Talk:The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

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NPOV issues in this article?

Another film[edit]

Should this be mentioned - ? -- Beardo 00:28, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Time for a complete rewrite?[edit]

I find this article completely dreadful, in all honestly. It provides nothing at all beyond a book-by-book summary of Tom Jones, which is not what Wikipedia should be about. Reading through the comments below regarding "Plot Summary" I find I agree with everyone talking about the need to discuss what makes Tom Jones so important a novel (the unreliable narrator, the willingness of the narrator to talk directly to the reader, the creation of characters who can have both good and bad traits, etc). Including details like "Tom receives a note from Blifil along with his effects, informing him that his uncle requires him to immediately quit the neighbourhood" seem utterly pointless to me. If someone wants this level of detail, they can read the book. I think the plot summary should be reduced to the minimal necessary for people who have not read the book to e able to follow the discussion that follows. (Tom is found and raised by Squire Allworthy. Through Tom's imprudence, he gains the reputation of being a wild young man, falls in love with Sophia, is banished, and goes to London. Sophia's father tries to force her to marry Blifil, so she runs away to London too. Tom discovers her, and after many misunderstandings, eventually wins her.) That's enough summary to hang the discussion on. Edmund Blackadder (talk) 01:07, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Plot summary[edit]

Thank you, anonymous IP editor, for starting to add the plot summary to this page. But I wonder if it is possible for us to summarize even more. Since there are 18 books, a restatement of the plot of each of those books would fill the page and tire the reader. I was thinking that the plot summary might be best broken down into a summary of "Part I" and "Part II," each summary containing no more than three paragraphs. Plot summaries inevitably leave out many details and subplots, particularly in large novels such as this one. Awadewit 17:14, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I have taken your comments on board. However, when I was looking for information on this novel, never having read it before, I was very confused by all the different plot summaries, many of which were incorrect. I want to put down a correct version and feel that the detail is important for anybody wanting to conduct some research, particularly Brit. Lit. students Ivankinsman 07:57, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure how you think a plot summary is going to help a student with their research. We are not sparknotes nor should we aim to be. Awadewit 17:52, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
But it would help to have a summary of Fielding's writing style. Unlike most novels today's readers are familiar with, Fielding writes directly to his audience by including himself in the conversation at times. He evenb steps out of the story to have a chat with the reader about the structure and content of the book itself. Some of his humor comes from this, some of it comes from his experience writing comedies for the stage. --EncycloPetey 15:12, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Fielding's writing style should be discussed in a "Literary analysis" section using scholarly works. Awadewit 17:52, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
(in reply to Awadewit)Well, I myself like to see a good plot summary that includes a lot of detail with relevant quotations from the novel. Tom Jones is such a huge book, and the plot so complex, that I feel a chapter-by-chapter analysis is needed to prevent misunderstandings over what exactly happens in the story. I get your point about sparknotes, but I am not simply trying to replicate what they do. Ivankinsman 15:30, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Personally, I think the plot summary has gotten WAY out of hand. It is begining to feel a bit like spark notes. It should not be the task of a wikipedia page on a novel to describe every single plotpoint and detail that happens in the book beyond a general overview. 4 or 5 sentences for each book should suffice. IF I have time, and others I agree, I might try cutting this down. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:54, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
Judging by the comments of others, that would not be the case. A major effort was made to expand the article to the current length. It is one of the first English novels, and deserves to be covered in greater detail than many other such works. --EncycloPetey (talk) 00:52, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
It's obviously an important novel and deserves to have a bit more length to reflect this, but I think this length and its importance should be reflected in added historical background, context, etc (which the article is lacking), and not in the summary. I don't think it should be the job of Wikipedia to provide a pages long cliff-notes-esque detaling of every single thing that occurs in the novel. Most of the featured articles on important novels (i.e. the articles that wikipedia specifically singles out as being particularly well written), for example, never usually have plot summarries more than 4 or 5 paragraphs for the entire novel, and these summaries don't usually go into belabored accounts of every single event and conversation that occurs in the novel (The Lord of the Rings, for example, a novel of equal length, complexity, and some would argue, importance, as "Tom Jones" only has 3 or 4 paragraphs of plot summary per book). Obviously Tom Jones is a massive book, so the plot summary will inevitably be much longer, but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be better to try to limit things to one or two short paragraphs per book. As it stands, the current summary doesn't just describe the general thrust of each of the books, but rather often describes every single conversation and event that takes place, all in sequential order, no matter how inconsequntial. So I think it can be shortened. But, obviously, if no one agrees with me on this I'll leave it be. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:56, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Sections to add[edit]

