Blifil as Tartuffe: The Dialogic Comedy of Tom Jones

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James E. Evans, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Many modern interpreters of Fielding's novels, reading his declaration in the Preface to Joseph Andrews that “a comic Romance is a comic Epic-Poem in Prose,” emphasize the epic or the romance as the basis of his achievement.1 However, Homer Goldberg's assertion that “comic is clearly the most significant element of Fielding's formula” receives considerable support from Fielding's own words.2 In Tom Jones, for example, the narrator identifies himself as a “Writer whose Province is Comedy, or that Kind of Novels, which, like this I am writing, is of the comic Class.”3 Goldberg, like other scholars who follow such leads, finds Fielding's comic prototypes in narratives by Cervantes, Scarron, Le Sage, or Marivaux rather than in British or European drama. Few readers heed Andrew Wright's advice: “Fielding's knowledge of French drama—he translated La Médecin malgré lui and L'Avare—is perhaps underestimated in reckoning the extent and quality of his preparation as a dramatist for the writing of the novels he was to come to.”4 As Wright implies, the plays of Molière especially deserve greater attention as part of Fielding's self-conscious dialogue with comic tradition in Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones.

Additional Information

Comparative Literature Studies 27: 101-112.
Language: English
Date: 1990
Henry Fielding, Molière, Comedy, Literature, Influences, Hypocrisy

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