1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Fielding

George Gregory, in Letters on Literature, Taste, and Composition (1808) 2:71-72.



Perhaps no writer, not Shakspeare himself, has excelled Fielding in the delineation of character. Parson Adams, Barnabas and Trulliber, all three of the same profession, are equally striking, and yet so natural that though few have been ambitious of appearing in the latter characters, the candidates for the honour of representing Parson Adams have greatly outnumbered the cities which contended for the birth of Homer; and in my youth there was scarcely a village in England that did not claim for itself the credit of producing the original from which the portrait was drawn. Tom Jones, which by many is considered Fielding's first performance, is in my opinion inferior to Joseph Andrews. Yet the characters of Squire Western, Partridge, Thwackum and Square, are admirable efforts of inventive genius. His Amelia seems a hasty performance, and is inferior to the other two, though the character of Justice Thrasher may class with any that has been drawn by the hand of this exquisite master.