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Henry Fielding facts, information, pictures | Encyclopedia.


MAJOR WORKS:
Tom Thumb (1730)
An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews (1741)
The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and of His Friend Mr. Abraham Adams (1742)
The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling (1749)
Amelia (1762)

A Spirited Youth, Sans Parents Henry Fielding was born on April 22, 1707, at Sharpham Park, Somerset, the estate of his maternal grandfather. In 1710 the Fieldings moved to East Stour in Dorset. Henry's mother died when he was eleven, and he was raised by his grandmother with occasional visits to his charming but irresponsible father, Edmund Fielding. Lady Mary Wortley

Montagu, a distinguished writer and Fielding's cousin, described him about this time as a handsome and high-spirited youth, full of the joy of life, witty and humorous; very much like his most famous literary creation, Tom Jones.

A Controversial Playwright Turns to Contestatory Law Fielding's achievement as a novelist often overshadows his short but dynamic career as a playwright—between 1728 and 1737. Fielding ranks as one of the most popular dramatists of the eighteenth century, and if the political fallout from his satire had not brought his theatrical activities to an abrupt end, Fielding might never have made the transition from playwright to novelist.

Fielding's first play, Love in Several Masques , premiered in 1728, and for the next seven years Fielding was active as a playwright and theater manager. He specialized in comedies, farces, and satires, the best of which is probably Tom Thumb (1730). Two political satires, Pasquin (1736) and The Historical Register for the Year 1736 (1737), so infuriated the government of the powerful Prime Minister Robert Walpole that all London theaters, except two protected by royal patent, were ordered closed by the Licensing Act of 1737. Fielding's career as a playwright was over, along with the theatrical careers of many others.

Fielding then turned to the study of the law. He continued to oppose the Walpole government by editing a political journal, The Champion (1739–1740), the first of four journals for which he wrote over his lifetime.


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