This is one of 1,030 copies printed by the Shakespeare Head press for Basil Blackwell in 1926; 1,000 of which were put on sale. Gilt to top edge of pages. Roughly cut/untrimmed edges.
One of Henry Fielding's most famous novels, it is loosely based on the life of the real Jonathan Wild. This also includes several appendices about the work including one on the life of the Jonathan Wild.
Jonathan Wild (1682/3 – 1725) was a London underworld figure notable for operating on both sides of the law, posing as a public-spirited crimefighter entitled the 'Thief-Taker General'.
Wild was exploiting a strong public demand for action during a major London crime wave in the absence of any effective police force. As a powerful gang-leader himself, he became a master manipulator of legal systems, collecting the rewards offered for valuables which he had stolen himself, bribing prison-guards to release his colleagues, and blackmailing any who crossed him. He was responsible for the arrest and execution of Jack Sheppard, a petty thief and burglar who had won the public's affection as a lovable rogue. However, Wild's duplicity was becoming known, and his men began to give evidence against him. After a failed suicide attempt, he was hanged at Tyburn before a massive crowd.
In 1742, Robert Walpole lost his position of power in the British House of Commons. He was created a peer and moved to the House of Lords, from where he still directed the Whig majority in Commons for years. In 1743, Henry Fielding's The Life and Death of Jonathan Wild, the Great appeared in the third volume of Miscellanies. Fielding is merciless in his attack on Walpole. In his work, Wild stands in for Walpole directly, and, in particular, he invokes the Walpolean language of the "Great Man". Walpole had come to be described by both the Whig and then, satirically, by the Tory political writers as the "Great Man", and Fielding has his Wild constantly striving, with stupid violence, to be "Great". "Greatness," according to Fielding, is only attained by mounting to the top stair (of the gallows).
There is some light wear and the boards are a little darkened, with a small amount of foxing on the end papers and page edges. Sound binding and generally in good condition.