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Title: Between audience and reader : Henry Fielding's experimental plays and other writings, before and after the Licensing Act
Author: Barrett, Elisa Pettinelli
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 7018
Awarding Body: The University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2010
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The purpose of the study is to show, as indicated by the title, a continuity between Henry Fielding's dramatic and narrative writing,· where the link is represented by Fielding's inclusion of his audience of theatre spectators and of readers in his experimental modes of representation. The first chapter is dedicated to The Author's Farce, the issue of proper language usage, the figure of the playwright in the London of the late 1720s, and Fielding's critique of the growing fashion for nonsensical entertainments. The Author's Farce also shows an important example of Fielding's innovative use of the framing device in plays. The second chapter is dedicated to the burlesque Tom Thumb, which explores and exemplifies a critique of "supernatural" creating its own language and playing with traditional figures of speech such as the metaphor; Fielding's experimentalism with the metaphor pushes drama into the narrative territory of metonymy. The third chapter centres on the analysis of The Tragedy of Tragedies, its links with the Scriblerian tradition of literary satire, and its re-interpretation of that tradition; the figure ofH. Scriblerus Secundus opens Fielding's text to dialogism and offers an example of performativity within a prose context. With The Modem Husband, Fielding experiments with a form of drama of wider scope, while at the same time interpreting traits traditionally associated with sentimentalism; he introduces themes that show a specific social and moral concern, and represent an anticipation of his later novels. This is the main topic of chapter four. The last chapter analyses A Journey from This World to the Next as an example of prose that combines, in its innovative use of the first-person narrator, narrative prose with the forms of drama. The farce Eurydice Hiss'd is an unprecedented dramatisation of audience response, while the final part on the puppet show in Tom Thumb shows how Fielding combined audience response and anti-sentimental themes in the new, complex fabric of the narrative discourse of his later novels.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available