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Letters of Edward FitzGerald in two volumes, Vol. 1   By: (1809-1883)

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LETTERS OF EDWARD FITZGERALD

IN TWO VOLUMES VOL. I

London MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN AND COMPANY

1901

All rights reserved

First Edition 1894. Reprinted 1901

{Edward FitzGerald: p0.jpg}

PREFACE

In compliance with a very generally expressed wish that the Letters of Edward FitzGerald should be separated from his Literary Remains, they are now issued with some additions to their number which have not before appeared. It was no part of my plan to form a complete collection of his letters, but rather to let the story of his life be told in such of them as gave an indication of his character and pursuits. It would have been easy to increase the number considerably had I printed all that I possess, but it seemed better to create the desire for more than to incur the reproach of having given more than enough.

Since these volumes were completed a large number of letters, addressed by FitzGerald to his life long friend Mrs. Kemble, have come into the possession of Messrs. Richard Bentley and Son, and will shortly make their appearance. By the desire of Mr. George Bentley I have undertaken to see them through the press.

WILLIAM ALDIS WRIGHT.

TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE. 31 March , 1894.

NOTE

In vol. ii. p. 181 the date 1875, which was conjectural, has been changed to 1878, in which year September 22 the day on which the letter was written was a Sunday. There was a Musical Festival at Norwich in both years, and the same Oratorios were performed, and this led me to put the letter out of its place.

W. A. W.

PREFACE TO LETTERS AND LITERARY REMAINS

After Mr. FitzGerald's death in June 1883 a small tin box addressed to me was found by his executors, containing among other things corrected copies of his printed works, and the following letter, which must have been written shortly after my last visit to him at Easter that year:

WOODBRIDGE: May 1/83.

MY DEAR WRIGHT,

I do not suppose it likely that any of my works should be reprinted after my Death. Possibly the three Plays from the Greek, and Calderon's Magico: which have a certain merit in the Form they are cast into, and also in the Versification.

However this may be, I venture to commit to you this Box containing Copies of all that I have corrected in the way that I would have them appear, if any of them ever should be resuscitated.

The C. Lamb papers are only materials for you, or any one else, to use at pleasure.

The Crabbe volume would, I think, serve for an almost sufficient Selection from him; and some such Selection will have to be made, I believe, if he is to be resuscitated. Two of the Poems 'The Happy Day' and 'The Family of Love' seem to me to have needed some such abridgement as the 'Tales of the Hall,' for which I have done little more than hastily to sketch the Plan. For all the other Poems, simple Extracts from them will suffice: with a short notice concerning their Dates of Composition, etc., at the Beginning.

My poor old Lowestoft Sea slang may amuse yourself to look over perhaps.

And so, asking your pardon for inflicting this Box upon you I am ever sincerely yours

E. F. G.

In endeavouring to carry out these last wishes of my friend I thought that of the many who know him only as a translator some would be glad to have a picture of him as he appeared to the small circle of his intimate acquaintances. The mere narrative of the life of a man of leisure and literary tastes would have contained too few incidents to be of general interest, and it appeared to me best to let him be his own biographer, telling his own story and revealing his own character in his letters. Fortunately there are many of these, and I have endeavoured to give such a selection from them as would serve this purpose, adding a few words here and there to connect them and explain what was not sufficiently evident. As the letters begin from the time that he left College and continue with shorter or longer intervals till the day before his death, it was only necessary to introduce them by a short sketch of his early life in order to make the narrative complete... Continue reading book >>


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