Best remembered as the author of Joseph Andrews (1742), Tom Jones (1749) and Amelia (1751), Henry Fielding was one of the most important pioneering English novelists of the eighteenth century, and his works continue to occupy a central place in the literary canon. During the 1730s he was the most dominant playwright in London since John Dryden; and in his official capacity as a magistrate, he addressed serious social problems and invented the modern metropolitan police. This reference book makes essential information available to readers interested in Fielding, his life, and his works.
The volume is organized in sections devoted to such topics as Fielding's residences; his family members and household; historical persons, including authors who influenced him; his works; themes and topics important to his writings; and characters in his plays and prose fiction. Each section contains numerous entries on particular items, and many entries provide brief bibliographical information. While the sectional organization of the volume invites the reader to explore broad areas of interest, a thorough index provides convenient alphabetical access to the entries. A brief introductory essay and chronology begin the volume, and the book concludes with an extensive bibliography.