Monday, January 14, 2013


An Abominable Desecration

W. Carew Hazlitt (1834-1913), Offspring of Thought in Solitude: Modern Essays (London: Reeves & Turner, 1884), pp. 83-84:
As for Fielding and that school, we have a fancy for reading them in the old editions, as Lamb had a fancy for Sir Thomas Browne in folio. The stiff crackling paper, the elderly-faced type, the short paragraphs, and the well-thumbed old calf bindings, seem proper to the subject and to the author, if not part of them both. Somebody has lately advertised Tom Jones in one foolscap book at a couple of shillings. We would rather not see it. It is in our eyes an abominable desecration. This is not Fielding's Tom Jones. It is enough to imagine the thin damp paper, the close packed page, the blurred cramped printing, the cropped edges, and the act-drop cover! We cannot think this is our Parson Adams. Our Tom Jones is too good to be reprinted at a steam-press, and sold at railway-stations.

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