By Thomas R. Cleary
a correct and complete examine of the political elements of Fielding’s paintings has been sorely wanted. because of many years of labor via literary students and a sequence of serious historians, this sort of research is ultimately attainable. This quantity addresses that want, and, within the gentle of a up to date revival of curiosity in Fielding’s paintings, it arrives so much opportunely. the writer bargains the following a wide-ranging concentration and a company grip at the transferring complexities of Fielding’s political situationsthe loyalties and enmities, factional alignments and fractious rhetoricthat permit a passable knowing of Fielding’s political writing. Political writing in Fielding’s day, as in ours, used to be topical, considering evanescent difficulties and day by day wishes that have been standard to contemporaries, yet which are now recaptured basically with maximum hassle. This learn constitutes an intensive reconstruction of Fielding’s political context and extricates from the context Fielding’s personal political endeavours. Cleary’s paintings will make lots of Felding’s formerly unstudied paintings obtainable to scholars and students of eighteenth-century English literature.
an important element of connection with either literary experts and historians desirous about eighteenth-century England.
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Additional info for Henry Fielding: A Political Writer
Next Baker suggests that the least political part of the 1730 version, the puppet show called "The Pleasures of the Town," has strong antiWalpole overtones (though far weaker ones than the puppet show in the 1734 revision). " This seems to Baker to render it "quite possible that Fielding intends Luckless' show to cast some shadow on the political scene as well as the theatrical, intimating that Walpole's England is not unlike a puppet show about the Court of Nonsense on the nether side of Hell" (Baker, PAF, p.
The scene then shifts to a meeting of the "Grubstreet Bards," which oc- 24 Henry Fielding: Political Writer cupies the rest of "Canto 2nd" and "Canto 3rd," which Codrus opens by relaying Dulness' instructions. They may reflect Fielding's antiScriblerian jealousy: "She bids us in a Company unite / And suffer none besides ourselves to write" ( p. 229). The major political focus of the poem becomes apparent when the "Company" argues over who has done most toward Dulness' reestablishment, paralleled throughout with the re-establishment of Roman Catholicism and absolute Stuart rule.
Alterations in the play, the times, Fielding's political hopes, and Gibber's appointment as Poet Laureate in November 1730 assured that. But Baker's reasoning about the 1730 version is weak: to isolate an example, it is unacceptable to propose that because Mist's Weekly Journal satirized Walpole by satirizing Gibber during the 1720s, and because Fielding employs the same technique in the 1734 version of The Author's Farce and the Historical Register of 1737, satire in the original Author's Farce on Gibber must be anti-ministerial.