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Fielding in the dock

Claude Rawson, 5 April 1990

Henry FieldingA Life 
by Martin Battestin and Ruthe Battestin.
Routledge, 738 pp., £29.50, October 1989, 0 415 01438 7
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New Essays 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Martin Battestin.
Virginia, 604 pp., $50, November 1989, 0 8139 1221 0
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The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding. The True Patriot, and Related Writings 
edited by W.B. Coley.
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An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers, and Related Writings 
edited by Malvin Zirker.
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The Covent-Garden Journal and A Plan of the Universal Register Office 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Bertrand Goldgar.
Oxford, 446 pp., £50, December 1988, 0 19 818511 1
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Fielding and the Woman Question: The Novels of Henry Fielding and the Feminist Debate 1700-1750 
by Angela Smallwood.
Harvester, 230 pp., £35, March 1989, 0 7108 0639 6
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... Fielding was born in 1707 into a family in straitened circumstances but of aristocratic connections. A family myth, based on forged papers, claimed descent from the Hapsburgs. The combination of financial embarrassment and gentlemanly caste is emblematic of the whole atmosphere of his life, and is variously reflected in his writings ...

Cough up

Thomas Keymer: Henry Fielding, 20 November 2008

Plays: Vol. II, 1731-34 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Thomas Lockwood.
Oxford, 865 pp., £150, October 2007, 978 0 19 925790 4
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‘The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon’, ‘Shamela’ and ‘Occasional Writings’ 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Martin Battestin, with Sheridan Baker and Hugh Amory.
Oxford, 804 pp., £150
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... all Trades from the highest to the lowest, from that of Prime Ministring to this of Authoring,’ Fielding announces with mock pomposity in Joseph Andrews. In a work published just days after the fall from office of Sir Robert Walpole – ‘prime minister’ in a sense that had no constitutional legitimacy at the time, and implied an alarming concentration ...

No Fear of Fanny

Marilyn Butler, 20 November 1980

Fanny 
by Erica Jong.
Granada, 496 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 246 11427 4
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The Heroine’s Text 
by Nancy Miller.
Columbia, 185 pp., £10, July 1980, 0 231 04910 2
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... came up with a mock epic in heroic couplets in the manner of Pope, and a novella in the style of Henry Fielding. After several volumes of poetry and a runaway success with her bawdy modern picaresque, Fear of Flying, she still likes the challenge of the Clifford assignment. Fanny, being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones, is a ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: What’s in a name?, 19 October 2000

... 18th-century landscape painter, who, had he been precociously litigious, could have tried to sue Henry Fielding for using his name without permission. There are no less than four limited companies called Thomas Jones, with or without sons and various parenthetical geographical locations. While de Bernières is just going to have to get used to sharing ...

Theydunnit

Terry Eagleton, 28 April 1994

What a Carve Up! 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 512 pp., £15.50, April 1994, 0 670 85362 3
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... There is Hilary the hard-bitten tabloid columnist. Roddy the heartless art-dealing seducer, Henry the free-market ideologue, Dorothy the profit-mad agriculturalist. As a dynasty, however, these men and women belong to another literary and temporal mode entirely – to the spoof Gothic fiction of Winshaw Towers, with its cartoon-like turrets and ...

Preceding Backwardness

Margaret Anne Doody, 9 January 1992

Women’s Lives and the 18th-Century English Novel 
by Elizabeth Bergan Brophy.
University of South Florida Press, 291 pp., $29.95, April 1991, 0 8130 1036 5
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Fictions of Modesty: Women and Courtship in the English Novel 
by Ruth Bernard Yeazell.
Chicago, 306 pp., £19.95, August 1991, 0 226 95096 4
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... information derived from the novels, restricted to the work of seven novelists: Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Sarah Fielding, Charlotte Lennox, Sarah Scott, Clara Reeve and Frances Burney. (There are occasional references to other writers, such as Jane Austen.) A segment on, for instance, ‘Daughters’ will ...

Taking it up again

Margaret Anne Doody, 21 March 1991

Henry James and Revision 
by Philip Horne.
Oxford, 373 pp., £40, December 1990, 0 19 812871 1
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... their printed works, on occasion, for various reasons. No novelist has made such a job of it as Henry James. In July 1905 he began the task of revising his life’s work, in order to create a final statement, a complete collection of his works, called from its inception the New York Edition. James actually believed that this gigantic labour would be ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: Being a critic, 27 May 1999

... ever asked to review, let us say fifty years ago, was a study of Fair Rosamond, the mistress of Henry II. The King kept her hidden in a maze at Woodstock but his wife, who had probably been told about Ariadne, tracked down her rival by following a thread or clew, and that was effectively the end of Rosamond, except that she turned up quite often in ...

