Farcical Politics: Fielding's Public Emotion

Tierney-Hynes, R. (Invited speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


In 1737, in his farce afterpiece, Eurydice Hiss’d, Henry Fielding conflated self-parody with a satirical portrait of Walpole, whom he repeatedly characterized as the nation’s enemy. Even for a dramatist with a notable commitment to self­-parody in life as well as on stage, this is a peculiar move. This paper investigates the way in which Fielding’s identification of himself with the object of his political satire codes a shift in the affective context of the eighteenth-­century political process. Francis Hutcheson called our affective investment in politics the “publick Sense” (Essay 17), a moral commitment that ought to define our immediate, unthinking, and intimate connection to the nation. Fielding’s farce makes the serious political case that the performances of politics divide us from a proper emotional connection to the state.
Period24 Feb 2016
Event typeSeminar