In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

218 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 attitudes in the 1750S may have changed from views he held in the 17305, when he had newly come into his own as a printer. A more serious lapse in logic occurs in Fysh's joint critique of readings by Terry Castle and John Preston. Preston's pathbreaking chapters on Clarissa were published not only twelve years before Castle's book, but before the appearance of the Richardson biography byT.C. Duncan Eaves and Ben D. Kimpel and before key articles by Edward Copeland, John Carroll, and Shirley Van Marter, who for the first time focused interpretive attention on Richardson's textual revisions and on his role as printer of his own texts. Fysh reads Preston ahistorically, failing to consider that, unlike Castle, he did not benefit from advances made by these later studies. Overall, however, The Work(s) of Samuel Richardson is a rewarding, highly original, and readable book. Most important, it invites further study of the many unexamined aspects of Richardson's unique identity as a printer/ author in the eighteenth century. (JANET E. AIKINS) Sarah Fielding. The Adventures ofDavid Simple and The Adventures ofDavid Simple, Volume the Last. Edited by Peter Sabor University Press of Kentucky. xlii, 400. us $45.00, us $16.95 Under the general editorship of Isabel Grundy, the University Press of Kentucky series fEighteenth-Century Novels by Women,' has made accessible some lesser-known, but far from obscure, works of the period. The evidence of the three previously published volumes in the series confirms its exemplary attention to a range of reader needs: generous and exacting scholarlyapparatus, astute introductory essays, effectivelycopy-edited text, reasonable price, and the physical pleasures of heavy paper and generous margins. Peter Sabor's superb edition of Sarah Fielding's The Adventures of David Simple and Volume the Last reaches the high standard of these earlier . works and, in the process, provides both compelling reasons for those who are familiar only with Malcolm Kelsall's 1969 edition to revisit the novel and a fascinating glimpse into changes in editorial assumptions in the intervening thirty years. As Sabor documents, Kelsall's decision to reprint the second-edition text was largely shaped by critical interest in Henry Fielding's revisions. These numbered in the hundreds, and their distorting effects were compounded by the replacement of Sarah Fielding's'Advertisement to the Reader' with a preface in which her brother forwarded a view of fiction at odds with her sense of her work as a 'Moral Romance.' Sabor's astute commentary on the limitations of the 1969 David Simple reinforces how fully his choice of the first edition as copy-text returns the novel to Sarah Fielding. In matters biographical and critical, the introduction proves equally lucid and helpful in its judgments. Sabor's impulse throughout to contextualize Fielding's career allows the private, literary, and social HUMANITIES 219 aspects of her life to be represented in terms revelatory of her as an individual subject and as a woman writer. The result is a complex and sophisticated narrative that prepares the reader to appreciate Fielding's irmovative teclmiques, most especially those relating to the quality most admired by contemporaries, her revelation of inwardness. In David Simple, the protagonist's pursuit of true friendship involves his 'seriously considering the Motives from which [his acquaintances] acted'; Volume the Last, published nine years later, reverses the fortunate conclusion of his search as David's extended family suffers unwarranted persecution. While the two novels differ in tone, the continuous refinement of Fielding's representation of character is observable in the latter work's detailed rendering of the tension between motive and action. Commentators have long been attentive to this gift, often describing it, as Richardson did in a letter to Fielding, through contrast with herbrother'5 work: 'His was but as the knowledge of the outside of a clock-work machine, while your's was that of all the finer springs and movements of the inside.' But such praise can obscure the compelling claims for attention to David Simple and Volume the Last as novels that document with extraordinary fidelity the conditions of mid-eighteenth-century life. The particularly awful plight...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 218-219
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.