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A document reading, "The Author's Farce; and the Pleasures of the Town. As Acted at the Theatre in the Hay-Market. Written by Scriblerus Secundus. —Quis iniquæ / Tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se? Juv. Sat. I." At the bottom is "London: Printed for J. Roberts, in Warwick-Lane. MDCCXXX."
Titlepage to The Author's Farce

The Author's Farce and the Pleasures of the Town is a play by the English playwright Henry Fielding which was first performed on 30 March 1730 at the Little Theatre, Haymarket. Written in response to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane's rejection of his earlier plays, it was Fielding's first theatrical success.

The first and second acts describe Harry Luckless's attempts at romance and his efforts to make money by writing plays. In the second act, he finishes a puppet theatre play titled The Pleasures of the Town, about the Goddess Nonsense's choice of a husband from allegorical representatives of theatre and other literary genres. After its rejection by one theatre, Luckless's play is staged at another. The third act of The Author's Farce into a play within a play with the characters in the puppet play portrayed by humans instead of puppets. The play ends with a merging of the play's and the puppet show's realities.

The Author's Farce established Fielding's reputation as a popular London playwright. Having the Little Theatre as his venue allowed him to experiment with his plays and to alter the traditional comedy genre. Through the use of a play within a play, Fielding satirised the London theatre scene, especially the focus on turning a profit and the debasing of the literary public with new genres. Fielding critiqued society as a whole and touched on issues of sexuality, politics, and social problems. The Author's Farce was a critical success, but it was largely ignored by theatre critics until the 20th century. When it was discussed, critics emphasised both the importance of the play and its effect on Fielding's literary career.

Performance history[change | change source]

Monochrome sketch of a man in head-dress looking left. He is wearing a black jacket.
Henry Fielding

The Author's Farce and the Pleasures of the Town was written some time during 1729 in response to the rejection by the Theatre Royal of Fielding's earlier plays.[1] The 18 March 1730 Daily Post and in the 21 March 1730 Weekly Medley and Literary Journal ran advertisements stating that the play was in rehearsal. Soon after, the Daily Post advertised the premier of The Author's Farce in its 23 and 26 March editions, noting that the play would contain a puppet show. The advertisement mentioned restricted seating and higher ticket prices, suggesting a large public interest in viewing the play. The play first opened on Easter Monday, 30 March 1730, at the Little Theatre, Haymarket, and it ran for a total of 41 nights with eight of the performances during the three weeks following Easter. On 6 April 1730, it was billed along side of The Cheats of Scapin, and later the last act was made into the companion piece to Hurlothrumbo for one show.[2]

Fielding altered and rewrote The Author's Farce for its run beginning on 21 April 1730, when it shared the bill with Fielding's Tom Thumb. This combination continued throughout May and June for a total of 32 performances and they were later billed together for a revival on 3 July 1730. Starting on 1 August 1730, the third act of the The Author's Farce was revived by the Little Theatre throughout the week of the Tottenham Court fair. The next mention of the play appeared in 17 October 1730 when the Daily Post advertised a new prologue to be added to The Author's Farce. This altered version of the play was performed on 21 October and was followed by a version without the prologue, which was put on for one more night before being replaced with The Beggar's Wedding by Charles Coffey. There were four performances after it was revived on 18 November 1730 and four more starting on 4 January 1731. Between the November and January, only the first two acts of the play were shown and it was paired with the afterpiece Damon and Phillida. However, Damon and Phillida was replaced by The Jealous Taylor on 13 January 1731. There was another performance on 3 February 1731 and more followed in March. Productions in 1732 included a new prologue, now lost, that was added for the 10 May 1731 showing.[3]

