Miscellanies by Henry Fielding, Esq: Volume 2

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This is the second volume of Fielding's Miscellanies, first published as a three-volume set in 1743. Its major work is the fantasy A Journey from This World to the Next, Fielding's richest and most extensive piece of prose fiction outside his three novels and Jonathan 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 the Miscellanies. The remaining two works in this volume are both plays which Fielding included at a late stage of planning for the book: the farce Eurydice, a burlesque of mythological figures who function as vehicles for topical satire, and The 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 the Miscellanies appeared. The introduction reviews this period of Fielding's career and describes the circumstances leading up to the original publication of Miscellanies 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 of The Wedding Day, from Larpent MS 39 in the Huntington Library, is given as an appendix to the censored form published in Miscellanies.