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Description
By scrutinising carefully the title-page of Tom Jones, Professor Kinkead-Weekes asks the sort of questions an 18th century reader might have asked when thinking of buying the novel.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Module code and title: A204, The Enlightenment
Item code: A204; 01
First transmission date: 1980-02-12
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 OU Digital Archive web pages.
Duration: 00:18:15
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Producer: Helen Rupp
Contributor: Mark Kinkead-Weekes
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): 18th Century; Literature
Footage description: By scrutinising- carefully the title-page of Tom Jones, Professor Kinkead-Weekes asks the sort of questions an 18th century reader might have asked when thinking of buying the novel. Is it a high-life romance, is it a moral tale about a pure young lady like Richardson's Clarrissa ? No, it is about a foundling, a bastard. Is it, then, something like Defoe's Moll Flanders, another story about a bastard ? No, again; unlike Richardson and Defoe, it is written by a gentleman, it has a quotation in Latin, taken from an epic, it calls itself a history and throughout the novel, Fielding proclaims himself the author. So, Tom Jones, according to Professor Kinkead-Weekes, is a new and a bastard form of literature. It is an attempt to harmonise the new thing, the novel, with the classical tradition of Greece and Rome, with an epic. Tom's adventures are, as it were, a modern Odyssey, but, as it is applied to 'low' life, it is a comic epic. Yet, this comic epic has a mortal design, its aim is to form the morals through teaching. Fielding does teach, he speaks with his own voice, or many different voices, and he is overtly the great plotter, the stage-manager. His characters exist to fulfil the author's design. The role of the author is all-important, but so is that of the reader. Mark Kinkead-Weekes suggests that Fielding was creating his readers, shaping them into the kinds of persons he wanted, who could judge both with wisdom and with love.
Master spool number: TLN30950H812
Production number: TLN30950H812
Available to public: no