For the other sections, what do people think of an overarching "Literary analysis" section with these subsections: "Narrator," "Structure of novel" (which would include a discussion of whether or not the book is a novel) and "Satire" to begin with? Awadewit 17:14, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Don't forget the Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels/ArticleTemplate for a pattern. Also anything you put in must be referenced and cited properly. Thanks. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 15:22, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, I am aware of that. I was basing those sections on the scholarship (see "Bibliography" that I added) - these are some of the most important issues brought up by scholars. There are more (such as "mock-heroic style" and "reception" that should probably be added as well). Awadewit 17:59, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I have inserted a literary analysis of Fielding's writing style along the lines of what has been discussed. I also felt this must be incorporated into the main body of the Fielding article. Ivankinsman 08:13, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
This material should be removed. Introductions to editions are generally not the kinds of sources that one wants to use. They are reductive. That is the reason I posted the "Bibliography." Those books are some of the best scholarship on Fielding. Also, your summary of the "literary analysis" is difficult to follow. I'm not sure that you know all of the words that you are using because a lot of your diction seems inappropriate. Finally, relying on a single critic is POV when there are so many critics who have written on Fielding and who have distinctive interpretations of his work. Awadewit 17:37, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
All well and good as to what you say but at least I have put in the effort to give some analysis of his literary style, which is better than nothing (as existed before). Also, I personally find introductions (particularly in the Penguin Classics) very informative and interesting, and, having read the novel, what she states is pretty much spot on. If people want to find out more on this topic, then I'm sure they will refer to your bibliography (as I myself would do in a similar situation). What exact words don't I understand? Also, was going to ask you if you would like to proof-read the plot summary? Ivankinsman 19:02, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I have added some additional information on Fielding's literary style to the Literary Analysis section Ivankinsman 08:07, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

The last paragraph about book IX states that Northerton is trying to kill Mrs. Waters. In reality, Northerton was trying to rape Mrs. Waters "that Northerton tried to kill her but she, being 'not of the weakest order of females,' was able to fend him off until Tom came to her rescue". From Page 457 in the oxford edition "he suddenly slipped his Garter from his lag and laying violent Hands on the poor Woman endeavourtd to perpetrate that dreadful and detestable fact" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:09, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Sections to remove[edit]

  • I am not a fan of character lists; I'm not sure what they add to the page. Is anyone else in favor of removing them? I think that a page with a plot summary and a character list looks like sparknotes, not like an encyclopedia entry. Awadewit 17:14, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
And why not - list alone add not a great deal however lists that are anotated and give character detail are easily assimulated. Bear in mind this is not paper and the screen need to be easily scanned visually, load of prose is a turn off on screen. However I do agree we need more than name lists. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 15:20, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Also, why do we have a list of modern reprintings? I would suggest that this section be removed as well unless we find a source. There are scholars who are do bibliographical work. If we can find a list of all of the editions of Tom Jones, by all means we should put it in, but this kind of work is actually much tricker than it looks. Do you want only new editions, that is, ones that have been newly prepared by an editor? Do you want newly issued editions? Do you want to include reprints? How do you want to distinguish these? It is all very complicated and a list that is just thrown together without these considerations is actually original research WP:OR, and poor original research at that. Awadewit 17:14, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Nothing wrong with edition lists but yes they do need to major on the major editions, ie. First, early, critical and major. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 15:20, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think you understand my point. The list itself is original research. WP:OR. Find a bibliography of Fielding and Fielding criticism - there you might find a list of editions, but otherwise, this list is original research. Since scholars get articles published just for making these sorts of lists, it is definitely original research. Awadewit 17:55, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I also think that the edition list needs to go, or at least this particular one. A list of every print of Tom Jones would run into the hundreds. A selective list is fine, but this one just seems random. The best approach would be to have a section on publication history which lists the five key C18th editions (2 in Feb 1749, Mar 1749, Sep 1749 and 1763) and the Murphy and the Henley editions (definitive C19th and C20th editions respectively). And also the first translations into French, German and Dutch in 1950. All modern editions simply reprint one of the five C18th texts anyway, so listing them all is pointless, but the Norton and the Wesleyan are the modern scholarly editions so should be referenced. I can do this when I have a spare hour if someone gives me the nod. Alanmlny 04:40, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Who influenced this[edit]

