Jeremy Black, "In Fielding's Wake" (St. Augustine's Press, 2022)


In the second volume of The Weight of Words Series, In Fielding's Wake (St. Augustine's Press, 2022), Jeremy Black continues his efforts to present and preserve Britain's literary genius. Its intelligence and enduring influence is in large part reliant on the underlining conservatism that has motivated authors such as Agatha Christie (Black's earlier subject) and Henry Fielding alike.

Fielding's epic comic novel, Tom Jones, is unforgettable for many reasons, but the author must be credited with an aptitude for documenting contemporary cultural history and his contribution to a new species of writing. Black's treatment of Fielding draws to the fore a man who was of his time but not confined to it. "Philosophy in practice encompassed his stance as a man of action as well as a reflective writer of genius." Fielding is shown to provide across the breadth of his work extensive and invaluable commentary on issues as diverse as law and order, marriage, women, and the interplay of urban and rural life. Black, an historian, is here a student of storytelling and recovers Fielding's rich descriptions of the human heart and call to defy the vices with which circumstances might taunt it.

Black has done a service along many fronts at once: the science of the novel and genre, the history of a people and the figure of a memorable writer.

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Charles Coutinho

Charles Coutinho, PH. D., Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.

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