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March 17, 2014

Fielding & Cibber.

Henry Fielding    (1707 - 1754)

 

By Steve King.

On this day in 1740, writing as Captain Hercules Vinegar, Henry Fielding summoned poet laureate Colley Cibber (portrait) to court, charged with the murder of the English language. Fielding was a lawyer (soon, a Justice of the Peace) and a notorious wag; Cibber was a joke to many, not least for his rewrite of Shakespeare’s Richard III: the murder charge would have been popular.

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January 17, 2013

Mrs. Malaprop & Mrs. Slipslop

Richard Brinsley Sheridan   (1751 - 1816)

Richard Brinsley Sheridan
(1751 – 1816)

On this day in 1775 Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals premiered. Sheridan was just twenty-three years old, this was his first play, and his Mrs. Malaprop may have borrowed from Henry Fielding’s Mrs. Slipslop, but the stage and the language got one of its most enjoyable and enduring creations — not to mention “a nice derangement of epitaphs.”

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August 4, 2012

Tom Jones, Fielding, Richardson

Samuel Richardson

On this day in 1749 Samuel Richardson fired another volley in his feud with Henry Fielding, in this instance the opinion that Fielding’s popular hit, The History of Tom Jones, could only have been written by one “too prescribing, too impetuous, too immoral, I will venture to say, to take any other Byass than that a perverse and crooked Nature has given him; or Evil Habits, at least, have confirm’d in him.”

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August 2, 2012

“Rule, Britannia!”

James Thomson

On this day in 1740 James Thomson’s masque, Alfred the Great was first produced, in an open-air performance before the Prince and Princess of Wales. Amid the lessons on Alfred’s greatness and the prophetic visions of future glory were seven songs; one of them, “Rule, Britannia!,” was immediately popular, and is still the unofficial national anthem.

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February 28, 2012

Tom Jones, for “Gentlemen and Ladies”

Filed under: Today in Literature — Tags: , , , — Henry Greeff @ 5:22 am

Henry Fielding (1707 - 1754)

On this day in 1749 the publication of Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones was announced in “The General Advertiser,” along with an apology: “It being impossible to get Sets bound fast enough to answer Demand for them, such Gentlemen and Ladies as please, may have them sew’d in Blue Paper and Boards, at the Price of 16s. a Set, of A. Millar over against Catharine-street in the Strand.”

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August 2, 2011

“Rule, Britannia!”

Filed under: Today in Literature — Tags: , , , — Henry Greeff @ 5:07 am

James Thomson

On this day in 1740 James Thomson’s masque, Alfred the Great was first produced, in an open-air performance before the Prince and Princess of Wales. Amid the lessons on Alfred’s greatness and the prophetic visions of future glory were seven songs; one of them, “Rule, Britannia!,” was immediately popular, and is still the unofficial national anthem.

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