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An examination of Henry Fielding's treatment of poverty and crime in Tom Jones.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Module code and title: A204, The Enlightenment
Item code: A204; 05
Recording date: 1979-09-17
First transmission date: 11-03-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OUDA web pages.
Duration: 00:18:12
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Producer: Tony Coe
Contributors: Michael McClain; Tony McEwan; John Styles
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Fielding; Highway Robbery; Poaching; Tom Jones
Footage description: As a lawyer and magistrate Henry Fielding was closely acquainted with the problems of poverty and crime in the 18th century, and yet he presents two different views on these matters. In Tom Jones two specifically criminal types appear - the incompetent highwayman Anderson and the villainous gamekeeper Black George, But their actions and Tom's reactions to them are not naturalistic but subservient to the plot of the novel. There are close 18th century parallels for both Black George and Anderson, but there is no unbiased evidence to indicate their real motives. Poverty may well have caused some men to take up highway robbery but it's also obvious that this excuse was a highwayman's cliche. The 18th century itself provided a stereotype of the highway robber, that the robbers themselves sometimes tried to live up to.
Master spool number: TLN36950H816
Production number: TLN36950H816
Available to public: no