Henry Fielding was born into an aristocratic family at Sharpham Park,
near Glastonbury in Somerset, England, in 1707. His mother died when he
was eleven whereupon he was sent to Eton for his education. It was here
that he acquired his lifelong devotion to Greek and Latin literature.
Although his father was the nephew of an Earl and his mother came from
a family of prominent lawyers he was steered towards a literary career
by his elder cousin, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.
He came to
London to write and in 1728 having had one of his first plays, Love In
Several Masques, performed at Drury Lane, he decided to attend the
University of Leiden, in the Netherlands to further his study of the
Ancient Classics. On his return to England he concentrated on writing
plays and became the manager of the Little Theatre in the Haymarket,
London. His most famous and popular drama, Tom Thumb, according to one
story, made Jonathan Swift laugh for the second time in his life.