Starting on 31 March 1731, The Author's Farce was paired with the Tom Thumb remake, The Tragedy of Tragedies, for six performances as a replacement for The Letter Writers, the original companion piece. Although both Tragedy of Tragedies and The Author's Farce were main shows, they were alternated on the billing until the 18 June 1731 performance, which was the final showing of any Fielding play in the Little Theatre except for a 12 May 1732 benefit show of The Author's Farce. The last documented non-puppet version was performed on 28 March 1748 by Theophilus Cibber as a two-act companion piece for a benefit show. The Pleasures of the Town act was performed as a one-act play outside London throughout the century, including a show in Norwich during 1749, 15 shows at Norwich during the 1750s, and a production at York during the 1751–52 theatre season. There were even benefit shows, including the third act, as far away as Dublin, on 19 December 1763 and Edinburgh during 1763.[4] There were many performances of the puppet theatre versions, including a travelling show by Thomas Yeates, titled Punch's Oratory, or The Pleasures of the Town, that started in 1734.[5]

A revised version of The Author's Farce was started towards the end of 1733, with a new prologue and epilogue. Fielding altered the play to be performed at the Theatre Royal after the events surrounding the Actor Rebellion of 1733. It was advertised in the 8 January 1734 Daily Journal and was shown for six nights, having opened with an inferior replacement cast for some of the important characters. It was joined by The Intriguing Chambermaid for four nights and The Harlot's Progress for two. These six occasions were the only performances of the revised version, which was printed together with The Intriguing Chambermade (1734) and included a letter by an unknown writer, possibly Fielding himself.[6] The 1734 edition of the play was printed in 1750, and it was used for all later publications until 1966.[1] Printed texts of the play were included in Arthur Murphy's 1762 Works of Henry Fielding and George Saintsbury's 1893 Works of Henry Fielding. The latter includes The Author's Farce along with only two other plays. The 1903 Works of Henry Fielding, edited by G. H. Maynadier, included only the first two acts.[7]

Cast[change | change source]

1730 cast[change | change source]

Play:[8]

  • Harry Luckless – playwright, played by Mr. Mullart (William Mullart)
  • Harriot Moneywood – daughter of Mrs. Moneywood, played by Miss Palms
  • Mrs Moneywood – Luckless's landlady, played by Mrs. Mullart (Elizabeth Mullart)
  • Witmore – played by Mr. Lacy (James Lacy)
  • Marplay – played by Mr. Reynolds
  • Sparkish – played by Mr. Stopler
  • Bookweight – played by Mr. Jones
  • Scarecrow – played by Mr. Marshal
  • Dash – played by Mr. Hallam
  • Quibble – played by Mr. Dove
  • Blotpage – played by Mr. Wells junior
  • Jack – Luckless's servant, played by Mr. Achurch
  • Jack-Pudding – played by Mr. Reynolds
  • Bantomite – played by Mr. Marshal

Internal puppet show:[9]

  • Player – by Mr. Dove
  • Constable – by Mr. Wells
  • Murder-text – by Mr. Hallam
  • Goddess of Nonsense – by Mrs. Mullart
  • Charon – by Mr. Ayres
  • Curry – by Mr. Dove
  • A Poet – by Mr. W. Hallam
  • Signior Opera – by Mr. Stopler
  • Don Tragedio – by Mr. Marshal
  • Sir Farcical Comick – by Mr. Davenport
  • Dr. Orator – by Mr. Jones
  • Monsieur Pantomime – by Mr. Knott
  • Mrs. Novel – by Mrs. Martin
  • Robgrave – by Mr. Harris
  • Saylor – by Mr. Achurch
  • Somebody – by Mr. Harris junior
  • Nobody – by Mr. Wells junior
  • Punch – by Mr. Hicks
  • Lady Kingcall – by Miss Clarke
  • Mrs. Cheat'em – by Mrs. Wind
  • Mrs. Glass-rin – by Mrs. Blunt
  • Prologue spoken by Mr. Jones[10]
  • Epilogue spoken by four poets, a player and a cat
  • 1st Poet – played by Mr. Jones
  • 2nd Poet – played by Mr. Dove
  • 3rd Poet – played by Mr. Marshall
  • 4th Poet – played by Mr. Wells junior
  • Player – played by Miss Palms
  • Cat – played by Mrs. Martin

