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PR 3454 .J7
ROM a merely literary point of view his
JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE TO LISBON may add little or nothing to the fame of the author of Tom Jones and Jonathan Wild, though in respect of style it is not unworthy of this great master of English prose. But in another respect this brief record of his seven weeks' journey from Rotherhithe to Lisbon holds a distinct and very important place among the works of Fielding. For it is absolutely indispensable to the forming of a just estimate of the character of one of our greatest men of letters. Despite Johnson's eulogy —the more impressive as it was the triumph of criticism over prejudice—it would seem that there are few readers now of Amelia, the masterpiece of Fielding's premature old age. The last of the great trilogy of novels is assuredly not the least, and it will ever be dear to admirers of Fielding for its unintentional autobiography of a writer not at all given to displaying his heart on his sleeve.
The Journal is a codicil to Amelia. It was written under the shadow of death, and it is indisputably one of the bravest books in the language.
“This was a man Wrought on our noblest island plan” is the description of Fielding by his most sympathetic and accomplished living editor, Mr Austin Dobson. And the only necessary footnote authority for Mr Dobson's eulogy is The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon. By his other writings Fielding presses into the select company of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Scott. By his Voyage to Lisbon he fully and finally demonstrates his claim to stand beside them not only by right and might of genius but by his serene courage and largehearted humanity.
J. H. L.