(1707 - 1754)
“We are as liable to be corrupted by books as we are by companions.”

Henry Fielding was an English novelist and dramatist whom also, along with his half brother John, founded the Bow Street Runners who some consider to be London’s first police force. 

Fielding was born in Somerset and educated at Eton College. His mother died when he was 11 which led to Fielding being placed in his grandmother’s care. In 1728, he attended the university in Leiden, Netherlands studying classics and the law but lack of funds meant he had to return to London and take work writing for the theatre.

His political works are allegedly what led to the Theatrical Licensing Act of 1737 as the satirical climate he had nurtured was very critical of Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole’s government. Fielding continued with his political works throughout his career, even dedicating Don Quixote in England to Whig Leader Lord Chesterfield. He didn’t just parody and criticize politics however, he also parodied other writers and his first big success was a parody of Samuel Richardson’s book Pamela; Shamela (1741) which was published under a false name. One of the works for which he is best known is Tom Jones (1749), a classic rags to riches story with every social type and behavior depicted. 

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Books by this author

The History of Tom Jones