Nearly two and a half centuries after its publication, the adventures of the rambunctious and randy Tom Jones still makes for great reading. I'm not in the habit of using words like bawdy or rollicking, but if you look them up in the dictionary, you should see a picture of this book. It is certainly the funniest. Tom Jones, the hero of the book, is introduced to the reader as the ward of a liberal Somerset squire.
Tom is a generous but slightly wild and feckless country boy with a weakness for young women. Misfortune, followed by many spirited adventures as he travels to London to seek his fortune, teach him a sort of wisdom to go with his essential good-heartedness. Genre: Literary Fiction. Additionally, Tom has arrived at the center of the labyrinth. But here the Minotaur is not an externally menacing monster; rather Tom is forced to face his own misdeeds, his own character failings.
It is only when he can confront his repressed self that he can truly begin to grow into the complete, organically whole identity that it is his quest to reveal and become. The appalling prospect of having committed maternal incest which we later learn is untrue jolts Tom out of moral complacency and self-delusion.
Tom, finally seeing himself as he truly is, is given the opportunity to abandon his old ways and re-emerge into a new, more evolved self. From this point on, things begin to dramatically improve for Tom. He has successfully threaded the labyrinth and gained his boon: Whatever in the Nature of Jones had a Tendency to Vice, has been corrected by continual Conversation with this good Man [Squire Allworthy], and by his Union with the lovely and virtuous Sophia.
In the early s, a survey of American undergraduate college students identified Tom Jones as the most overrated classic in the Western canon. In , the editors of the canon-defending Great Books of the Western World dropped Tom Jones from its ranks, 42 years after its initial inclusion.
And recently Tom Jones was purged from the Literature Humanities reading list at Columbia University—the list that, dating back to the s, formed the original catalyst of the Great Books program. Neverthe- less, the novel continues to attract many advocates. Despite any ostensible drop in contemporary prestige, Tom Jones itself remains its finest recommendation. Tom Jones is a great novel because of the pungent earthiness of its humor, because of its unflinching embrace of the realities of human experience, both light and dark, because of its satirical penetration into social corruption, and because of its enduring grasp of the deep essentials of human psychology.
I Like It Here. New York: Harcourt Brace, Artress, Lauren. New York: Riverhead, Baker, Ernest A. New York: Barnes and Noble, , Battestin, Martin C. A Henry Fielding Companion. Westport Conn. Sheridan Baker: — Middletown, Conn.n-sauerwein.de/components/2020-06-22/970.php
Henry Fielding - British and Irish Literature - Oxford Bibliographies
The Providence of Wit. Oxford: Clarendon P, Twentieth-Century Interpretations of Tom Jones. Englewood Cliffs, N.
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Henry Fielding: A Life. London and New York: Routledge, Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Views: Henry Fielding. Booth, Wayne C. Chicago: Chicago UP, Campbell, Jill.
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
John Richetti. New York: Columbia UP, — Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Princeton: Princeton UP, , Chalmers, Alexander. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor.
Sheridan Baker. New York: Norton, Crane, R. Damrosch, Leopold, Jr.
Chicago: Chicago UP, ; reprinted in Bloom: — Empson, William. Fielding, Henry. Joseph Andrews. Mineola, N.
Tom Jones. London: Penguin Books, Keymer and Ms.
Wakely depart from the precedent set by Fredson Bowers and Martin C. Battestin in the standard Wesleyan edition of the novel. That edition takes the first edition as its copytext and incorporates the revisions Fielding made to the fourth edition. Access options available:. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.
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