Information about the author:
Ekaterina P. Zykova
Ekaterina P. Zykova (1954–2018), DSc (PhD) in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
This is a foreword to the collection of essays The Multifaceted Fielding. There is an overview of the literary heritage of Fielding who embodied the qualities of a homo universalis, an ideal set forth by the European thought of the Early modern time. The foreword gives a short account of contributed essays and explains the structure of the volume. Considering the long-standing tradition of the Russian Fielding studies, with its close attention to dramatic satires and farces, the authors of this study pay more attention to other sides of Fielding’s dramatic work. His essays, novels, philosophic prose, journal publications, etc. are also considered. The terminology of the Russian Fielding studies is rethought. While many previous publications mentioned the 18th-century classicism in connection with plays, here, an analogous approach is used towards the novels, composed in accordance with a very specific understanding of the moral norm of the time. Special attention is paid to the Rococo style, which opens up to a particular “art of living” lenient to humanity. Rococo as a literary style is no longer juxtaposed to the Enlightenment thought; rather, as the collection of essays shows, it manifests itself in the works of famous writers of the Age of Reason. The foreword also recognizes some differences of views expressed by the contributors to the volume.