Henry Fielding was a prominent 18th-century English writer and novelist. Fielding's books are known for their humor and he was also notable for having found the Bow Street Runners, which is thought to be the first police force in London. Fielding is now best remembered for classic novels such as The History of Tom Jones, Joseph Andrews, and Amelia. Joseph Andrews, published in 1742, is one of the first novels of the English language. The book centers around the adventures of a good-natured footman who is traveling home from London.
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Joseph Andrews, first published in 1742, is in part a parody of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela. But whereas Richardson’s novel is marked by the virtues of female chastity and the triumph of steadfast morality, Fielding’s Joseph Andrews is peopled with lascivious women, thieves, hypocrites, and general fools. As we follow the characters in their travels, what unfolds is a lively panoramic satire of mid-Georgian England.About the Author:
Henry Fielding was born in 1707 at Sharpham Park, near Glastonbury. He was educated privately at first and then at Eton. In 1725 he attempted to abduct an heiress and was bound over to keep the peace. He then went to London, where in 1728 he published a satirical poem, The Masquerade, and a comedy, Love in Several Masques. From 1728 to 1729 he was a student of literature at Leyden University, returning to London in the autumn of the latter year. Between then and 1737 he wrote some twenty-five dramatic pieces, including comedies, adaptations of Molière, farces, ballad operas, burlesques and a series of topical satires, such as Pasquin and The Historical Register, which lampooned Sir Robert Walpole and his government. It was partly because of this last play that Walpole introduced the Stage Licensing Act in 1737, which effectively ended Fielding's career as a dramatist. After this he embarked on a career in the law and was called to the Bar in 1740, but had little success as a barrister. In 1734 he married Charlotte Cradock, the model for Sophie Western and also for the heroine of his last novel, Amelia (1751).
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