The Relationship of W.M. Thackeray to Henry Fielding

Variant title
Vztah W.M. Thackerayho k Fieldingovi
Отношение В.М. Теккерея к Фильдингу
Otnošenije V.M. Tekkereja k Fil'dingu
Krhoun, Mečislav (Translator of Summary)
Jazykova, L. C. (Translator of Summary)
Source document: Sborník prací Filozofické fakulty brněnské univerzity. D, Řada literárněvědná. 1963, vol. 11, iss. D9, pp. [99]-114
License: Not specified license
The relationship of W. M. Thackeray to his great predecessor Henry Fielding poses a stimulating problem in English literary history which has been in the centre of interest of Thackeray and Fielding scholar since Thackeray's own lifetime. And it is not only the natural interest in the relationship between two great realistic novelists who appeared in two successive centuries in the same country which makes this problem so attractive. In Thackeray's attitude to Fielding lies the following paradox which made the search for solution even more exciting: in the early years of his literary career Thackeray openly claimed Fielding as his model, and teacher, while in his later years his admiration and even his indebtedness to Fielding were considerably weakened and in some of his judgments he was openly unjust to his former master. There have been several attempts on the part of English and American scholars to evaluate Thackeray's relationship to Fielding as a whole and to explain the surprising change which took place in it in the 1850s. These attempts were successively made by Frederic S. Dickson in his article "WilIiam Makepeace Thackeray and Henry Fielding", Prof. Wilbur Cross in his classic work The History of Henry Fielding, Eva Beach Tbuster in her article "The Literary Relationship of Fielding and Thackeray", and Rauph Wilson Rader in his study "Thackeray's Injustice to Fielding." The results of the research of these scholars are noteworthy but we do not find them entirely satisfactory, especially as far as the motives of the change in Thackeray's attitude are concerned. The first Thackerayan scholar who arrived at conclusions, with which we can find ourselves in agreement was the Soviet literary historian Prof. V. V. Ivasheva in her book Thackeray the Satirist. But as she could pay but small attention to this problem while concentrating upon the whole development of Thackeray's personality and art, we are convinced that its fuller and separate treatment is still desirable.