1734 altered cast[change | change source]

Play:[11]

  • Index – unlisted actor

Internal puppet show:[12]

  • Count Ugly – unlisted actor
  • Prologue spoken by Mrs. Clive[13]
  • Epilogue spoken by Mrs. Clive[14]

Plot[change | change source]

Although Fielding predominantly wrote five-act plays, The Author's Farce is in three acts. The opening depicts Harry Luckless's attempts at romance with Harriot, daughter of his landlady Mrs Moneywood, in addition to his attempts at earning money. Although the work begins in the same manner as Fielding's previous romance-themed comedies, it quickly becomes a different type of play, mocking the literary and theatrical establishment.[15] Luckless is a man constantly trying to become a successful writer, but he never has the income that would allow him to focus on his writing. Although others try to support Luckless financially, he refuses to let them; when Witmore, his friend, pays Luckless's rent behind his back, Luckless steals the money from his landlady. By the second act, Luckless tries to get help finishing his play, The Pleasures of the Town. However, he is given poor advice about what would make a good play from the rest of the characters, and the resulting work is rejected by the local theatre. Eventually, Luckless is able to fix his work and find a theatre willing to put on his show.[16] This leads to the third act, in which Luckless puts on the puppet show, portrayed by actual actors rather than puppets, to make money.[17]

The third act is dominated by the plot of Luckless's puppet show, which functions as a play within the play. At the start, the Goddess of Nonsense chooses a mate from a series of suitors along the River Styx. These suitors, all dunces, include Dr Orator, Sir Farcical Comic, Mrs Novel, Bookseller, Poet, Monsieur Pantomime, Don Tragedio, and Signior Opera.[18] She eventually chooses Signior Opera, a foreign, castrato opera singer, as her favourite, after he sings an aria about money. In response, Mrs Novel claims that she loved Signior Opera and died giving birth to his child.[19] After this revelation, the goddess becomes upset, but is quick to forgive him. The play within the play is interrupted by Constable and Murdertext, two characters who have come to arrest Luckless for abuses against Nonsense. Before they can do so, Mrs Novel is able to convince Murdertext to let the play finish. However, before the play finishes, someone from the land of Bantam comes to tell Luckless that he is the prince of Bantam. News then arrives that the previous King of Bantam has died and that Luckless is to be made the new king. The play concludes with a final twist: it is revealed that Luckless's landlady is really the Queen of "Old Brentford" and that her daughter, Harriot, is now royalty.[18] The very end of the play contains an epilogue in which four poets talk about how they would end the play until a cat, in the form of a woman, takes over and ends the play.[20]

Themes[change | change source]

As part of his satire, Fielding uses Luckless and The Author's Farce to portray aspects of his own life and experience with the London theatre community,[21] and the plot serves as revenge for the rejection of Fielding's previous play.[22] However, Fielding's rejection from the Theatre Royal and being forced into the minor theatres proves beneficial because it allows him more freedom to experiment with his plays in ways that would have been unacceptable at larger locations. This experimentation, beginning with The Author's Farce,[23] introduces aspects that were common to many of his later comedies. Not all of his actions were revolutionary; Fielding claims that the work was written by Scriblerus Secundus, which places his play within an earlier literary tradition. The name refers to the Scriblerus Club, a satirical group whose members include Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, John Gay, and John Arbuthnot.[24] Fielding's use of the pseudonym connects his comedic style to that found within the writings of the Scriblerus Club members and reveals their influence on his new style.[25] In particular, the character Goddess of Nonsense is connected to Pope's character Dulness crowning a Prince of Dulness in the Dunciad.[26] Nonsense, like Dulness, is a force that promotes the corruption of literature and taste, to which Fielding adds a sexual element. This sexuality is complicated, yet also made comical, when Nonsense chooses a castrated man as her mate. Her choice of partner emphasises the lack of morality that Fielding believed dominated 18th-century British society, along with other social problems.[27] Besides this relationship to Dulness, the general satire of the play is more similar to Gay's Beggar's Opera than the other works produced by the Scriblerus Club.[28]

