Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Gabriel Fielding’s literary reputation rests primarily on his prose, but his early work was in poetry, published in two collections, The Frog Prince, and Other Poems (1952) and XXVIII Poems (1955), neither of which matches his prose in quality or critical acclaim. Fielding also published two books of short stories—Collected Short Stories (1971) and New Queens for Old: A Novella and Nine Stories (1972)—that are substantial enough in literary quality and theme to form a significant part of Fielding’scanon.

Gabriel Fielding Achievements

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

By 1963, Gabriel Fielding had established the reputation that was maintained, but never enhanced, by his later work. Some critics view Fielding as a Catholic writer, comparable withGraham Greene,Evelyn Waugh, and Muriel Spark, concerned with social and moral issues from a specifically Catholic point of view; this aspect of his work was duly recognized when he was awarded the St. Thomas More Association Gold Medal in 1963 and the National Catholic Book Award in 1964. Other critics, however, see him as a writer belonging to the school of European existentialist writers, sharing their philosophical worldview; this second estimate was expressed in 1963 when Fielding was presented with the W. H. Smith Literary Award.

Gabriel Fielding Bibliography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Bloom, Harold, ed. Twentieth Century British Literature. Vol. 2. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. The entry on Fielding lists his works up to his novel Pretty Doll Houses. Reprinted here is an interview with Fielding from 1967, titled “The Longing for Spring,” which provides much useful information on the author and his work up until the mid-1960’s.

Borrello, Alfred. Gabriel Fielding. New York: Twayne, 1974. Part of Twayne’s English Authors series, this is a good introduction to Fielding’s life and works. Includes bibliographical references and an index.

Bowers, Frederick. “Gabriel Fielding.” In Contemporary Novelists, edited by James Vinson. London: St. James Press, 1976. Appraises Fielding in the light of his growing reputation as a major novelist with commentary on three of his novels: In the Time of Greenbloom, The Birthday King, and Gentlemen in Their Season.

Bowers, Frederick. “Gabriel Fielding’s The Birthday King.” The Queen’s Quarterly 74 (Spring, 1967): 148-158. Explores the themes of guilt, innocence, and personal responsibility in this novel, comparing the work to existentialists Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Bowers, Frederick. “The Unity of Fielding’s Greenbloom.” Review of In the Time of Greenbloom, by Gabriel Fielding. Renascence 18 (Spring, 1966): 147-155. A favorable review, in which Bowers claims that the novel is of “major importance and worth in theme and execution.” Comments on the existentialist nature of the novel, comparing it to the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard, and on the scapegoat theme in this work.