Henry Fielding: He was a great novelist. We write some keynotes about his life and work. These notes help the BA English Honours students for Semester IV of BBMKU and VBU University. The team of JPathshala is happy to help the students by making their syllabus easy.
Henry Fielding Biography
Henry Fielding was born in 1707 at Sharpham village, near Glastonbury. He belonged to an aristocratic family. He received his education at Eton.
Fielding wanted to study law, but he could not do so as his father refused to help him financially. So, he took to playwriting. It was the Augustan age when besides poetry, playwriting was a lucrative job. In all, Fielding wrote 16 plays, but he could not come out as quite a successful playwright. However, his following plays are worth-mentioning-
- (i) Love in Several Masques (1728)
- (ii) Tragedy of Tragedy Or The Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great (1731)
- (iii) Don Quitote in England.
The song “The Roast Beef of Old England” in this play became quite popular.
At last, Fielding realized that his genius was not fit for playwriting. He again tried his hand at the Bar. But meanwhile, he was stunned by the tremendous success of Richardson’s Pamela. In Joseph Andrew’s (1942), first novel, he tried to present a parody of Pamela. In doing so, he gave a new touch to the English novel which was still at its initial stages. Joseph Andrews proved a success. In 1943, Fielding published his famous ironical fiction- Jonathan Wild-which formed a part of the three volumes of his Miscellanies.
After trying his hand at journalism for some time, Fielding published his epoch-making novel, Tom Jones. He wrote Amelia in 1951. His last book A Voyage to Lisbon was published posthumously.
His Personal Experiences
The following are some of the personal experiences of Fielding which gave such a sweep to his novels-
(i) His Poverty. Although he belonged to an aristocratic family, his inheritance was not much. So, he saw poverty from a close angle.
(ii) His experiences as a lawyer, journalist, and magistrate enabled him to know a lot about all kinds of men.
(iii) His handsome body and amiable nature attracted him to a large number of friends. This gave an impetus to his animal spirits.
(iv) He had a personal experience of at least two love affairs-first with Miss Sarah Andrew and second with Miss Charlotte Craddock.