Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy birthday, novelist Henry Fielding

It is the birthday of English writer Henry Fielding (1707), whose most famous novel, Tom Jones (1749) was written after a successful career as a playwright, novelist, jurist, and magistrate. Much of his work satirized contemporary English life. Tom Jones concerns comic exploits of a lusty young man who was found by a wealthy country gentleman and raised from infancy. His apparent low class origins prevents his developing a budding romance with a wealthy neighbor’s daughter. The book was  full of sexual promiscuity and quite unusual for the era in which it was published. Sir Walter Scott called Fielding the father of the English novel. Fielding and his brother, John, also founded London’s first police force, the Bow Street Runners, in 1749.

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