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.
Fielding’s activities as a judge, his legal views and the works where he touched upon the law points often attracted the attention of the scholars abroad, but were sparsely covered in the works written in this country. Yet the interest for law was not incidental in Fielding’s life, but rested on the idea (supported by him) of the great public importance of the judge’s calling, whose operations can be both beneficial and ruinous for the whole nation and state let alone for a single person. His own legal practice invariably caused a wide public response, as well as his open expression of his views on the particular law cases, because of the unique combination of literary fame and legal knowledge in his own person. This very combination also stimulated the profitable interchange of his writer’s and judge’s experience, rendering complicated law cases a subject of fictional representation in his dramas and novels and also a matter of discussion in his pamphlets and journal work (such as A True State of the Case of Bosavern Penlez and A Clear State of the Case of Elizabeth Canning). Pointing out the interrelation of Fielding’s legal views and his moral ideas, the author of the article observes a certain discrepancy between the writer’s habitual benevolence and his generalized social ideas relying on the tradition of the high estimation of law as the overriding principle of social life.