Farcical politics: Fielding’s public emotion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter argues that Fielding’s political comedies of the late 1730s place humours comedy at the centre of the new affective structures that accompanied the development of party politics and the modern public sphere. It argues that Fielding’s psychology of genre in the 1750s illuminates his earlier depictions of Robert Walpole as at once a writer of political farce, a humours character, and a strange parody of Fielding himself. By bringing Walpole on stage, Fielding associates the representative status of “public men” in a new political context with the kinds of intimacy and identification offered up by celebrity. In his invocation of a new political celebrity, Fielding folds representative publicity into theatrical spectacle, making comic spectatorship into a method of grasping political pluralism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntimacy and Celebrity in Eighteenth-Century Literary Culture
Subtitle of host publicationPublic Interiors
EditorsEmrys D. Jones, Victoria Joule
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783319769028
ISBN (Print)9783319769011
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2018


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