A Brief Note On Henry Fielding Essay

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A Brief Note on Henry Fielding's Narrative Style Examining the Realism That Would Prefigure Tom Jones * Mar 3, 2009 * Michael Davis Henry Fielding - University of Adelaide The dynamic relationship between the substantive and formal qualities of Henry Fielding's novel, Joseph Andrews, may inform the realism of Tom Jones. Ian Watt claims, in The Rise of the Novel, that Fielding’s “patent selectiveness of vision destroys our belief in the reality of report, or at least diverts our attention from the content of the report to the skill of the reporter” (377). Although Watt uses Tom Jones as an example in his essay, to what extent does Joseph Andrews both anticipate and define this tension between Fielding’s style and subject matter? When Adams is attacked by a squire’s hounds, Fielding begins to describe how Joseph jumps to the parson’s defense. But the author pauses for a moment: “Reader, we would make a Simile on this Occasion, but for two Reasons: The first is, it would interrupt the Description, which should be rapid in this part. . . . The second, and much greater Reason is, that we could find no Simile adequate to our Purpose.” (208) Rhetorical Flourishes and Asides Fielding’s purpose is not only -- not even primarily -- to describe Joseph and how he beats back the hounds with his cudgel. Rather, the author uses a discussion of the inadequacies of language to indirectly emphasize the “Friendship, Courage, Youth, Beauty, Strength, and Swiftness . . . which blazed in the Person of Joseph Andrews” (208), inserting a rhetorical flourish where figurative language would normally seem most appropriate. Read more at Suite101: A Brief Note on Henry Fielding's Narrative Style: Examining the Realism That Would Prefigure Tom Jones | Suite101.com

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