Tom Jones (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, John Bender
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Fielding's comic masterpiece of 1749 was immediately attacked as `A motley history of bastardism, fornication, and adultery'. Indeed, his populous novel overflows with a marvellous assortment of prudes, whores, libertines, bumpkins, misanthropes, hypocrites, scoundrels, virgins, and all too fallible humanitarians. At the centre of one of the most ingenious plots in English fiction stands a hero whose actions were, in 1749, as shocking as they are funny today. Expelled from Mr Allworthy's country estate for his wild temper and sexual conquests, the good-hearted foundling Tom Jones loses his money, joins the army, and pursues his beloved across Britain to London, where he becomes a kept lover and confronts the possibility of incest. Tom Jones is rightly regarded as Fielding's greatest work, and one of the first and most influential of English novels.
This carefully modernized edition is based on Fielding's emended fourth edition text and offers the most thorough notes, maps, and bibliography. The introduction uses the latest scholarship to examine how Tom Jones exemplifies the role of the novel in the emerging eighteenth-century public sphere.
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in scholarly matters. 4 A formula often used in the titles of French works: e.g. C. Perrault, Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire naturelle des animaux (1671); W. Theylis, Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de Charles XII., roi de Suède (1722); G. de Lamberty, Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire du XVIII14 siècle (2nd ed., 1731), etc. In An Attempt towards a Natural History of the Hanover Rat (1744) Fielding facetiously alludes to one such work, Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire des insectes by René
Ground, and follows and kills it on the Ground of another, yet still the Hare is his own, because of the fresh Suit.… Cro. Car. 553.’ (Cf. Barlow, The Justice of the Peace , s.v. ‘Game’.) CHAPTER III The Character of Mr. Square the Philosopher, and of Mr. Thwackum the Divine; with a Dispute concerning—— The Name of this Gentleman who had then resided some time at Mr. Allworthy’s House, was Mr. Square.1 His natural Parts were not of the first Rate, but he had greatly improved them
being entirely natural to us and ‘antecedent’ (p. 60) to any alleged (and in his view illusory) dispensation of divine grace. He further disposes of the narrow assumptions of religious sects that their beliefs alone are divinely authorized. Like Square, Chubb typically begins each division of his argument by ‘fixing’ his subject, defining his terms (e.g., pp. 47, 57). Keeping in mind Square’s objections to Thwackum’s orthodoxy, consider Chubb on ‘religious parties’. ‘I am sensible, that the
which before had forsaken her Cheeks, now made her sufficient Amends, by rushing all over her Face and Neck with such Violence, that they became all of a scarlet Colour. She now first felt a Sensation to which she had been before a Stranger, and which, when she had Leisure to reflect on it, began to acquaint her with some Secrets, which the Reader, if he doth not already guess them, will know in due Time. Sophia, as soon as she could speak, (which was not instantly) informed him, that the Favour
did not always act rightly, yet he never did otherwise without feeling and suffering for it. It was this which taught him, that to repay the Civilities and little Friendships of Hospitality by robbing the House where you have received them, is to be the basest and meanest of Thieves. He did not think the Baseness of this Offence lessened by the Height of the Injury committed; on the contrary, if to steal another’s Plate deserved Death and Infamy,4 it seemed to him difficult to assign a Punishment