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Special issue

‘In this Light, then, or rather in this Darkness’

Henry Fielding, Methodism, Transparency and Opacity
Henry Fielding, méthodisme, transparence et opacité
Pierre Labrune

Résumés

Cet article réexamine l’interprétation que fait John Bender, dans Imagining the Penitentiary, des écrits fictionnels et juridiques d’Henry Fielding en prenant en considération le contexte religieux du XVIIIsiècle. Pour Bender, le fait que Fielding utilise des narrateurs omniscients s’éclaire quand on considère les écrits dans lesquels il demande une réforme de la procédure pénale et son souhait d’organiser tout type d’informations en séquences narratives. Bien que les analyses de Bender permettent de comprendre certaines innovations formelles de Fielding, elles tendent à passer sous silence la détestation de ce dernier pour le méthodisme ainsi que les conséquences qu’elle a eues sur ses romans, ses parodies et ses satires. Contrairement à Samuel Richardson, qui a recours aux préfaces et aux interventions auctoriales pour s’assurer que le sens moral de ses romans est bien compris, Fielding utilise les préfaces et les narrateurs intrusifs pour souligner la fictionalité de ses écrits et pour être à la fois plus transparent et plus opaque quant à ses propres pratiques d’écriture. Les revendications de fictionalité visent à détruire l’illusion d’une authenticité narrative. Fielding rapproche souvent cette illusion (qui peut facilement devenir hypocrisie) du méthodisme et de Pamela. La fictionalité contribue toutefois à donner plus de liberté et de responsabilité au lecteur. Si les romans de Fielding s’inscrivent dans la ‘naissance du pénitencier’, ce n’est pas tant parce qu’ils font de leur narrateur un juge mais plutôt parce qu’ils organisent la disparition de l’auteur grâce à la perfection de l’architecture narrative.

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Texte intégral

Introduction

1In the liminal essay opening the fifth book of Tom Jones, the narrator justifies the very existence of the liminal essays by insisting on the necessity of contrast in artistic compositions. Ironically enough, the essay explains that its very tediousness is part of the narrator’s master plan and that the reader’s wish to skip the liminal chapters to get back to the normal unfurling of the plot is a paradoxical proof of their fulfilling their purpose:

To say the truth, these soporific parts are so many scenes of serious artfully interwoven, in order to contrast and set off the rest; and this is the true meaning of a late facetious writer, who told the public that whenever he was dull they might be assured there was a design in it.

  • 1 Fielding, Henry, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling [1749], in The Wesleyan Edition of the Works (...)

In this light, then, or rather in this darkness, I would have the reader to consider these initial essays. And after this warning, if he shall be of opinion that he can find enough of serious in other parts of this history, he may pass over these, in which we profess to be laboriously dull, and begin the following books at the second chapter.1

2The essay therefore pretends to explain everything and to reveal every trick of the trade to readers the better to play with them. In this essay, as in the other liminal essays in Tom Jones, Henry Fielding plays on two different levels. He seems to exhibit his perfect mastery of his narrative and of its mechanisms while posing as a blundering author-cum-narrator at the same time. The essays are meant to help the narrator build his persona of a master artist that controls everything while reinforcing the impression that the whole thing remains quite blurry, not to say woolly.

  • 2 Bender, John, Imagining the Penitentiary. Fiction and the Architecture of Mind in Eighteenth-Centur (...)

3Fielding’s constant play with his own narrative voice in his novels has been analysed as a means to assert his control of narrative devices and processes, in accordance with his innovations as a London magistrate. According to John Bender, Fielding’s novels are perfect examples of what he calls ‘the juridical novel’, in which, as in judicial inquiries, ‘the issue is who will have final control over narrative construction; the difference is that fiction can realize the fantasy of omniscient authority.’2 In Bender’s perspective, Fielding pretends to reveal the trick of his trade to better control each and every possible reaction on the reader’s part. According to the American critic, one has to consider fiction and its development in the eighteenth century to really understand the changes in criminal law.

