Like its predecessor, Joseph Andrews, it is constructed around a romance plot. The hero, whose true identity remains unknown until the denouement , loves the beautiful Sophia Western, and at the end of the book he wins her hand. Numerous obstacles have to be overcome before he achieves this, however, and in the course of the action the various sets of characters pursue each other from one part of the country to another, giving Fielding an opportunity to paint an incomparably vivid picture of England in the midth century.
The introductory chapters at the beginning of each Book make it clear how carefully Fielding had considered the problem of planning the novel. No novelist up until then had so clear an idea of what a novel should be, so that it is not surprising that Tom Jones is a masterpiece of literary engineering. The novel is further marked by deft alternations between humour and romance, occasional tricks straight from the theatre , and above all the speed and ease of the dialogue. Two years later Amelia was published.
Being a much more sombre work, it has always been less popular than Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews. Rather, it anticipates the Victorian domestic novel, being a study of the relationship between a man and his wife and, in the character of Amelia, a celebration of womanly virtues. His health was deteriorating.
By his gout was so bad that his legs were swathed in bandages, and he often had to use crutches or a wheelchair. In August of he decided to go to Bath for rest and the waters. In the following June, Fielding set out for Portugal to seek the sun, writing an account of his journey, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon. This work presents an extraordinarily vivid picture of the tortuous slowness of 18th-century sea travel, the horrors of contemporary medicine, the caprices of arbitrary power as seen in the conduct of customs officers and other petty officials, and, above all, his indomitable courage and cheerfulness when almost completely helpless, for he could scarcely walk and had to be carried on and off ship.
Fielding landed at Lisbon on Aug.
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He died in October and was buried in the British cemetery at Lisbon. Though not actually the first English novelist, he was the first to approach the genre with a fully worked-out theory of the novel; and in Joseph Andrews, Tom Jones, and Amelia, which a modern critic has called comic epic, epic comedy, and domestic epic, respectively, he had established the tradition of a realism presented in panoramic surveys of contemporary society that dominated English fiction until the end of the 19th century.
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Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Read More on This Topic. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: The novelist Henry Fielding presented a satiric puppet show, under the pseudonym of Madame de la Nash, in The caustic playwright and actor Samuel Foote used puppets to burlesque heroic tragedy in and sentimental comedy in In a similar vein, the dramatist Charles Dibdin….
The English novelist Henry Fielding was reflecting centuries of tradition when, in the preface to Joseph Andrews , he spoke of the inappropriateness of ridicule applied to black villainy or dire calamity: But Pitt hated the brutal harshness of Eton and determined to have his own sons educated at home. He continued his education at Trinity College, Oxford, but left after a year without taking a degree.
He then spent several…. Fielding had been among those who thought Pamela a scheming social climber, as he had shown in his parody An Apology for the life of Mrs. Background and education contribution to English literature In English literature: Motion pictures and television works for puppet theatre In puppetry: Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.
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