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, …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

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 28 November 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Picaresque narrative