Henry Fielding (1707 – 1754)
“The adventures of Joseph Andrews” (1741)
“Tom Jones, a foundling” (1749)
“History of the life of the late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great”
It was Fielding who created a whole panorama of contemporary life. People belonging to different societies show how these societies come to operate. It was Fielding who was used by W. M. Thackeray as a sample.
Fielding has written a few different comedies that were of no success. Then the success of “Pamela” tempted Fielding to parody it – “Joseph Andrews” (a story of a virtuous footman, who equally resisted an attempt of his mistress to seduce him). It was only in the beginning of a comedy that Fielding tries to parody. Then he built another novel “Tom Jones” that was far more elaborated. Then he was old enough to compose his 3rd novel.
“Joseph Andrews” is full of criticism & humor. It produces an impression of a light breeze. And in it he gives us an opportunity to regard even the saddest scenes with a grain of optimism.
“Tom Jones, a foundling”
This is on e of the best books in the history of literature & all of a sudden we find out that the intention of Fielding was very much from his intention, when he started writing “Joseph Andrews”. Tom Jones is not presented as such a virtuous character as Joseph – he’s more credible. Tom & his beloved Sophia have many problems to overcome. Tom is an intelligent person & this tells on the development of the story. Tom wanted to marry Sophia & the fact that she is above him on the society ladder does not trouble him. What really troubles him is that he is not able to say “no” to a lady. Fielding believes in personal qualities 7 he believes that they are far more important than social standing.
Tom is tempted & fails to resist it. But he is so much sincere that he keeps to his only love Sophia & tries hard to win her love. If you’re influenced by passions they cam cause collapse in a good person, and if you are sincere & honest you will achieve whatever is good & honest.
Ton Jones is reared by Mr. Allworthy, a gentleman of high moral standards, who loves Tom & tries to preserve his attitude whatever Tom does. A nephew of Mr. Allworthy is a hypocrite. He always tells on Tom & tries to poison Mr. Allworthy’s heart against Tom. Finally he manages to do it & Tom is sent away. We find him traveling through the roads of England trying to search London. Sophia learns about it & sets along the road in order to catch up with Tom. Both Sophia & Tom are up against a lot of misfortunes but they are brave enough to overcome them. Finally they get married.
It is not the plot that matters. We’re given Fielding’s attitude to life & the structure of the novel itself helps us to realize what Fielding really wanted to say.
The first chapters illustrate Fielding’s attitude to life. He was a master of composition & his book was perfectly planned. “Tom Jones” can be regarded as a picture of manners that characterizes people of all times.
The word “romance” meant originally the literature written in this language. The adjective “romantic” first appeared in English in the 17th century as a word to describe fabulous, extravagant, fictitious & unreal. Gradually the term “romanticism” was applied to designate the birth of literature depending on instinct & emotion. The romantic literature came to oppose the rational literature of the 18th century.
The literature of romanticism is very much diverse in all European countries. There it was characterized by features that weren’t represented in other countries. In every country it had its peculiar features. We can say that even in borders of one country the manifestation of romanticism is not the same. In England romanticism had no rigid program & we can’t speak of a simple school. Usually romantic writers are divided into 3 groups. This subdivision depended upon the vision of this or that writer. Some of them connected their hopes & desires with the future development of humanity. Some relied upon the past & the heroes of the past 0 served the subject matter for their writing. Others relied upon the human instincts of the human being & disregarded the outer world as being unworthy & corrupted.
The Romanist is a person who is amorous of the far (he’s not satisfied with the present); he is not satisfied with reality & this shadow-show called reality. They certainly saw details as points of departure & still they went to the marvelous, unreal, and remote. They all were against this vegetable reality. They relied upon the imagination as the only release of spirit. The attempt to find correspondence between actuality & desires results in joy.
A romantic writer is very sensitive trying to find some manifestations of his desires in the outer world. He usually realizes every single change that may be suggestive. He’s much sensitive to change it. This constant practicing makes people, who employ romanticism as an outlet for their feelings, profit.
The scale is very wide from fantasy to disillusionment. Looking for perfection romantic writers come to understand it’s unattainable. This brings misanthropy & the desire to escape from the actuality into the innermost castle of their spirit. So they concentrate upon a special wind of experience – the inner experience of human being, which is based upon the workings of spirit.
A rational writer is a member of an organized society – a romanticist is a rebellion against this society, because they have regulations & this can be regarded by the romanticist as limitations. Being mystical romanticists invent demonic characters: if it’s a woman – it’s femme fatale. The typical romanticist is a dreamer; a great significance is attached to symbolism. Romanticists give types, not characters; their works are full of symbolism; there are lots of overtones; dreary associations prevail. Romanticist tries to get away from the world, relies more upon his own associations than on logic; polysemy of words & structures.
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