Something for Theresa May to think about

John Barrell: The Bow Street Runners, 7 June 2012

The First English Detectives: The Bow Street Runners and the Policing of London, 1750-1840 
by J.M. Beattie.
Oxford, 272 pp., £65, February 2012, 978 0 19 969516 4
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... streets or travel on the highways. It was in the aftermath of the War of Austrian Succession that Henry Fielding, a Bow Street magistrate as well as a novelist and playwright, began forming the force that would come to be known by the unofficial title of the Bow Street Runners. Fielding the novelist was a tolerant chap ...

Out of the house

Dinah Birch, 30 August 1990

The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing and Fiction, 1660-1800 
by Janet Todd.
Virago, 328 pp., £12.99, April 1989, 0 86068 576 4
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Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian Britain 
by Mary Poovey.
Virago, 282 pp., £12.99, February 1989, 1 85381 035 5
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The Woman Question. Society and Literature In Britain and America, 1837-1883: Vols I-III 
edited by Elizabeth Helsinger, Robin Lauterbach Sheets and William Veeder.
Chicago, 146 pp., £7.95, February 1989, 0 226 32666 7
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Sexual Science: The Victorian Construction of Womanhood 
by Cynthia Eagle Russett.
Harvard, 245 pp., £15.95, June 1989, 9780674802902
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... culture in the mid-18th century, emphasising instead the brisker perspectives represented by Henry Fielding. Henry’s sister Sarah, whose novel The Adventures of David Simple is examined in detail here, demonstrates the power of the vision of sensibility which culminated in Richardson’s Clarissa. It was a ...

Sergeant Farthing

D.A.N. Jones, 17 October 1985

A Maggot 
by John Fowles.
Cape, 460 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 224 02806 5
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The Romances of John Fowles 
by Simon Loveday.
Macmillan, 164 pp., £25, August 1985, 0 333 31518 9
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... ancient or modern, dated or novel? In A Maggot he has not followed the conventions deriving from Henry Fielding – and indeed 1736 is four years too early for a Fielding novel. The actor, Lacy, timorously admits, in the course of A Maggot, that he has been performing in ...

The Wrong Stuff

Christopher Hitchens, 1 April 1983

The Purple Decades 
by Tom Wolfe.
Cape, 396 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 224 02944 4
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... sense. All these years, Tom Wolfe has been writing Comedy with a capital C, Comedy like that of Henry Fielding and Jane Austen and Joseph Addison, like that of Thackeray and Shaw and Mark Twain. Like these writers, Tom Wolfe might be described as a brooding humanistic presence. There is a decided moral edge to his humour. Wofe never tells us what to ...

A Good Girl in Africa

D.A.N. Jones, 16 September 1982

Double Yoke 
by Buchi Emecheta.
Dgwugwu Afor, 163 pp., £3, September 1982, 0 9508177 0 8
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The Aerodrome 
by Rex Warner.
Bodley Head, 304 pp., £6.95, July 1982, 9780370309262
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AVery British Coup 
by Chris Mullin.
Hodder, 220 pp., £6.95, September 1982, 0 340 28586 9
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An Ice Cream War 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 370 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 241 10868 3
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Tempting Fate 
by Michael Levey.
Hamish Hamilton, 220 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 241 10801 2
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... Nigeria and telling Nigerians how to behave: two burdens, perhaps, a double yoke. Like Aluko (or Henry Fielding), Miss Emecheta is happy to halt her pacey narrative and tell the reader bluntly what she thinks of her characters and life in general. This technique, the sermon in parenthesis, is acceptable in skilful story-tellers, like Miss ...

Poor Man’s Crime

Ian Gilmour, 5 December 1991

The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the 18th Century 
by Peter Linebaugh.
Allen Lane, 484 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 7139 9045 7
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... which they live. In the 18th century those conditions were so bad that the novelist and magistrate Henry Fielding, no softie on crime, was surprised that there were not far more criminals. The other day, in a reference to the recent riots in Newcastle, the Archbishop of Canterbury, after mentioning that in the late 18th century some children were employed ...

What time can you pick me up?

J. Robert Lennon: ‘The Art of Fielding’, 26 January 2012

The Art of Fielding 
by Chad Harbach.
Fourth Estate, 512 pp., £16.99, January 2012, 978 0 00 737444 1
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... W.P. Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe, Robert Coover’s The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop., Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel and Bernard Malamud’s The Natural. It was the last two of those novels I kept thinking of as I read Chad Harbach’s highly entertaining, intermittently excellent, unapologetically masculine The Art ...

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