A Henry Fielding Companion

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Fielding thereupon read law at the Middle Temple, was called to the Bar in , and went the Western Circuit.

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As, however, the characters, especially Parson Adams, developed in his hands, the original idea was laid aside, and the work assumed the form of a regular novel. It was published in , and though sharing largely in the same qualities as its great successor, Tom Jones , its reception, though encouraging, was not phenomenally cordial.

Immediately after this a heavy blow fell on Fielding in the death of his wife. The next few years were occupied with writing his Miscellanies , which contained, along with some essays and poems, two important works, A Journey from this World to the Next , and The History of Jonathan Wild the Great , a grave satire; and he also conducted two papers in support of the Government, The True Patriot and The Jacobite Journal , in consideration of which he was appointed Justice of the Peace for Middlesex and Westminster, and had a pension conferred upon him.

Fielding showed himself an upright, diligent, and efficient magistrate, and his Inquiry into the Increase of Robbers [], with suggested remedies, led to beneficial results.

By this time, however, the publication of his great masterpiece, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling [], had given him a place among the immortals. All critics are agreed that this book contains passages offensive to delicacy, and some say to morality.

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On the other hand, there is universal agreement as to the permanent interest of the types of character presented, the profound knowledge of life and insight into human nature, the genial humour, the wide humanity, the wisdom, and the noble and masculine English of the book. His only other novel, Amelia , which some, but these a small minority, have regarded as his best, was published in His health was now thoroughly broken, and in , as a forlorn hope, he went in search of restoration to Lisbon, where he died on October 8, and was buried in the English cemetery. His last work was a Journal of his voyage.

Though with many weaknesses and serious faults, Fielding was fundamentally a man of honest and masculine character, and though improvident and reckless in his habits, especially in earlier life, he was affectionate in his domestic relations, and faithful and efficient in the performance of such public duties as he was called to discharge. Now best known for three great novels - Tom Jones, Joseph Andrews and Amelia - Henry Fielding made a substantial contribution to eighteenth-century culture.


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This collection of specially-commissioned essays, with a chronology and guide to further reading, offers a comprehensive account of Fielding's life and work. Convert currency.

Henry Fielding

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A Henry Fielding Companion

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