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    This is a question for Jonathan or anyone else who wants to share.

    I am a big (enormous) fan of both Jonathan Coe and Henry Fielding (Tom Jones is my favorite novel of all time). And I know that Jonathan wrote a doctoral dissertation on Fielding many years ago when he was at Warwick University. Is there any chance to see the work in print in the near future? Or, better, to read it in some way?

    Of course, I am looking forward to the new novel.


    Paolo (from Italy)


    Thank you again, Paolo. I was very young when I wrote my thesis on Tom Jones and it doesn’t read very well nowadays. Too much literary theory (which I only half-understood anyway). But I have been re-reading Fielding a lot recently, especially the non-fiction: The Covent Garden Journal, The Voyage to Lisbon, and so on. He remains a hugely important figure to me and I hope to publish something about him one of these days.

    Over on another thread uppa has also mentioned Fielding. If she’s reading this, I would just say that people always underestimate his insight into women, and this is mainly because his final novel, Amelia, is almost unknown. Of course his great rival as a novelist was Samuel Richardson, the author of Pamela and Clarissa, and it always annoyed Fielding that Richardson was considered to have this great empathy for the female point of view. Partly he wrote Amelia in response to this – to prove to the critics that he understood women just as well. The truth is that it’s not a very successful novel but (as I also said at the event in Chiasso) I often prefer writers’ less successful novels – I’d rather have an interesting failure than a dull success. Do take a look at Amelia anyway – although you don’t see it in the shops much any more, not even in the UK.


    Thank you very much for the reply, Jonathan. But do you rule out apriori the possibility of going back to Fielding sometime in the future and writing something about him? "Like a Fiery Elephant" was such a successful attempt that I cannot help but hoping it. Or maybe you might ponder the possibility of writing a short story on the line of "Diary of an Obsession", with Tom Jones as an inspirational source… If I remember correctly, you talked in an interview about a sort of juvenile literary "conversion" experience while reading "Joseph Andrews". So, why not?

    Best wishes for your new book. I am looking forward to reading it (at first sight, it looks very Fieldingian… 🙂


    You may appreciate knowing that Amelia is available for download (or to read online) from the Project Gutenberg website http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/6098. It can also be read online at http://www.readbookonline.net/title/32/ (but with some pop-ups).
    For a more traditional viewing it can be bought from amazon.co.uk (I don’t know why the reproduction of the 1885 edition has a completely crazy "look inside" section which links to a sample from the history of the Milan Natural History Museum… )


    Of course, I loved Amelia, when I read it some years ago, even though it lacks that kind of irrepressible vitality typical of the earlier two Fielding’s novels.

    My advice is to try also the BBC TV drama: The History Of Tom Jones A Foundling [DVD] [1997]

    It is worth the (cheap) price
    (http://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Tom-Jon … 753&sr=1-1 )

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