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About the Author: Henry Fielding

Henry Fielding was born in Somerset in 1707. The son of an army lieutenant and a judge's daughter, he was educated at Eton School and the University of Leiden before returning to England where he wrote a series of farces, operas and light comedies.

Fielding formed his own company and was running the Little Theatre, Haymarket, when one of his satirical plays began to upset the government. The passing of the Theatrical Licensing Act in 1737 effectively ended Fielding's career as a playwright.

In 1739 Fielding turned to journalism and became editor of The Champion. He also began writing novels, including: The Adventures of Joseph Andrews (1742), Abraham Adams (1742) and Jonathan Wild (1743).

Fielding was made a justice of the peace for Westminster and Middlesex in 1748. He campaigned against legal corruption and helped his half-brother, Sir John Fielding, establish the Bow Street Runners.

In 1749 Fielding's novel, The History of Tom Jones was published to public acclaim. Critics agree that it is one of the greatest comic novels in the English language. Fielding followed this success with another well received novel, Amelia (1751).

Fielding continued as a journalist and his satirical journal, Covent Garden, continued to upset those in power. Throughout his life, Fielding suffered from poor health and by 1752 he could not move without the help of crutches. In an attempt to overcome his health problems, Henry Fielding went to live in Portugal but this was not successful and he died in Lisbon in 1754.


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Goodreads rating: 3.33

Paperback, Published in Mar 1999 by Penguin Classics

ISBN10: 0140433864 | ISBN13: 9780140433869

Page count: 432

SHAMELA is a brilliant parody of Samuel Richardson's PAMELA, in which a virtuous servant girl long resists her master's advances and is eventually 'rewarded' with marriage. Fielding's far more spirited and sexually honest heroine, by contrast, merely uses coyness and mock modesty as techniques to catch a rich husband. JOSEPH ANDREWS, Fielding's first full-length novel, can also be seen as a response to Richardson, as the lascivious Lady Booby sets out to seduce her comically chaste servant Joseph, (himself in love with the much-put-upon Fanny Goodwill). As in Tom Jones, Fielding takes a huge cast of characters out on the road and exposes them to many colourful and often hilarious adventures.

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