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Henry Fielding

A Political Writer

By Thomas R. Cleary
Subjects Literary Criticism, Political Science
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Paperback : 9781554584543, 366 pages, May 1984
Ebook (PDF) : 9780889208582, 366 pages, January 2006

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Henry Fielding: Political Writer
List of Abbreviations
One. Prolegomena: George Lyttelton, the Broad-Bottoms, and the Pattern of Fielding's Political Career
Two. Fielding's Early Career: 1728-35
1. The Pattern
2. The Young Wit, 1728-30
3. A Political Experiment in Four Phases, 1730-31
4. A Retreat from Politics, 1732-33
5. A tentative Return to Politics and Dramatic Disasters, 1734-35
Three. Pasquin and the Haymarket: 1736-37
Four. The Final Assault on Walpole: 1739-42
Five. Fielding and the "New Opposition: 1742-44
Six. Fielding and the Jacobites, 1745-49: The True Patriot to Tom Jones
Seven. The Final Phase: 1749-54
Selective Bibliography


An accurate and comprehensive study of the political aspects of Fielding's art has been sorely needed. As a result of decades of work by literary scholars and a series of great historians, such a study is finally possible. This volume addresses that need, and, in the light of a recent revival of interest in Fielding's work, it arrives most opportunely. The author offers here a wide-ranging focus and a firm grip on the shifting complexities of Fielding's political situations—the loyalties and enmities, factional alignments and fractious rhetoric—that allow the satisfactory understanding of Fielding's political writing. Political writing in Fielding's day, as in ours, was topical, concerned with evanescent problems and day-to-day needs that were familiar to contemporaries, but that are now recaptured only with greatest difficulty. This study constitutes a thorough reconstruction of Fielding's political context and extricates from the context Fielding's own political endeavours. Cleary's work will make many of Fielding's previously unstudied works accessible to students and scholars of eighteenth-century English literature.
A necessary point of reference to both literary specialists and historians concerned with eighteenth-century England.