Methinks that some parts of the novel - notably the central part happening at an inn - bear significant resemblances with "Don Quixote" by Miguel Cervantes Saavedra. Maybe a knowledgeable person could elucidate this further Awaler 22:57, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes, this is a very reasonable assumption. Cervantes had considerable appeal - soon after publication, it is thought that Shakespeare based a play (now lost) on Don Quixote, called Cardenio.
Adding more weight to the idea is that some of Fielding's most prominent contemporaries, such as Tobias Smollett and Laurence Sterne (namely, in his work The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman), composed works which bore striking resemblences to Don Quixote. (Smollett even did a translation of Quixote, which is still in print thanks to the Modern Library edition.)
I haven't read through the whole article, but if it isn't mentioned in there, I'll try to get around to adding it.

A clearer Literary analysis please[edit]

I know who Defoe is but who is Richardson? I clicked on it and it gave me a huge list. I think it's very vague, to an unfamiliar audience this isn't helpful. Could someone please clarify the mentions of some last name persons.

Like put Daniel Defoe and such and such Richardson. Also this novel could also use a literary importance. Since apparently the reference is probably alluding to the fact that the ideal of the novel is still pretty new around this time. At least that is what I am thinking. Someone could shed some light on this? 02:48, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

I added the first name of the "Richardson" in question. It is Samuel Richardson, a contemporary author whose works prompted Fielding to compose Shamela and Joseph Andrews, works imitating and/or expanding on Richardson's famous novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded.

One of the three perfect plots[edit]

I think it is worth mentioning Coleridge's claim that this, along with the 'Alchemist' and 'Oedipus, is one of the three perfect plots.

"Coleridge declared that the plot of Tom Jones was one of the three perfect plots in all literature, the others were Ben Jonson's Alchemist and Sophocles's Oedipus Rex."

There are many other sources for this statement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:09, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Copyright problem[edit]

Text was added into this article in a series of edits here that infringes on the introduction to this edition of this book. Some of this seems to have been obscured (as [1]) but some remains. For example, [2] clearly shows the origin of the phrase "uses various means to achieve this. First, and most obviously, he exploits the birth-mystery of Tom to counteract the effect of episodicity." See also [3], [4], [5], [6]. While this is attributed, we cannot use this material in this way in accordance with copyright policy. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 16:17, 20 October 2009 (UTC)


Isn't this book a wikt:bildungsroman, since it follows the entire life of a single character? I actually came to this article hoping to find the word (I ended up using a reverse dictionary search). – Kerαunoςcopiagalaxies 23:58, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Life Reflects Art[edit]

An anagogical situation happened in the life of Loretta Young. She had a good time baby fathered by Clark Gable. She put her baby up for adoption at a tame adoption agency. Loretta Young then adopted her baby (very neat). Thus she was able to raise her daughter, and avoid the stigma of fornication, which was stigmatic in the 1930's. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:31, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Plot summary too long[edit]

Although Tom Jones is a long novel, the plot summary is simply too long. I agree with the abovementioned writer that it is likely to tire a reader. It ought to be pared down to respectable length. (talk) 09:44, 25 January 2015 (UTC)