Henry Fielding: Tom Jones

(2232 words)
  • Thomas R. Cleary (University of British Columbia)

Tom Jones (1729), the novel generally considered Henry Fielding’s masterpiece, richly lives up to the generic formula he earlier applied to Joseph Andrews: it is a fully developed “comic epic in prose”. The subject-matters it treats epi-comically are very precisely those of the Bildungsroman (the novel of growing up or maturation) and the novel of moral and social testing and education. As implied in its full title, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, a central issue is the true parentage of Tom and thus of his personal, familial and class identity, so that the novel has affinities with traditional romance where obscurities and suddenly resolving clarications of true identity are common, and also …

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Cleary, Thomas R.. "Tom Jones". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 November 2001
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8394, accessed 30 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Picaresque narrative