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By Walther Rathenau

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I) suggests a more widespread corruption – this being an age when one no more hears sense in a playhouse than ‘Honesty talked of at Court, Conscience at Westminster, Politeness at the University’ (Plays, vol. vi). In its chaotic final act, a rehearsal of Luckless’s catchpenny entertainment ‘The Pleasures of the Town’, Fielding’s play lurches abruptly into burlesque mode. Unable to get his comedy accepted, Luckless offers his audience a hectic spoof of the dumbed-down fare it prefers to consume, in which puppets representing inane new fashions in cultural production – Haywood gets an outing as ‘Mrs Novel’; Cibber is now recast as Sir Farcical Comick – sing, squabble, and flirt in Punch-and-Joan style.

8. ’, included in Fielding, Works (London, 1762), vol. I, 47. Future reference by page number in the text. 15 LINDA BREE 9. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. I, xxxii. 10. Eliza Haywood, The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless (London, 1751), vol. I, ch. 8. 11. Fielding, Miscellanies, vol. I, Preface xxxi, xxix, xxvi (printed pagination inaccurate). 12. Henry Fielding, Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon (London, 1755), 44 and passim. 13. Marginal note on a manuscript transcription of one of Walpole’s 1748 essays, preserved among his political papers in the Lewis Collection; recorded in W.

9 Yet easily the most interesting identity in performance here is that of the playwright himself. In the print version of Love in Several Masques, published a few days after the play’s fourth and final night, the author’s name is announced in the style of a gentleman amateur (‘Written by Mr FIELDING’) and adorned with a showy dedication to his noble cousin, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. In the Preface, he modestly presents himself as ‘a raw 21 THOMAS KEYMER and unexperienced Pen’, only to overturn the modesty with a sly parenthetical addition: ‘(for I believe I may boast that none ever appeared so early on the Stage)’ (Plays, vol.

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Aufsätze by Walther Rathenau


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