The Tragedy of Tragedies: Or, the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great

The Tragedy of Tragedies: Or, the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great

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The Tragedy of Tragedies: Or, the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great

The Tragedy of Tragedies: Or, the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The Tragedy of Tragedies is interesting first of all because it is inspired with the vitality of Fielding's genius, even though that genius had not, at the age of twenty-three and four, broadened and expanded into the maturity and freedom which ten and fifteen years later produced the great novels. The little play has, however, other sources of interest; its long and interesting stage history, and its thoroughgoing burlesque of the heroic play. The business of this present study is the development of these two points. The circumstances under which Fielding wrote, the development from the slight Tom Thumb of 1730 into The Tragedy of Tragedies of 1731, the anonymous interpolation called The Battle of the Poets, and the stage history of the play itself and of its adaptations, occupy the first two chapters of the introduction and the appendices. The nature and the period of the plays burlesqued, and the method with which Fielding worked out a comprehensive burlesque of the heroic play are developed in the third chapter; and the conclusions here drawn are supplemented and enforced in the notes, in which Fielding's allusions and references are checked, and the correspondence between The Tragedy of Tragedies and the plays it assails is established as far as possible by further quotation.

Probably the most interesting point in relation to the texts is the development of the version of 1730 into that of 1731. Attempts to render this as clear as possible by superposition or by arrangement in . . .

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