During Fielding's time, theatre comedy was a standardized genre with set structures frequently used by playwrights including Molière. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Fielding only incorporates some aspects of the genre, and The Author's Farce is not a standard comedy. Instead, it falls under the genre of farce, which relies on petty forms of humour, including slapstick, to evoke laughter. It does not rely heavily on rhetorical wit, but Fielding does incorporate dramatic incongruities, such as comic actions and humorous language, during scenes that should be serious. Fielding's purpose in relying on the farce tradition is to specifically criticize society as a whole.[29] Fielding, like others, believes that there was a decline in popular theatre related to the expansion of the theatre audience so he satirises theatre, theatre audiences, and theatre writers throughout The Author's Farce.[30] Speaking of popular entertainment in London, Fielding's character Luckless claims, "If you must write, write nonsense, write operas, write entertainments, write Hurlothrumbos, set up an Oratory and preach nonsense, and you may meet with encouragement enough."[31] Luckless's only desire is to become successful, and many characters believe that the substance of a play matters little as long as it can earn a profit. Even Harriot believes that all that matters in a lover is his merit, which, to her, is his ability to become financially successful, as opposed to promoting virtue.[32] Fielding later continues this line of attacks on audiences, morality, and genres when he criticises Samuel Richardson's novel, Pamela.[33]

As for the ending, the blending of the fictional world and the real world destroys the various frames of the narrative and represents the nonsense common in contemporary British society.[34] The final act of the play also serves as Fielding's defence of traditional hierarchical views of literature. He satirizes new literary genres with low standards by using personified versions of them during the puppet show.[35] In particular, Fielding mocks how contemporary audiences favoured Italian opera.[36] The character Signior Opera, the image of the favoured castrato singer within the puppet show, mocks the foreigners that would perform as singers along with the audiences that accepted them. Additionally, the character also serves as a source of humour that targets 18th-century literary genres; after the character Nonsense chooses the castrato Signior Opera as her husband, the character Mrs Novel objects, declaring that she gave birth to his child. This act would be physically impossible because Opera is a castrato, and it pokes fun at how the genres and the public treated such individuals. Fielding was not the only one during his time to use the castrato image for humour and satire; William Hogarth connects the castrato singer with politics and social problems[37] and many other contemporary work mock women who favour eunuchs.[38]

Source[change | change source]

Black and white image of a man facing centre. He is wearing a shoulder length wig, has an elaborate coat with a cloth around his neck. He has a hat under his left arm and both a glove and a watch in his left hand. He is holding up his right hand with the thumb and pointer pressed together.
Colley Cibber as Lord Foppington

There is a strong similarity between the structure and plot of The Author's Farce and those of George Farquhar's Love and a Bottle (1698) in that both plays describe the relationship between an author and his landlady. However, the plays only deal with the same generalized idea and the particulars of each are different.[1] Aspects of the plot also draw from incidents in Fielding's life.[22] During Act II, the characters Marplay and Sparkish, two theatre managers, offer advice to Luckless on how to improve his play. After giving poor suggestions, they reject his play for their own theatre. This fictional event mirrors Fielding's own life when Colley Cibber and Robert Wilks of the Theatre Royal had rejected The Temple Beau. Cibber was a source for the character of Marplay and Wilks for Sparkish, but this was altered when Wilks died; the revised version of 1734, after Wilks's death, does not include Sparkish. In his place, Fielding introduces a character that mocks Theophilus Cibber and his role in the Actor Rebellion of 1733.[39]