  • 3 Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p. 37
  • 4 See Watt, Ian, The Rise of the Novel [1957] (London, Pimlico, 2000)
  • 5 See Watt, Ian, ‘The Reading Public and the Novel’, The Rise of the Novel, pp.35-92
  • 6 See Watt, I., The Rise of the Novel, p. 254

4Just as novels are, according to him, based on what he calls ‘the fiction of personal identity’, which is always linked to ‘narrative sequence’,3 criminal procedure shifted in the eighteenth century and became much more preoccupied with the personality of the perpetrator and with the necessity of giving a coherent and documented narrative about each felony and crime. Bender’s main thesis, in his seminal monograph, is that there is a continuity between Bentham’s projects about the Panopticon as the ideal means of penitentiary reformation and the ‘Rise of the novel’.4 Whereas Ian Watt linked the development of ‘formal realism’ to the growing importance of the middle classes in the reading public,5 Bender interprets the formal innovations of eighteenth-century novels as instances of panopticism. Watt considered Tom Jones as only ‘part novel’,6 yet, in Imagining the Penitentiary, Fielding is presented as the epitome of the penitentiary novelist, due to his use of seemingly omniscient narrators and to his skill in devising coherent plots.

5Even though it is impossible to deny Fielding’s involvement in law enforcement and the complex and fruitful intertwining of his career as a magistrate with his literary endeavours, Bender’s analyses on Fielding’s uses of omniscient narration and of carefully crafted plots focus more on Amelia and Jonathan Wild than on Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews. Moreover, as the main aim of Bender’s work is to account for the development of modern prisons in the tradition inaugurated by Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, he is mostly preoccupied with the institutional transformations in the long eighteenth century and with the changes in positive law and penal architecture. As a consequence, Fielding’s religious ideas are only mentioned as elements in a broader philosophical system:

  • 7 Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.155

Fielding everywhere declares himself the traditional Christian moralist. But while such a description accurately, if schematically, accounts for his articulate ideology, his practice greatly alters its meaning. The executive agent in his consideration of the struggle is no longer religion, which has become an instrument, but the state–‘civil power’ in its rational dimension–and the chief object of contention is no longer the soul, which has been left to religion in its mystical aspect, but the material ‘mind’, the consciousness of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume.7

6According to Bender, Fielding’s professions of faith are just lip service paid to the Church of England to guarantee its collaboration in maintaining social order.

  • 8 The best account of the ‘New Birth’ was given by John Wesley himself, in his Journals, when he wrot (...)

7However relevant these remarks on Fielding’s religion might be in Bender’s perspective, they cannot completely account for the religious and moral dilemmas the reader encounters throughout Tom Jones’s peregrination across England. Moreover, even if Fielding carefully organises his plot and wants his reader to believe in the protagonist’s evolution from young rake to well-established gentleman, he deliberately omits certain passages to manipulate his reader and wants to contrast Tom’s reformation with what he considered as the hypocrisy of the ‘New Birth’ preached by Methodists in the mid eighteenth-century. In other words, the evolution of Fielding’s protagonist in Tom Jones can assuredly be read as the creation of a juridical narrative in which every element in a life eventually finds a meaning, but it can also be envisaged as a counterpoint to Methodist spiritual autobiographies in which the new light of conversion gives a new and definitive meaning to every single sin committed.8 Tom Jones, with its ‘perfect plot’, according to Coleridge, can be analysed as an instance of the penitentiary discourse, yet it is also, like other novels and satires by Fielding, an exercise in narrative opacity and a plea for personal frailties and incoherences.

‘New Light’, New Novels and Old Morality

  • 9 For more details about Fielding’s hostility towards Methodism, see Leduc, Guyonne, ‘Fielding et le (...)
  • 10 ‘If Fielding’s satire carried serious ideological freight, indeed, it lay more in religion and ethi (...)

8Henry Fielding’s preoccupation with the links between the innovations brought about by Methodist theology and Methodist preaching and the formal innovations of novels is already discernible at the beginning of his novelistic career.9 As early as 1741, shortly after the publication of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, Henry Fielding parodied the epistolary novel in Shamela, and drew from Richardson once again in 1742 to produce Joseph Andrews. Even though the rivalry between the two writers has already been widely discussed by critics, notably in sociological and political perspectives, little attention has been paid to the religious roots of the controversy, and to its possible consequences in terms of narration and literary ethics, as noted by Thomas Keymer and Peter Sabor.10

  • 11 Fielding, Henry, An Apology for the Life of Shamela Andrews [1741], ed. Martin C. Battestin, in The (...)
  • 12 For the hypothetical links that Richardson may have had with Methodists, and particularly John Wesl (...)

