Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)
0111201546-Fielding.jpg Henry Fielding (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

The focus of Henry Fielding’s work progressed from drama to satire to the novel to legal inquiries and proposals, with some overlap and with a nearly constant overlay of critical and political journalism. Among his novels, his masterpiece Tom Jones (1749) is a monument of English literature, though Joseph Andrews (1742) is highly regarded and Amelia (1751) was his own favorite. An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews (1741) burlesques Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela (1740-1741), and the strongly satiric The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews, and of His Friend Mr. Abraham Adams (1743) attacks the contemporary prime minister of England, Sir Robert Walpole. Political satire formed the staple of The Champion, a thrice-weekly journal in which Fielding was a leading partner in 1739 and 1740, but social commentary and drama criticism played a large role in The Covent-Garden Journal, which came out during 1752. In the early 1750’s, Fielding authored several influential tracts aimed at reforming his country’s criminal and poor laws, and in 1754 he wrote a moving and contemplative travel book, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon (1755).