Another biographical parallel involves the relationship between Luckless and Mrs Moneywood, which is similar to Fielding's own relationship with Jan Oson, his landlord while staying at Leiden in early 1729. While there, Fielding managed to incur a debt of approximately £13 and a legal case was brought against him, upon which he abandoned Leiden along with his personal property and fled to London. Oson seized Fielding's property in parallel to Mrs Moneywood's own threats to seize Luckless's possessions.[40] Other characters are modelled on well-known personalities who Fielding was aware of but were not directly connected to his life: Mrs Novel is Eliza Haywood, Signior Opera is Senesino,[41] Bookweight is similar to Edmund Curll,[42] Orator is John Henley, Monsieur Pantomime is John Rich, Don Tragedio is Lewis Theobald and Sir Farcical Comick is another version of Colley Cibber.[43]

Not all of the sources are personal or dealt with contemporary life. Instead, Fielding draws on the Scriblerus Club's use of satire and the humour common to traditional Restoration and Augustan drama. Regarding the traditional British drama, many of Luckless's situations are similar to those found within John Dryden's The Rehearsal (1672), Farquhar's Love and a Bottle (1698), James Ralph's The Touch-Stone (1728), and Richard Savage's An Author to be Lett (1729). It is possible that Pope's Dunciad Variorum, published on 13 March 1729, serves as an influence for the themes of the play and for the plot of the puppet show. However, the Scriblerus Club style of humour as a whole influences The Author's Farce and it is possible that Fielding borrows from Gay's Three Hours after Marriage (1717) and The Beggar's Opera (1728).[44] Conversely, Fielding's play influences later Scriblerus Club works, especially Pope's fourth book of his revised Dunciad and possibly Gay's The Rehearsal at Goatham.[45]

Critical response[change | change source]

The Author's Farce was successful and established Fielding as a reputable London playwright.[46] It is impossible to know how the play stood without Tom Thumb or if the third act's puppet show The Pleasures of the Town was the most popular feature of the play, but there is enough evidence that the play was liked as a whole and on its own. The 2 May Daily Post reported that the play received universal approval and, on 6 May, reported that seats were in great demand. Even the 7 May and 28 May 1730 editions of the Grub Street Journal, which never favoured Fielding or his works, do not dispute the general approval. However, the journal does mock the nature of the play as a farce and the quality of the Little Theatre. Many notable persons came to see the show, including John Perceval, 1st Earl of Egmont on the first night and Frederick, Prince of Wales, whose attendance was mentioned in both the 28 April 1730 London Evening Post and the 15 May 1730 Daily Post.[47] The only surviving comments from any of those who saw the play comes from the diary of the Earl of Egmont. He reported that The Author's Farce and Tom Thumb "are a ridicule on poets, several of their works, as also of operas, etc., and the last of our modern tragedians, and are exceedingly full of humour, with some wit."[48]

Beyond a few minor references, there is very little further mention of the play from the 18th century. The 19th century mostly followed the same trend, and only three scenes were included in Alfred Howard's The Beauties of Fielding, which collected passages from Fielding's works. A chapter on the play is included in Frederick Lawrence's Life of Fielding (1855) and it is mentioned by Leslie Stephen and Austin Dobson. Stephen and Dobson both focus on what the play says about Grub Street and about Fielding. George Saintsbury includes The Author's Farce along with two other plays in a Fielding collected edition of 1893 but ignored the others.[49]

In terms of later criticism, Wilbur Lucius Cross, in 1918, believes the play revealed that Fielding's "talent really lay in farce and burlesque rather than in regular drama."[50] In 1963, F. W. Bateson includes the play among a list of "satirical extravaganzas" that "are more ambitious; they are more fantastic; they are more serious" than a play like The Rehearsal.[51] Frederick Homes Dudden, in 1966, claims that the revised version "is definitely an improvement on the original"[52] and that the puppet show in the third act "is a highly original satire on the theatrical and quasi-theatrical amusements of the day."[53] In the same year, Charles Woods argues, "It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of The Author's Farce in Fielding's dramatic career; its position is somewhat analogous to that of Shamela and Joseph Andrews with respect to his development as a writer of prose fiction."[54]

