardship of the New Forest and to his appointments to the magistracy. The heart of this present collection, however - Fielding's correspondence with his closest friend, James `Hermes' Harris - is completely new. Never before published, the Harris letters comprise the finest extant examples of Fielding's epistolary correspondence, a kind of familiar writing he practised reluctantly, but well.
The Harris papers are equally valuable for what they reveal of Sarah Fielding's literary and scholarly interests and her relationship with her brother. Other letters in the collection - several also published here for the first time - will serve to clarify her friendships with Richardson, Garrick, and Elizabeth Montagu. Included in the Appendix are a half-dozen letters from members of the family that will be of interest to biographers of Henry and Sarah.Important discoveries in private and public archives have recently brought to light many new letters by Henry Fielding (1707-54) and by his sister, the novelist and classicist Sarah Fielding (1710-68). Published here for the first time is their entire extant correspondence, edited with an Introduction and explanatory annotations--77 letters from and to Henry Fielding written over the years 1727 to 1754, and 33 letters from and to Sarah Fielding written from 1749 to 1767.
Battestin and Probyn are to be commended for the discreet scrupulosity of their editorial methods on display in this collection of letters by a brother and sister who were two of the most important writers in mid-eighteenth century England * English Studies * Readers seeking a manual of instruction in modes of address to creditors and patrons now need look no further...Brother and sister have here been handsomely treated, with impeccable learning and care. * Review of English Studies * ...we are...indebted to Battestin and Probyn for making a substantial body of material newly available. As well as dicovering and transcribing this material. Battestin and Probyn have intorduced and annotated it in painstaking detail. * Reviews * 'Sarah, whose slightly shaky but carefully formed penstrokes are illustrated in a photograph, would, I think, be both nervously delighted and amazed to see her words published alongside her brother's by Oxford University Press in such a learned and authoritative edition as Battestin and Probyn have now offered.'
Susan Staves, Brandeis University, Eighteenth-Century Fiction 7:1 `Battestin and Probyn provide an impeccable textual apparatus that is both unobtrusive and informative. In short, they have created the definitive collection to which all future 18th century scholars will refer
Virginia Quarterly Review, Winter 1994