London: Printed for A. Millar, 1752. Item #01358
There's Something About Amelia
Fieldings' Favorite Book
FIELDING, Henry. Amelia. London: Printed for A. Millar, 1752.
First edition, first impression with dropped pagination to p. 22 of volume one, but with second impression correction to p. 191 line four ("at the Folly") of volume three. With the often lacking "Universal-Register-Office" advertisement at end of volume two (M12r). Four twelvemo volumes ( 6 9/16 x 3 7/8 in; 167 x 99 mm). xii, 285, [1, blank]; viii, 262, [1, adv.], [1, blank]; ix, [1, blank], 323, [1, blank]; vii, [1, blank], 296 pp.
Contemporary full sheepskin. Gilt rolled edges. Original black morocco spine labels. Sprinkled edges. With the armorial bookplates of Aluredi Baronis De Braye of Leicester. Original owner's small, neat signature to upper corner of title pages. Bound without the terminal blank to volume one (N12). Scuffing to all volumes, some loss to spine heads of three volumes. Loss of sheepskin at upper spine and to upper board to volume three, as well as loss to spine label. A few gatherings a tad insolent. Otherwise a tight, completely untouched, internally clean copy in the original contemporary binding. Rare thus. Housed in a clamshell box.
"There were two impressions, Strahan printed 5,000 copies of vols. I and III in Dec. 1751, and 3000 copies of the same volumes in Jan. 1752" (Cross).
…Perhaps the only book, which being printed off betimes one morning, a new edition was call for before night" (Dr. Johnson).
"Printer of vols. II and IV unknown. Vols. I and III differ from vols. II and IV in paper, in fonts used for title-pages and for table of contents, and incidentally in other respects… The two impressions perhaps indistinguishable" (Cross).
Amelia, in contrast to Fielding's earlier books, Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones, is concerned with married tenderness and family happiness, the characters of Capt. Booth and his wife, Amelia, bearing comparison in temperament to Fielding and his wife, Charlotte, though the Fieldings' circumstances where no where near as dire: The book is "set in and against a London of almost unrelieved squalor, corruption and violence" (OCEL).
"The book sold extremely well, but was attacked by many, led by Richardson and Smollett, and Fielding made alterations to later editions. It was his own favorite among all his books" (OCEL).
Rothschild 853. Cross III, pp. 321-22.