1. Historical facts


Handout 10: Henry Fielding (1707-1754)



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Handout 10: Henry Fielding (1707-1754)

  • aristocratic connections, education by private tutors and at Eton

  • then law-studies in Leyden; in 1740 he was called to the Bar

  • in 1730s he set up a newspaper (The Champion) and joined the circle of playwrights + in 1735 he became the manager of the Little Theatre in the Haymarket



I. Comedies


  • political and social satires – especially against Walpole

  • 2 sources: Ben Jonson’s comedies of humours and 18th century social satire (Pope, Swift, Gay)

  • his comedies show the mixture of humour, manners, intrigue and sentiment with some farcical elements eg. Love in Several Masques(1729), The Letter Writers(1731) – pure farce;

The Tragedy of Tragedies or the Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great (1731): a burlesque of the heroic drama making a parody of its diction, violent plot, lofty sentiments and majestic style
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