22 Apr, 2021

Henry Fielding – writer and playwright

Henry Fielding was born on April 22, 1707 into a noble family, presumably in Sharpem Park (Somersetshire, England). Until the age of twelve, Henry mostly lived in East Stour, his grandfather’s wealthy estate. From 1719 to 1725 he studied at Eton, and from 1728 to 1730 – at Leiden University.

His first publication was the satirical poem Masquerade, published in 1728. Soon after, Henry Fielding wrote the sitcom Love Under Different Disguises. By 1730, four more plays by Fielding had been published, among them The Tragedy of Tragedies, or the Life and Death of the Great Finger Boy, the most popular of his plays.

In 1731, Fielding tried a new genre for himself – political satire. He puts on The Welsh Opera, which attacks the first minister, R. Walpole. The wounded prime minister made sure that the comedy was banned, but Fielding did not abandon this genre. As a result, in 1737 Walpole passed legislation establishing theater censorship. So Fielding was excommunicated from the theater.

In November 1739, Fielding began publishing the magazine The Fighter, or British Mercury, associated with the parliamentary opposition. His “The Fighter” also begins a feud with Walpole, but avoided an overtly political orientation.

But the political orientation was inherent in other publications of Fielding: anti-Stuart “True Patriot” and “Jacobite Journal”. According to experts, these magazines are interesting today for their essays and literary criticism.

Henry Fielding died on October 8, 1754 in Lisbon (Portugal).