The critical reputation of Thomas Love Peacock with an annotated enumerative bibliography of works by and about Peacock
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The aim of this dissertation is to establish a definitive enumerative bibliography of the poetry, fiction and literary criticism of Thomas Love Peacock; to establish an annotated enumerative bibliography of the criticism of Peacock which is as complete as possible through June, 1958; to determine the successive critical attitudes toward the works of Peacock from February, 1800, to June, 1958; and to identify the major critical articles and books so that later scholars of Peacock may be sure of not overlooking any important items. The need for this study is evident when one knows that all existing Peacock bibliographies are unsatisfactory. The most scholarly as well as the most widely used are deficient. The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (including the 1957 supplement) lists three translations of Maid Marian, but omits both the French and German translations of the more important novel Nightmare Abbey. The standard A Literary History of England, edited by A. C. Baugh, is obsolete in listing, as a convenient gdition of the novels, an unannotated two-volume edition of 1905, long unavailable; the appearance of the History in 1948 precluded listing the excellently annotated onevolume 1948 edition of Peacock. If the scholarly works are deficient, the more popular reference books are often downright wrong. The Encyclopaedia Britannica (editions of 1956, 1957, and 1958) prints "A. B. Joungn for "A. B. Young," choosing the least valuable (indeed.~ positively the worst) of the seven available critical-biographies. Concerning the quality of the critical studies one may say that the works by A. B. Young (the oldest book on Peacock) and that by 0. W. Campbell (the most recent) should both be dismissed as being of very little value. The most extensive critical study is that by Jean-Jacques Mayoux, although this work is marred by an extremely unreliable bibliography. The most incisive critical studies are those by Augustus H. Able III and Jack Barry Ludwig, the latter being an unpublished dissertation. The best critical biographies are those by Carl Van Doren, Alexander Freeman, J. B. Priestley, and Benvenuto Cellini. Of these Van Doren is best in his biography, Freeman in relating Peacock to his contemporaries, and Priestlgy in his original critical insights. Cellini supplies nothing new except his emphasis on the ironic intent of Peacock. The only satisfactory source for a complete biography is the work of H. F. B. Brett-Smith, although this is written in a disagreeably dry style and omits all discussion of the intellectual milieu. The above-mentioned biographies by Van Doren and Priestley are good but both have been rendered obsolete in certain details by the work of Brett-Smith. Peacock has not been the subject of many first-rate articles. For the negative view, the most interesting is that by Ronald Mason. For a positive view, the best articles are those by James Spedding, George Saintsbury, Clive Bell, and Edmund Wilson. The best edition of the complete works, as is well known, is the Halliford Edition edited by H. F. B. Brett Smith and C. E. Jones, a limited edition now long out of print. The best annotated edition of the novels is that prepared by David Garnett. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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