A Political Biography of Sarah Fielding provides the most complete discussion of Fielding’s works and career currently available. Tracing the development of Fielding’s artistic and instructive agendas from her earliest publications forward, Johnson presents a compelling portrait of a deeply read author who sought to claim a place within literary culture for women’s experiences. As a practical didacticist, Fielding sought to teach her readers to live happier, more fulfilling lives by appropriating and at times resisting the texts that defined their culture. While Fielding often retreats from the overtly political concerns that captured the attention of her contemporaries, her works are daring forays into the public sphere that both challenge and reinforce the foundations of British society. Giving voice to those who have been marginalized, Fielding’s creative productions are at once conservative and radical, revealing her ambiguous appreciation for tradition, her fears of modernity, and her abiding commitment to women who must live within forever imperfect worlds.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. The Making of a Novelist
Chapter 2. Her Own Story: The Adventures of David Simple
Chapter 3. Familiar Letters between the Principal Characters of David Simple
Chapter 4. The Governess, A New Experiment in Fiction
Chapter 5. Forays into Literary Criticism
Chapter 6. David Simple, Volume the Last
Chapter 7. Collaboration and Innovation, The Cry
Chapter 8. The Lives of Cleopatra and Octavia
Chapter 9. The History of the Countess of Dellwyn
Christopher D. Johnson is professor of English and Director of the McNair Institute at Francis Marion University. His recent publications include a festschrift in honor of Jerry C. Beasley (2011) and essays on Henry and Sarah Fielding, Philip Doddridge, Oliver Goldsmith, and John Dryden.