New Essays by Henry Fielding: His Contributions to the Craftsman, 1734-1739, and Other Early Journalism by Martin C. Battestin

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Author
Martin C. Battestin
Publisher
University of Virginia Press
Date of release
Pages
604
ISBN
9780813912219
Binding
Hardcover
Illustrations
Format
PDF, EPUB, MOBI, TXT, DOC
Rating
4
29

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Book review

This book aims to demonstrate Fielding authorship of 41 essays published anonymously in "The Craftsman" from 1734 to 1739. Fielding's connection with "The Craftsman", the leading opposition journal of the Walpole era, has never been established, nor has anyone suspected how regular and prolonged it was. Since Fielding ranks among the greatest masters of English prose, and since "The Craftsman" played such a signifiant role in contemporary politics, the argument of this volume may be said to disclose not only one of the best-kept, but one of the most important, secrets of 19th-century literature. Because the case for Fielding's authorship of these essays rests entirely on internal and circumstantial evidence, two distinct and independent approaches were adopted in order to test the argument as rigorously as possible and to improve its cogency. After proposing a set of principles for the treatment of such evidence, Professor Battestin, in the first approach, adduces numerous parallels and correspondence between the attributed essays and Fielding's known writings and circumstances. In the second approach, Michael Farringdon subjected the attributed essays to a stylometric analysis employing the most advanced computer-assisted techniques. A description of these techniques is provided. In addition to the 41 essays, Battestina also includes reprints of nine other pieces from roughly the same period that have been attributed to Fielding elsewhere. Should these attributions come to be accepted as Fielding's work, the reader will have in one volume all of Fielding's earliest published prose.


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