Ian Donaldson follows in 1970 with his claim: "The Author's Farce, like Fielding's other dramatic burlesques, turns out finally to be a good-natured romp."[55] In his 1975 comparison of Fielding's theatrical style and form, J. Paul Hunter argues, "Many of the literary and theatrical jibes are witty, but often the method seems essentially untheatrical in its slow timing and its failure to use dramatic conflict, as if Fielding were so anxious to comment directly that he gave little attention to setting up an occasion. Fielding's defense would surely have been that he intended to parody the bad theater of his contemporaries, and the defense is, in a sense, unanswerable, for the play leaves open the question of whether Fielding is responsible or Luckless is."[56] Later in 1979, Pat Rogers declares, "Few livelier theatrical occasions can ever have been seen than the original runs of The Author's Farce, with their mixture of broad comedy, personal satire, tuneful scenes and rapid action.[57]

Robert Hume, in 1988, claims "Fielding's design for the original Author's Farce is ramshackle but effective [...] How to end such a medley is always a problem, and Fielding hit on a surprisingly effective fantasy device".[58] He goes on to declare, "Fielding's parody of recognition scenes is done with verve" and "The 'realistic' part of the show is a clever combination of the straightforward and the ironic."[59] In 1993, Martin and Ruthe Battestin argue that the play "was his first experiment in the irregular comic modes [...] where his true genius as a playwright at last found scope. He had a talent for a kind of pointed, inventive foolery that audiences had not seen on stage before – a talent for ridicule and brisk dialogue, for deft and emblematic characterization, and for devising absurd yet expressionistic plots that have scarcely been matched in the experimental theatre of our own century: actors strutting and squeaking about the stage as life-size puppets".[60]

Harold Pagliaro, in 1998, points out that the play was Fielding's "first great success" and "was also the first of his rehearsal plays, which include a play within a play."[61] Later in 2002, Matthew Kinservik points out, "Fielding had great success with the metonymic characters in The Author's Farce, but the infrequency with which he returned to this type of characterization shows that he was not yet the committed Aristophanic scourge that he would later claim to be."[62] Catherine Ingrassi, in 2004, attributes the success of Fielding's play to his satirical attack on Haywood: "like Pope, Fielding profited from Haywood's accumulation of cultural credit. The literarily and sexually avaricious character of Mrs Novel depended on audience recognition of the literary type – woman writer – if not the specific model – Eliza Haywood."[63]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hume 1988 p. 63
  2. Fielding 2004 pp. 192–193
  3. Fielding 2004 pp. 194–196
  4. Fielding 2004 pp. 196–197
  5. Speaight 1990 p. 157
  6. Fielding 2004 pp. 294–299
  7. Fielding 2004 pp. 204–206
  8. Fielding 2004 p. 227
  9. Fielding 2004 pp. 227–228
  10. Fielding 2004 p. 222
  11. Fielding 2004 p. 304
  12. Fielding 2004 p. 305
  13. Fielding 2004 p. 297
  14. Fielding 2004 p. 299
  15. Rivero 1989 pp. 35–36
  16. Pagliaro 1999 pp. 70–71
  17. Rivero 1989 pp. 37
  18. 18.0 18.1 Pagliaro 1999 pp. 71–72
  19. Campbell 1995 p. 33
  20. Hunter 1975 p. 54
  21. Pagliaro 1999 pp. 69–70
  22. 22.0 22.1 Koon 1986 p. 123
  23. Rivero p. 23
  24. Rivero 1989 pp. 31–34
  25. Fielding 2004 p. 189
  26. Pagliaro 1999 p. 71
  27. Campbell 1995 pp. 32–34
  28. Warner 1998 p. 242
  29. Rivero pp. 38–41
  30. Freeman 2002 pp. 59–63
  31. Fielding 1967 p. 16
  32. Rivero pp. 33–37
  33. Warner 1998 p. 241
  34. Freeman 2002 pp. 64–65
  35. Ingrassia 2004 pp. 21–22
  36. Roose-Evans 1977 p. 35
  37. Campbell 1995 pp. 33–34
  38. Campbell 1995 pp. 32–36
  39. Pagliaro 1999 p. 70
  40. Battestin and Battestin 1993 pp. 72–73
  41. Freeman 2002 pp. 62–63
  42. Rawson 2008 p. 23
  43. Hume 1988 p. 64
  44. Fielding 2004 pp. 189–190
  45. Fielding 2004 p. 205
  46. Rivero 1989 p. 31
  47. Fielding 2004 pp. 194–195
  48. Fielding 2004 qtd p. 204
  49. Fielding 2004 pp. 205–206
  50. Cross 1918 p. 80
  51. Bateson 1963 pp. 121–126
  52. Dudden 1966 p. 50
  53. Dudden 1966 p. 54
  54. Woods 1966 p. XV
  55. Donaldson 1970 p. 194
  56. Hunter 1975 p. 53
  57. Rogers 1979 p. 49
  58. Hume 1988 pp. 63–64
  59. Hume 1988 pp. 64–65
  60. Battestin and Battestin 1993 p. 83
  61. Pagliaro 1998 p. 69
  62. Kinservik 2002 p. 68
  63. Ingrassia 2004 p. 106