9In his parodies of Richardson’s novels, Fielding exaggerates Pamela’s piety to turn it into hypocrisy, and explicitly links Pamela’s constant appeals to divine Grace to Methodism. In Shamela, for instance, Shamela’s mother suggests that her daughter reads George Whitefield’s spiritual autobiography, which Booby thinks is a licentious book the first time he sees her reading it.11 Moreover, Fielding’s parodies do not only target the plot and the characters of Pamela, they are also aimed at its author, Samuel Richardson, who was suspected of nurturing some religious sympathies with Methodists.12

Pamela, Shamela, and the Illusion of Authenticity

  • 13 Fielding, H., Shamela, p.154
  • 14 Fielding, H., Shamela, p.172
  • 15 In early 1739, Joseph Trapp preached four sermons against Methodism and published them under the ti (...)

10Fielding has often played with mock critical apparatuses, and his preoccupation with this genre started in Shamela, in which he satirizes Richardson’s claims at presenting authentic letters to the reader. The critical letters preceding the actual letters in which the plot unfurls allow the novelist to highlight the links between religious hypocrisy and formal innovations. Indeed, Shamela’s letters are commended in the first pages of the book by a clergyman called Tickletext: ‘the useful and truly religious Doctrine of Grace is everywhere inculcated.’13 Moreover, within the plot of the novel itself, Shamela explains that Parson Williams managed to seduce her thanks to his particular conception of religious morality, expressed in a sermon on the text ‘Be not Righteous over-much’.14 The mention of the sermon is doubly ironical, as the sermon delivered by Williams, which is suggested as a means of justifying hypocrisy and vice, is reminiscent of a sermon that started a controversy involving George Whitefield in 1739.15 A complete reversal of all values, whether moral or religious, is therefore taking place.

  • 16 ‘Ce sur quoi ironisent les auteurs de Pamela Censured et de Shamela n’est pas tant le mensonge de R (...)

11Paradoxically enough, Fielding attacks the genre of the epistolary novel inspired by spiritual autobiography, and yet he exploits the very devices offered by the narrative apparatus of Richardson’s novel to prove the true character of Pamela. In other words, and to get back to Bender’s conceptualisation of the juridical novel, Fielding’s parody revolves around the possibility of stating the truth about the self through different narratives in fictitious letters. On the one hand, the fiction that the reader is presented with the true and actual letters of Shamela, as opposed to the ones that were published in Pamela, seems to confirm the fact that it is possible to eventually pass a moral judgment on the character, and to condemn her hypocrisy and lechery. On the other hand, however, as Fielding’s parody also mimics the very paratext designed by Richardson, it also evidences its own fictitious nature, and suggests that Richardson’s whole editorial project is tainted by hypocrisy as well. Richardson’s repeated denials concerning his status of author, and not editor, of Pamela, so as to guarantee the authenticity of the letters and the moral lessons that could be learnt from them are lampooned in Fielding’s Shamela, as noted by Baudouin Millet.16

12Fielding’s first steps in the novelistic career were therefore characterized by an ambivalent attitude concerning the potentialities of moral reformation offered by narratives and fiction. Pamela proved to be a case in point about the ambiguities of moral didacticism in fiction, and Fielding elaborated on that. Richardson wanted to direct the way readers interpreted his novel, as shown by the constant denegation of Pamela’s fictionality, but never really achieved that purpose, as he was aware of the controversies started by the publication of his book:

  • 17 Richardson, Samuel, ‘Letter to George Cheyne, 31 August 1741’, Correspondence with George Cheyne, C (...)

I am endeavouring to write a Story, which shall catch young and airy Minds, and when Passions run high in them, to shew how they may be directed to laudable Meanings and Purposes, in order to decry such Novels and Romances, as have a Tendency to inflame and corrupt: And if I were to be too spiritual, I doubt I should catch none but Grandmothers, for the Granddaughters would put my Girl indeed in better Company, such as that of the graver Writers, and there they would leave her; but would still pursue those Stories, that pleased their Imaginations, without informing their Judgements. And the principal Complaints against me by many, and not Libertines, neither, are, that I am too grave, too much of a Methodist, and make Pamela too pious.17

  • 18 Warner, William B., ‘The Pamela media event’, Licensing Entertainment. The Elevation of Novel Readi (...)

