Henry Fielding, Sterne, Industrial Revolution

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Henry Fielding → Somerset, England 1707; aristocratic, good education (classical reading and law), he considered novel too vulgar in subject matter and style, so he wrote farces and satires, but his attacks against the Whig government led to the Stage Licensing Act that many theatres were closed. As he had no work, he became a judge, and he was very humane. † Lisbon 1754.
Shamela → shame+Pamela; satire of Richardson’s Pamela, hypocritical and conventional.
Joseph Andrews → a parody of Pamela (Joseph is Pamela’s brother and he’s seduced by a Lady) but then becomes a picaresque story.
Tom Jones → picaresque novel (picaro= someone who lives a dangerous and exciting life and thanks to whose boldness everything is solved), so episodic story where the society is satirized. 18 books (21 years-before Tom and Shophie’s love story-English countryside, 10 days-what comes after the event-wanderings across England, 23 days-what happens after the discovery that Tom is noble-London). Tom= foundling, mixture of good and evil, brave, impetuosity, but a good nature that leads the readers to forgive him ad it was easy for them to recognize themselves in his actions and faults. Style=interlocutory notes before each chapter, useful to introduce what’s going to happen; irony is provided by an intrusive and omniscient narrator(who comments the story or makes hypotheses on events), but it’s also present in the words and actions of the characters. We never feel as we are into character’s head, because it’s easier to know them observing. Characters= from different social classes and with both positive and negative features. Women are described in a negative way because money is their only interest. Sophia (middle class) vs Molly (daughter of the gamekeeper): when Molly shows to be unfaithful she disappears from the story. It’s a novel of growing up, because at the end of the story Tom is a responsible and realiable youg man.
William Hogarth → he has inspired Fielding
Laurence Sterne → Clonmel, Ireland 1713; took orders, but was above all love of polite society and brilliant conversation. Died relatively young, having suffered from consumption. † London 1768
Influenced by Miguel de Cervantes Don Qixote and by Gargantua and Pantagruel.
Tristam Shandy → themes: pessimism (underlined by funny scenes where there’s no logic and whose purpose is only to make the reader laugh), no happy ending, no moralizing aim (≠ Defoe, Richardson, Fielding). 9 volumes, various episodes and digressions about topics which have little or nothing to do with the main subject matter. Volume I: begetting of Tristam, even if he was born in volume III, then he appears only occasionally. 3 dedications to 3 different people; different lenght of chapters, which sometimes don’t follow a logical order. Style: first-person and omniscient narrator; irony, sarcasm, humour who give the necessary mental energies to go on living. Set is disappoting and love is illusory. These conditions can be alleviated by isolation, non communication, no set, no love. Sterne address to the readers and want them to fill empty spaces with drawings or words, so that they contribute to write the book. Content, structure: complex. Language: long sentences, lots of subordinate clances, indirect speech except when the author addresses to the readers, quotations or philosophical debates. Commas, semicolons, colons, asterisks used arbitrarly; different printing styles. Association of ideas (associate thoughts whid had no apparent logical connections), time, train of thoughts. Characters: hobby horses (fixed ideas), male ones are portrayed with sympathy, female ones are the object of the author’s scorn because they aren’t neither important nor interesting and they don’t have any opinions and they seem to represent sexuality. Readership= fashionable élite circles, appreciated because of his originality. Tristam= narrator and character, boring life, no dignity, no courage. He represents sentimentalism.
Time → no chronological order of events (≠ Defoe, Richardson, Fielding), they follow the order of the protagonist’s free association of ideas (no linear progression). No casual relationship between the events. Future and past refer to the order of the events in the narration. Henry Bergson → for him time can be divided into 2 parts: time of narration (unreal), time of narrated events=clock time (real); they have different lenghts.
Anti-novel → the novel was characterized by a plot, by narrative and chronological order, the sequence of orders was progressive and they had a beginning and a conclusion, instead, in this genre, disorder was the principal element and there were no links between episodes, digressions interrupted the events, Sterne “was governed by his pen, he didn’t govern it”.
Industrial revolution → England’s economic development (it became an industrial nation) from 1760 to 1840 (before it was a farming country and it was common for people to work at home because many of them were farmers or made cloths). Radical transformation of society: farmers left the country because they had to spend a lot of money to hedge the lands and divide them (urbanisation), increase of population (but poor people lived in terrible conditions), use of new materials (iron, steel), new sources of power (coal, steel engine), technological inventions (spinning jenny, water frame, mule, development of the steam engine), new factories (they allowed Britain to produce cloth more cheaply than elsewhere but many people was put out of work), new factory system, new transportation and communication (rapid road travel, new waterways so cheaper transport than by land). Factories raised their demand for coal because they used coal-fired boilers. Coal mines (North-east England, West-Midlands, South Wales). New machines for factories and for clothing. People preferred working in factories receiving a low salary but living near towns. Women and children were exploited and they lived in hard conditions. There was also and Agrarian Revolution, because they both used technological inventions, and it had two principal features: the enclosure of open fields (because of “Enclosure Acts” decided by Parliament) and common land and improvements in the breeding of cattle.

Testi di Fielding:

“Stern philosophers and easy lovers”
After having recovered from an accident where he had broken his arm, Tom went to Molly’s house to talk to her and her elder sister told him that she was in bed, upstairs. The door was locked and he couldn’t hear any answer, but then Molly told him that she was asleep. She seemed pleased to see him, but he explained her that he could never marry her because Mr Allworthy, his adoptive father, had told him not to see her again. She complained that he had said that he loved her, and she didn’t want to be abandoned nor to trust another man. The speech was interrupted by a little accident, in fact, a rug that was hanging on the wall fell down, and when Tom turned he saw Mr Square hiding there and understood that he was Molly’s lover. At the beginning the philosopher was embarrassed, but then he stepped forward, and Tom, though he was the most surprised of the three, saluted Mr Square and relieved him.

“The other woman”
Though Shophia was considered by Tom a charming lady, he fell in love with another woman. Mr Seagrim’s second daughter, Molly, was considered one the most beautiful girls in the country, but her beauty didn’t make any impression on Tom until he was 16 even if she was in love with him. In reality, she wasn’t very feminine, she was tall and robust, bold and forward. At first Tom resisted her advances, even if she was very insistent and followed him everywhere. When she realised that Tom didn’t visit her house anymore, she found means of throwing herself in his way, and in the end she was successful.

“Joseph Andrews”
Lady Booby wants to lure Joseph and she accuses him of behaving indecently towards the maids and adds that one of them is expecting a baby by him, but he tries to defend his chastity and says that he’s not a liar because he’s not denying the truth.

Testi di Sterne:

“My opininions will be death of me”
Tristram has taken 4 volumes to arrive at the first day of his life, and it has taken him a year to write. Now he has 364 days, the year hes has taken to write, and each of these days must be recounted with its events and opininions. The more he writes, the more he adds to what he must recount, so the more the public reads, the more it will have to read.

He talks about his conception, that had place betwixt the first Sunday and the First Monday in the month of March., 1780. He can be so particular because of an anecdocte known only in his own family, but that he makes public to clear the point. His father, a very regular man in everything he did, on the first Sunday-night of every month throughout the whole year, winded up a large houseclock, that fixed the moment when he and his wife had to stay together.

“Putting Tristram into breeches”
His parents were on the bed and they started talking about the fact that they had to put Tristram into breeches, even if he looked well in his vest and tunics. He’s growing very quickly, so when the breeches will be made he’ll look like an animal in them. They don’t know if it should be of leather or of fustian, or if it should have pockets in them.