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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 ...

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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... There are certain Mysteries or Secrets in 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 ...

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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... an 18th-century author instead of writing yet another academic paper on him. At the time, Ms Jong came up with a mock epic in heroic couplets in the manner of Pope, and a novella in the style of HenryFielding. 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 ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: What’s in a name?

19 October 2000
... My name has been used without my knowledge or consent since before I was born, by among others an 18th-century landscape painter, who, had he been precociously litigious, could have tried to sue HenryFielding 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 ...

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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... revise novels? The very thought of revising one is daunting. Yet of course novelists do revise 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 ...

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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... Winshaws inhabit the eternal present of an age in which capital seems finally to have abolished history. 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 ...
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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... cultural status. Scholarly histories have tended to understate the sentimentality that enveloped literary culture in the mid-18th century, emphasising instead the brisker perspectives represented by HenryFielding. 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 ...

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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... or displaced the stay-at-homes who had them. Suddenly, it became much less safe to walk the London streets or travel on the highways. It was in the aftermath of the War of Austrian Succession that HenryFielding, 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 ...

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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... of American writers producing baseball novels. A few have achieved the status of bona fide classics: 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 ...
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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... way of blending history and mystery has exercised several academic critics. Is his technique ancient or modern, dated or novel? In A Maggot he has not followed the conventions deriving from HenryFielding – 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 Fielding’s dissident play ...

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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... His antecedents are primarily literary – not journalistic, and not political, except in the largest sense. All these years, Tom Wolfe has been writing Comedy with a capital C, Comedy like that of HenryFielding 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 ...
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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... the engineer who wrote One Man, One Wife and One Man, One Matchet, informing the outside world about Nigeria and telling Nigerians how to behave: two burdens, perhaps, a double yoke. Like Aluko (or HenryFielding), 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 ...
1 April 1983
The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook: The First Guide to What Really Matters in Life 
by Ann Barr and Peter York.
Ebury, 160 pp., £4.95, October 1982, 0 85223 236 5
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... to flourish the eponymous Henrys and Carolines and the eternal state of mind by which Sloane Rangerdom maintains its undying faith in What Really Matters in Life. The observations that, for example, Henry and Caroline never cry at funerals, but only at carols, that Sloanes never ‘go’ anywhere but always ‘whizz’, ‘toddle’, ‘rush’, ‘beetle’, ‘tear’ or ‘zoom’, and that ...

F for Felon

Roy Porter: Policing and Punishment in London 1660-1750: Urban Crime and the Limits of Terror by J.M. Beattie.

4 April 2002
Policing and Punishment in London 1660-1750: Urban Crime and the Limits of Terror 
by J.M. Beattie.
Oxford, 491 pp., £48, July 2001, 0 19 820867 7
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... prosecutors, hard on moral offences relating to prostitution and drunkenness. And there also emerged the self-employed ‘thief-catcher’ – the most celebrated was Jonathan Wild, immortalised by Fielding. Such self-appointed sleuths cashed in on the lavish Parliamentary rewards newly offered for those bringing successful prosecutions. With a thief-catcher clearing up to £140 per case – far more ...

Flirting

P.N. Furbank

18 November 1982
The English World: History, Character and People 
edited by Robert Blake.
Thames and Hudson, 268 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 500 25083 9
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The English Gentleman: The Rise and Fall of an Ideal 
by Philip Mason.
Deutsch, 240 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 9780233974897
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... farmer, sure of his material security but unsure when it comes to handling the courtly ethos which is natural to the knight and the squire, appears to us with scarcely less realism than the people of HenryFielding and Jane Austen.’ Ostensibly Holmes is only comparing the art, the ‘realism’, of Chaucer with that of novelists four centuries later. But the implication is that ‘realism’ means ...

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