Class and Violence in Henry Fielding’s ‘Tom Jones’
On the 28th of February 1749, Henry Fielding’s novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, was first published in London by Andrew Millar, who offered Fielding the sum of £700 for its exclusivity. It is generally seen as a Bildungsroman (coming-of-age or character-building novel) as well as a Picaresque novel (satirical or comic depictions of lower class characters). One of the first ever novels written in English prose, its story revolves around Tom Jones, a foundling discovered on the property of a very kind and wealthy landowner, Squire Allworthy, in Somerset, England. The illegitimate son of a serving wench and a local barber, he is raised by master Allworthy alongside his heir, Blifil, the son of Allworthy’s widowed sister. Tom grows into an amiable and joyful rascal, with a penchant for the ladies. However, his feelings for their noble neighbour’s daughter, Sophia Western, are true and…
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Dr. Seuss: Politics in Children’s Literature
On the 2nd of March 1904,the famous writer and illustratorTheodor Seuss Geisel, known as ‘Dr. Seuss’, was born in Footloose, Springfield, MA, USA. An Oxford University graduate, Geisel published 46 children’s books, characterized by imaginative characters and the use of anapestic meter – a breezy melodic rhythm for comic verse. His most celebrated books include Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Most of them were adapted extensively to theatre, television and cinema. Geisel’s birthday, March 2, has been named National Read Across America Day by the U.S. National Education Association.
The son of Lutheran German immigrants, Geisel was a liberal Democrat and a supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. In the early 1940s, before America became aware of the destructive power of…
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Jon Scieska & Lane Smith – Math Curse and Science Verse
This week I present to you two books that are an interesting mix of nonsense and non-fiction. Math Curse and Science Verse, created by author/illustrator team Jon Scieska and Lane Smith, which, under the pretence of teaching maths and science embark on a fanciful, lyrical voyage into the minds of children as they grapple with concepts that seem to swallow life whole (or is it hole?). The books don’t exactly teach science and maths though there are certainly concepts, terms, numbers and equations in the mix. What they do do is do praise creative and whimsical thinking in combination with maths and science, the combine wordplay with these subjects and show that, with a dash of nonsense and wonder that perhaps… maths can be just a little fun? Afterall, haven’t we all wondered:
How many yards in a neighborhood? How many inches in a pint? How many feet in my shoes?
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The Advent Calendar of Literature: Day 17
Over the last few days, we’ve discussed Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and the various interesting facts that we’ve unearthed surrounding its composition, publication, and legacy. It is, of course, one of the most enduring stories of the Victorian age – perhaps of all time.
But A Christmas Carol wasn’t the first Christmas story Dickens wrote. It wasn’t even the first Christmas ghost story Dickens wrote.
He’d already written ‘The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton’, featuring miserly Gabriel Grub, an inset tale in his first ever published novel, The Pickwick Papers (1836-7).
The tale shares many of the narrative features which would turn up a few years later in A Christmas Carol: the misanthropic villain, the Christmas Eve setting, the presence of the supernatural (goblins/ghosts), the use of visions which the main character is forced to witness, the focus on poverty and family, and, most…
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