References[change | change source]

  • Bateson, Frederick. English Comic Drama 1700–1750. New York: Russell & Russell, 1963. OCLC 350284.
  • Battestin, Martin, and Battestin, Ruthe. Henry Fielding: A Life. London: Routledge, 1993. ISBN 0415014387
  • Campbell, Jill. Natural Masques: Gender and Identity in Fielding's Plays and Novels. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995. ISBN 0804723915
  • Cross, Wilbur. The History of Henry Fielding. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1918. OCLC 313644743.
  • Donaldson, Ian. The World Upside Down: Comedy from Jonson to Fielding. Oxford: Clarendon, 1970. ISBN 0198116942
  • Dudden, F. Homes. Henry Fielding: His Life, Works and Times. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1966. OCLC 173325.
  • Fielding, Henry. The Author's Farce. London: Edward Arnold, 1967. OCLC 16876561.
  • Fielding, Henry. Plays Vol. 1 (1728–1731). Ed. Thomas Lockwood. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004. ISBN 0199257892
  • Freeman, Lisa. Character's Theatre. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002. ISBN 0812236394
  • Hume, Robert. Fielding and the London Theater. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988. ISBN 0198128649
  • Hunter, J. Paul. Occasional Form. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975. ISBN 0801816726
  • Ingrassia, Catherine. Anti-Pamela and Shamela. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2004. ISBN 155111383X
  • Ingrassia, Catherine. Authorship, Commerce, and Gender in Early Eighteenth-Century England. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN 0521630630
  • Kinservik, Matthew. Disciplining Satire. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2002. ISBN 0838755127
  • Koon, Helene. Colley Cibber: A Biography. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1986. OCLC 301354330.
  • Pagliaro, Harold. Henry Fielding: A Literary Life. New York: St Martin's Press, 1998. ISBN 0312210329
  • Rawson, Claude. Henry Fielding (1707–1754). Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2008. ISBN 9780874139310
  • Rivero, Albert. The Plays of Henry Fielding: A Critical Study of His Dramatic Career. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1989. ISBN 0813912288
  • Rogers, Pat. Henry Fielding, A Biography. New York: Scribner, 1979. ISBN 0684162644
  • Roose-Evans, James. London Theatre: From the Globe to the National. Oxford: Phaidon, 1977. ISBN 071481766X
  • Speaight, George. The History of the English Puppet Theatre. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1990. ISBN 0809316064
  • Warner, William. Licensing Entertainment: the Elevation of the Novel Reading in Britain, 1684–1750. ISBN 0520201809
  • Woods, Charles. "Introduction" in The Author's Farce. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1966. OCLC 355476.