Novelist Anthony Trollope was born in London, England on April 24, 1815. He attended many famous schools but as a large, awkward boy, he never felt in place among the aristocrats he met there. In 1834, he became a junior clerk in the General Post Office, London. He spent seven years there in poverty until his transfer, in 1841, to Banagher, Ireland as a deputy postal surveyor. He became more financially secure and in 1844, he married Rose Heseltine. He wanted to discover the reasons for Irish discontent. In 1843, he began working on his first novel The Macdermots of Ballycloran which was published in 1847. He was sent on many postal missions. He spent a year is Belfast, in 1853, then went to Donnybrook, near Dublin. He also went to Egypt, Scotland and the West Indies to finally settle outside of London, at Waltham Cross, as a surveyor general in the Post Office. At this point, he was writing constantly. Some of the writings during this time were The Noble Jilt, Barchester Towers, and The Last Chronicle of Barset. In 1867, he tried editorship of St. Paul's Magazine but soon gave up because he didn't feel suited for the job. In 1871, he went on a visit to a son in Australia. At sea, he wrote Lady Anna on the voyage out and Australia and New Zealand on the voyage back. The Autobiography was written between October 1875 and April 1876 but was not published until after his death. Suffering from asthma and possible angina pectoris, he moved to Harting Grange. He wrote three more novels during 1881 than, in 1882, went to Ireland to begin research for The Landleaguers. In November that year, he suffered a paralytic stroke and he died on December 6, 1882.
John Sutherland has been a professor of literature for a long time and in many places. Currently he teaches untechnologically at the California Institute of Technology and is the emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor at UCL. He is the author of numerous books, including the puzzle-collection Is Heathcliff a Murderer? (probably, yes) and the encyclopaedic Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (soon to be reissued in a yet more encyclopaedic form). In recent years, he has written voluminously on a variety of literary and non literary topics in, principally, the Guardian and the Financial Times. His interest in literature has become more curious over the years. Martin Rowson is an award-winning cartoonist whose work appears regularly in the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday and many other publications. His books include a novel, Snatches; a memoir, Stuff; The Dog Allusion: Gods, Pets and How to Be Human; and comic book versions of T.S.Eliot's 'The Waste Land' and Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy. He smokes and qualifies as the sharpest literary-pictorial satirist of his time.
Henry Fielding, 1707 - 1754 A succcessful playwright in his twenties, Henry Fielding turned to the study of law and then to journalism, fiction, and a judgeship after his Historical Register, a political satire on the Walpole government, contributed to the censorship of plays that put him out of business. As an impoverished member of the upper classes, he knew the country squires and the town nobility; as a successful young playwright, the London jet set; as a judge at the center of London, the city's thieves, swindlers, petty officials, shopkeepers, and vagabonds. As a political journalist (editor-author of The Champion, 1739-1741; The True Patriot, 1745-1746; The Jacobite's Journal, 1747-1748; The Covent-Garden Journal, 1752), he participated in argument and intrigue over everything from London elections to national policy. He knowledgeably attacked and defended a range of politicians, from ward heelers to the Prince of Wales. When Fielding undertook writing prose fiction to ridicule the simple morality of Pamela by Samuel Richardson, he first wrote the hilarious burlesque Shamela (1741). However, he soon found himself considering all the forces working on humans, and in Joseph Andrews (1742) (centering on his invented brother of Pamela), he played with the patterns of Homer, the Bible, and Cervantes to create what he called "a comic epic poem in prose." His preface describing this new art form is one of the major documents in literary criticism of the novel. Jonathan Wild, a fictional rogue biography of a year later, plays heavily with ironic techniques that leave unsettled Fielding's great and recurring theme: the difficulty of uniting goodness, or an outflowing love of others, with prudence in a world where corrupted institutions support divisive pride rather than harmony and self-fulfillment. In his masterpiece Tom Jones (1749), Fielding not only faces this issue persuasively but also shows for the first time the possibility of bringing a whole world into an artistic unity, as his model Homer had done in verse. Fielding develops a coherent and centered sequence of events-something Congreve had done casually on a small scale in Incognita 60 years before. In addition he also relates the plot organically to character and theme, by which he gives us a vision of the archetypal good person (Tom) on a journey toward understanding. Every act by every character in the book reflects the special and typical psychology of that character and the proper moral response. In Tom Jones, Fielding affirms the existence of an order under the surface of chaos. In his last novel, Amelia (1751), which realistically examines the misery of London, he can find nothing reliable except the prudent good heart, and that only if its possessor escapes into the country. Fielding based the title character on his second wife, with whom he was deeply in love. However, ill himself, still saddened by the deaths of his intensely loved first wife and daughter, and depressed by a London magistrate's endless toil against corruption, Fielding saw little hope for goodness in that novel or in his informal Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon (1755). Shortly after traveling to Lisbon for his health, Fielding died at the age of 47, having proved to his contemporaries and successors that the lowly novel was capable of the richest achievements of art.The most important Welsh poet of the twentieth century, Thomas was born in Swansea, about which he remembered unkindly "the smug darkness of a provincial town." He attended Swansea Grammar School but received his real education in the extensive library of his father, a disappointed schoolteacher with higher ambitions. Refusing university study in favor of immediately becoming a professional writer, Thomas worked first in Swansea and then in London at a variety of literary jobs, which included journalism and, eventually, filmscripts and radio plays. In 1936 he began the satisfying but stormy marriage to the bohemian writer and dancer Caitlin MacNamara that would endure for the rest of his career. His life fell into a pattern of oscillation between work and dissipation in London and recovery and relaxation in a rural retreat, usually in Wales. Thomas worked in a documentary film unit during the war. Besides his poetry, he wrote plays and fiction. In the early 1950s, he gave three celebrated poetry-reading tours of the United States, during which his outrageous behavior vied with his superb reading ability for public attention. Aggravated by chronic alcoholism, his health collapsed during the last tour, and he died in a New York City hospital. In his poetry, Thomas embraced an exuberant romanticism in the encounter between self and world and a joyous riot in the lushness of language. His work falls into three periods---an early "womb-tomb" phase during which he produced a notebook, which he later mined for further poems, a middle one troubled by marriage and war, and a final acceptance of the human condition. The exuberant rhetoric of his work belies an equally strong devotion to artistry, what he once called "my craft or sullen art." His great "Fern Hill," for example, builds its imagery of the rejoicing innocence of childhood on a strict and demanding syllabic count. A recollection of boyhood holidays on the farm of his aunt and uncle, that poem places its emotion within an Edenic framework typical of Thomas's work. The impressive sonnet sequence "Altarwise by Owl-Light" (1936) combines the internal quest of romanticism with a more elaborate religious outlook in tracing the birth and spiritual autobiography of a poet. Almost at the end of his career he produced the moving elegy "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" (1952), written during the final illness of his father. Despite his periods of doubt and dissipation, Thomas celebrated the fullness of life. As he wrote in a note to his Collected Poems (1952), "These poems, with all their crudities, doubts, and confusion, are written for the love of Man and in praise of God, and I'd be a damn fool if they weren't."