Tuesday, October 8, 2013

British novelist Henry Fielding died - 1754

British novelist Henry Fielding died on October 8, 1754 in Lisbon, Portugal. He was a novelist and dramatist known for his humor and satire, and was the author of the novel Tom Jones. Aside from his literary achievements, he has a significant place in the history of law-enforcement, having founded (with his half-brother John) what some have called London’s first police force, the Bow Street Runners. He was born on April 22, 1707 in Glastonbury, Somerset in 1707. He was educated at Eton 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 and with the passing of the Theatrical Licensing Act in 1737 this 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 (1842) and Jonathan Wild (1743).
In 1748, he was appointed justice of the peace for Westminster and Middlesex. He campaigned against legal corruption and helped his half-brother, Sir John Fielding, establish the Bow Street Runners. In 1749, he published the novel, The History of Tom Jones. He followed this success with another well received novel, Amelia (1751). 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, he traveled to Portugal. He died on October 7, 1754 in Lisbon and was buried at the English Cemetery in Lisbon.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Literary Legends of the British Isles. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links:

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