Tom Jones Essay

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One attempt to explain the complexity of these structures has been to speak of Tom Jones as a battleground for conflicting forces of literary mode or literary history. David Goldknopf claims that "Fielding was trying to bring both the picaresque exuberance which was his natural bent and the new, aggressive empiricism of his age under a discipline fundamentally unsympathetic to both, the neoclassical canon." But if we see the picaresque and empiricist elements of the novel as reflected in its dynamic, linear movement and the neo-classical elements as functioning in its symmetry—admittedly a somewhat simplified account of the middle books—the primary conclusion to be drawn is not that this conflict is a failure on the author's part but that it is a tension that is itself structured into the novel, an aspect of conscious design rather than unconscious impropriety. Nor is it, I...

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This section contains 735 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Tom Jones Study Guide
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Tom Jones from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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