Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon - Volume 1
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When it was determined to extend the present edition of Fielding, not merely by the addition of Jonathan Wild to the three universally popular novels, but by two volumes of Miscellanies, there could be no doubt about at least one of the contents of these latter. The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, if it does not rank in my estimation anywhere near to Jonathan Wild as an example of our author's genius, is an invaluable and delightful document for his character and memory. It is indeed, as has been pointed out in the General Introduction to this series, our main source of indisputable information as to Fielding dans son naturel, and its value, so far as it goes, is of the very highest. The gentle and unaffected stoicism which the author displays under a disease which he knew well was probably, if not certainly, mortal, and which, whether mortal or not, must cause him much actual pain and discomfort of a kind more intolerable than pain itself; his affectionate care for his family; even little personal touches, less admirable, but hardly less pleasant than these, showing an Englishman's dislike to be "done" and an Englishman's determination to be treated with proper respect, are scarcely less noticeable and important on the biographical side than the unimpaired brilliancy of his satiric and yet kindly observation of life and character is on the side of literature.
There is, as is now well known since Mr. Dobson's separate edition of the Voyage, a little bibliographical problem about the first appearance of this Journal in 1755. The best known issue of that year is much shorter than the version inserted by Murphy and reprinted here, the passages omitted being chiefly those reflecting on the captain, etc., and so likely to seem invidious in a book published just after the author's death, and for the benefit, as was expressly announced, of his family. But the curious thing is that there is ANOTHER edition, of date so early that some argument is necessary to determine the priority, which does give these passages and is identical with the later or standard version. For satisfaction on this point, however, I must refer readers to Mr. Dobson himself.
There might have been a little, but not much, doubt as to a companion piece for the Journal; for indeed, after we close this (with or without its "Fragment on Bolingbroke"), the remainder of Fielding's work lies on a distinctly lower level of interest. It is still interesting, or it would not be given here. It still has—at least that part which here appears seems to its editor to have—interest intrinsic and "simple of itself." But it is impossible for anybody who speaks critically to deny that we now get into the region where work is more interesting because of its authorship than it would be if its authorship were different or unknown. To put the same thing in a sharper antithesis, Fielding is interesting, first of all, because he is the author of Joseph Andrews, of Tom Jones, of Amelia, of Jonathan Wild, of the Journal. His plays, his essays, his miscellanies generally are interesting, first of all, because they were written by Fielding.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Action & Adventure
- Published: 29 July 2009
- Publisher: Library of Alexandria
- Print Length: 580 Pages
- Language: English