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Showing posts from September 20, 2009

the waters of life and of death

In his sad last book, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, Henry Fielding begins his account proper by sketching out the measures he took, while suffering from the ills brought on by the miasmas of London, his course of life, his workload, and his forced encounter with numerous stinking criminals, beggars, whores and the whole lot, to rid London of a gang of murderers and robbers. Having succeeded in the year 1753 in actually suppressing murder for a whole season in London (a city by this time of around 650,000 people), he then retired from his magistrates position to devote himself to restoring his health. For, as he writes, “I was now, in the opinion of all men, dying of a complication of disorders.” These included gout and dropsy. “After having stood the terrible six weeks which succeeded last Christmas, and put a lucky end, if they had known their own interests, to such numbers of aged and infirm valetudinarians, who might have gasped through two or three mild winters more, I return

Fielding is on deck

My ass festival post may have been more enigmatic than I quite wanted it to be. Sometimes, I want the haze of connotation to rise up from my prose – there’s no reason to live without a little mist. But I don’t want the mist to eat up the prose. Anyway, this is a busy week for me, but I am going to write my next post about a rarely read text of Henry Fielding’s, An Enquiry into the causes of the late Increase in Robbers. We will see if I can do this.