Jonathan Wild

Front Cover
Penguin, 1982 - Fiction - 279 pages
2 Reviews
The real-life Jonathan Wild, gangland godfather and self-styled 'Thief-taker General', controlled much of the London underworld until he was executed for his crimes in 1725. Even during his lifetime his achievements attracted attention; after his death balladeers sang of his exploits, and satirists made connections between his success and the triumph of corruption in high places. Henry Fielding built on these narratives to produce one of the greatest sustained satires in the English language. Published in 1743, at a time when the modern novel had yet to establish itself as a fixed literary form, Jonathan Wild is at the same time a brilliant black comedy, an incisive political satire, and a profoundly serious exploration of human 'greatness' and 'goodness'. Book jacket.

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User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

A wickedly funny satire, with lots of excellent threads to be pulled apart and explored. Fielding's experimentation with fictional forms, as well as his expert wit and deep knowledge of the political ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

Satire this funny is a lost art. Maybe it's just that I'm particularly irritated by contemporary great-man worship (see especially: presidential biographies, founding-father blather, Darwinismism ... Read full review


A dialogue between the ordinary of Newgate and
Wild proceeds to the highest consummation of human
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About the author (1982)

Martin C. Battestin, William R. Kenan, Jr Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Virginia, has published widely on 18th-century British literature. Cofounder of the authoritative Wesleyan Edition of Fielding's works, he has edited the major novels: Joseph Andrews (1966), Tom Jones
(1974), and Amelia (1983). He is also author of Henry Fielding: A Life (1989, 1993), the authoritative biography.

David Nokes is a Reader in English Literature at King's College, London. He is the author of "John Gay: A Profession of Friendship" (1995), and "Jonathan Swift: A Hypocrite Reversed" (1985).

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