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|Title:||Addressing the Absent Centre of a True Christian Minister in the Parochial Stratum of Tom Jones|
|Issue Date:||2016-05-13 14:44:55 (UTC+8)|
The preoccupation with parsons and the parochial social order in Henry Fielding’s fiction stems from an awareness that the tone and direction of contemporary society were not what they ought to be. This was made clear by a spiraling rise in crime and a series of dangerous riots Fielding had to deal with as magistrate. Conscious of the instrumentality of the parish in securing social order, Fielding gives his reader a visionary landscape of an ideal parochial stratum that offers a paradigm of transfiguration, personal and communal, a more orderly, salubrious, and charitable society, to be secured through a balanced parson/squire dynamic. When one looks at Fielding’s novels structurally, a certain symmetry emerges: in Joseph Andrews (1742), Parson Adams is a surreal parson; in the main body of the text, Tom Jones (1749) has no good parson; and in Amelia (1751), Dr. Harrison is an ideal parson. But, it is precisely this absent centre, and the consequent void it creates in the world of Tom Jones, that give us a clearer insight into Fielding’s idea of balance in the parochial social order.
The Wenshan Review of Literature and Culture
|Appears in Collections:||[文山評論：文學與文化 THCI Core] 期刊論文|
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