13The ‘Pamela media event’, as William B. Warner called it,18 was therefore a controversy about the possibility of controlling readers’ reception of a given work and the delicate balance between seduction and instruction when writing fiction. Fielding’s main objective, in his satire, was to evidence both the efficient narrative strategies used by Richardson and to underline the complete impossibility of guiding readers’ reception. According to the novelist and magistrate, the accumulation of details about the sufferings of a character–whether it be an actual Methodist preacher accounting for his conversion or a fictional female servant whose constancy finally convinces her master to atone for his sins–is quite often a hypocritical means of playing on readers’ basic instincts to sell paper.

Prefaces, essays, and the question of seriousness

  • 19 See for instance Watt, I., ‘Fielding and the Epic Theory of the Novel’, The Rise of the Novel, pp.2 (...)
  • 20 On the subject of Scriblerian mock-arts, see Bullard, Paddy, “=’The Scriblerian Mock-Arts: Pseudo T (...)
  • 21 ‘En 1742, Fielding proclame par un geste fondateur la fictionalité de son récit. Son entreprise acq (...)

14Even if Shamela is a parody that cannot be fully understood without knowing Richardson’s original text, Fielding’s next narrative enterprise, Joseph Andrews, though originally conceived as another variation on Pamela, can be read independently. Moreover, whereas the paratext of Shamela was nothing but a parody of that of Pamela, Fielding gave a proper preface to Joseph Andrews, though its status remains problematic and has been the subject of many critical discourses.19 It has been read as a serious attempt of legitimizing the novel as a literary genre worthy of critical attention, as suggested by the Aristotelian framework adopted by Fielding, but it has also been considered as another element in the global ironical and satirical poetics of Joseph Andrews. In other words, the preface would only be a parody of an ars poetica, in keeping with the Scriblerian tradition of ‘mock-arts’.20 Bender’s perspective on Fielding’s narrative practices would of course imply that the preface in Joseph Andrews should be taken seriously as a means to ensure an adequate reception thanks to a precise control over narrative resources. Yet the ambiguity, or, to be more precise, the undecidability of that canonical preface remains, as its major innovation is to openly declare that what follows is a fiction.21

  • 22 ‘I declare here once for all, I describe not Men, but Manners; not an Individual, but a Species.’ F (...)
  • 23 ‘There are certain Mysteries or Secrets in all Trades from the highest to the lowest, from that of (...)

15Similar questions arise when one is confronted to the liminal essays opening the first three books of Joseph Andrews, and, later on, each one of the eighteen books composing Tom Jones. The essays seem to give a legitimacy to the fiction they introduce, as the narrator explains that his work differs from that of the historian as it deals with types and species rather than with individual men and women.22 Moreover, one could think that Fielding tries to keep control over reader’s reception by proposing such a conceptual apparatus. Yet, there is a definite tongue-in-cheek tone in all those essays, as the trade of the novel writer is alternately compared to that of a butcher or to that of a scheming Prime Minister.23 Novel-writing, in other words, is described as a trade requiring craftsmanship, as a disreputable activity slightly similar to criminal life, as the writer has to accept the fictionality of his work to try and create something worth reading.

  • 24 Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.146
  • 25 See Fielding, H., Joseph Andrews, p.48
  • 26 ‘If one then rereads the earlier chapters with this information in mind [that is, that Joseph loves (...)

