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Henry Fielding, 1707 - 1754 A succcessful playwright in his twenties, Henry Fielding turned to the study of law and then to journalism, fiction, and a judgeship after his Historical Register, a political satire on the Walpole government, contributed to the censorship of plays that put him out of business. As an impoverished member of the upper classes, he knew the country squires and the town nobility; as a successful young playwright, the London jet set; as a judge at the center of London, the city's thieves, swindlers, petty officials, shopkeepers, and vagabonds. As a political journalist (editor-author of The Champion, 1739-1741; The True Patriot, 1745-1746; The Jacobite's Journal, 1747-1748; The Covent-Garden Journal, 1752), he participated in argument and intrigue over everything from London elections to national policy. He knowledgeably attacked and defended a range of politicians, from ward heelers to the Prince of Wales. When Fielding undertook writing prose fiction to ridicule the simple morality of Pamela by Samuel Richardson, he first wrote the hilarious burlesque Shamela (1741). However, he soon found himself considering all the forces working on humans, and in Joseph Andrews (1742) (centering on his invented brother of Pamela), he played with the patterns of Homer, the Bible, and Cervantes to create what he called "a comic epic poem in prose." His preface describing this new art form is one of the major documents in literary criticism of the novel. Jonathan Wild, a fictional rogue biography of a year later, plays heavily with ironic techniques that leave unsettled Fielding's great and recurring theme: the difficulty of uniting goodness, or an outflowing love of others, with prudence in a world where corrupted institutions support divisive pride rather than harmony and self-fulfillment. In his masterpiece Tom Jones (1749), Fielding not only faces this issue persuasively but also shows for the first time the possibility of bringing a whole world into an artistic unity, as his model Homer had done in verse. Fielding develops a coherent and centered sequence of events-something Congreve had done casually on a small scale in Incognita 60 years before. In addition he also relates the plot organically to character and theme, by which he gives us a vision of the archetypal good person (Tom) on a journey toward understanding. Every act by every character in the book reflects the special and typical psychology of that character and the proper moral response. In Tom Jones, Fielding affirms the existence of an order under the surface of chaos. In his last novel, Amelia (1751), which realistically examines the misery of London, he can find nothing reliable except the prudent good heart, and that only if its possessor escapes into the country. Fielding based the title character on his second wife, with whom he was deeply in love. However, ill himself, still saddened by the deaths of his intensely loved first wife and daughter, and depressed by a London magistrate's endless toil against corruption, Fielding saw little hope for goodness in that novel or in his informal Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon (1755). Shortly after traveling to Lisbon for his health, Fielding died at the age of 47, having proved to his contemporaries and successors that the lowly novel was capable of the richest achievements of art. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from Tom Jones
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Tom Jones 7,353 copies, 83 reviews
Joseph Andrews 1,642 copies, 22 reviews
Joseph Andrews and Shamela 1,359 copies, 9 reviews
Jonathan Wild 488 copies, 6 reviews
Amelia 349 copies, 4 reviews
Tom Jones (2/2) 153 copies
Tom Jones (1/2) 138 copies
Anti-Pamela and Shamela 93 copies, 2 reviews
Shamela 87 copies, 3 reviews
Pamela/Shamela 49 copies
Tom Jones [Penguin Readers] 33 copies, 2 reviews
Amelia (2/2) 23 copies
Tom Jones 19 copies
Amelia (1/2) 16 copies
Miscellanies 6 copies
The Female Husband 5 copies, 2 reviews
Henry Fielding : Romans 5 copies, 1 review
Amelia (3/3) 4 copies
Tom Jones (4/4) (Author) 4 copies
Tom Jones (3/4) (Author) 3 copies
Amelia (2/3) 3 copies
Amelia (1/3) 3 copies
Pasquin 3 copies
Farsy 2 copies
Tom Jones (2/3) (Author) 2 copies
Tom Jones (3/3) (Author) 2 copies
South Wind 1 copy
Tom Jones (2/4) (Author) 1 copy
Tom Jones (1/4) (Author) 1 copy
The Works 1 copy
Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books (Contributor) 448 copies, 1 review
Eighteenth-Century Plays (Contributor) 137 copies
The Adventures of David Simple (Preface, some editions) 128 copies, 1 review
Eighteenth Century Plays (Contributor) 60 copies, 1 review
Tom Jones [1963 film] (Original book) 57 copies, 3 reviews
Modern Arthurian Literature (Contributor) 27 copies
A Skeleton At the Helm (Contributor) 23 copies
Eighteenth Century Women: An Anthology (Contributor) 20 copies, 1 review
Lock Up Your Daughters, Acting Edition (Original book) 13 copies

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