Fielding and Hogarth : a conversation in historical narrative
Dillard, Leigh Grey
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While the connection between a writer and illustrator appears quite commonly in the literary tradition, the interaction between Henry Fielding and William Hogarth is governed by a different set of circumstances and often resembles a dialogue. The conversation between these two artists appears most notably in Fielding’s references in Tom Jones to Hogarthian characters, particularly those from A Harlot’s Progress, A Rake’s Progress, and The Four Times of the Day series. Beyond these specific references, the conversation continues with similarities in didactic style and artistic intent as reflected in Hogarth’s treatise The Analysis of Beauty and Fielding’s instructive introductory chapters. Through this interaction, the two artists compliment each other’s works, demand an active audience, and address their critics while presenting themselves as recorders of history.