16Bender considers Joseph Andrews and its intrusive narrator as a “corrective to the lack of authorial presence in epistolary fiction”,24 yet he does not address the problem raised by the ironical perspective and the avowal of fictionality. It could be argued however that Fielding’s careful construction of the persona of an unassuming narrator is another means to guide readers’ reception and to come to a coherent and unequivocal narrative. The narrator in Joseph Andrews is nevertheless far from being absolutely omniscient, and plays at making things more confusing than they were at the beginning, as suggested by the delayed revelation concerning Joseph’s love for Fanny.25 Fielding, it seems, always suggests that he is aware of the unpredictability of readers’ reception, and implies that believing in the possibility of immediate efficiency and of perfect reception can only result in hypocrisy, just like in Richardson or in Methodists’ writings.26 The ambivalence of the essays in Fielding’s novel, which are digressions, critical recapitulations, and little satires at the same time, are part of the creation of the narrator as judge in Bender’s perspective, as the narrator asks questions and gives answers, just like a magistrate would lead an enquiry:

  • 27 Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.177

Not that free indirect discourse was Fielding’s basic technique. On the contrary, in Tom Jones above all, he brought to perfection the active narrator whose presence, transcending mere detachment, joins the objectivity that accompanies a certain distance from the scene of action to the vigorous mental engagement of an investigator probing for meaningful detail.27

17One could think nonetheless that Fielding’s narrator in Tom Jones is not that objective and does not care that much about whether or not he will be understood. The irony at work is, in fact, deeper than Bender might think, as shown in the complex way in which prefaces and essays both aim at guiding reception and affirm the impossibility of such a feat. Fielding’s clarification about his peculiar position as a novel-writer therefore both organises transparency and adds a layer of opacity. Fielding’s criticism of the religious innovations of Methodism gets a new meaning in this perspective, as the author seems to question the very possibility of attributing an unequivocal meaning to written fiction, let alone actions in the real world. That does not mean, however, that Fielding’s novels have no moral and religious dimensions, but the articulation of these with the specific status of narrator and author might be considered by adopting a different point of view than Bender’s.

Salvation, reformation, and the invisible author

  • 28 See Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.155
  • 29 ‘Their [The Methodists'] interest was less in celebrating the safety of their union in Christ or in (...)

18John Bender does not dismiss the importance of religion in Fielding’s works, yet he believes that religion is considered as a means and not as an end in the moral landscape of the novels.28 If one considers the journeys of Joseph Andrews, of Tom Jones or of William Booth in Amelia, it is hard to deny that these are stories of progressive reformation, in which the reader follows the trial and error process through which the main characters finally get to a settled and successful life. Fielding’s characters are meant to be counter-examples to Methodist narratives in which the worst of sinners experience sudden revelation and get assured of being justified in the eye of God. Those narratives can also be better understood in Bender’s frame of analysis, as their main aim was to create emulation in the community, as noted by Phyllis Mack.29

19Bender’s analyses linking Fielding’s projects in the matters of criminal justice and his use of omniscient narrators prove fruitful nonetheless when it comes to accounting for the evolution of his characters, yet they insist perhaps too much on Fielding’s control over his narrative and its reception. Even though the movement towards resolution often seems obvious to the reader, it should be kept in mind that Fielding’s narrators adopt an ambiguous posture about the lessons to be drawn from the tales they tell. At the end of the story, the moral intentions seem less clear than previously thought and readers are left to ponder the final meaning to give to the narrative sequences.

The virtues of silence

  • 30 The controversy surrounding Pamela, however, was immense, as shown by the multiplicity of reviews, (...)
  • 31 ‘A Letter from Fielding to Samuel Richardson, October 15, 1748’, in The Criticism of Henry Fielding(...)

20Fielding’s relationship with his works once they were published was quite paradoxical. Even if he had a taste for satire, whether as a playwright before the Licensing Act of 1737 or as a novelist delighting in parodies, he did not really care about potential controversies. Shamela and Joseph Andrews were not followed by any open letters or libels penned by Fielding,30 and Tom Jones, though it was openly criticized when it was published, did not start a controversy. Moreover, even though Fielding could be harsh when criticizing and satirizing other people’s works, he could also change his mind easily, as shown by his commendation of Richardson’s Clarissa in a personal letter he sent to the author.31 It seemed that Fielding’s persona of author-cum-narrator only existed within the frame of his novels and disappeared once the books were published.

21To better understand Fielding’s special attitude toward the future reception of his works, one should start by contrasting it with Richardson’s. Even though Richardson’s narrator in Pamela poses as an editor, he nonetheless tries, in the very last sentences, to make sure that the narrative sequence is read as a tale of salvation and redemption:

  • 32 Richardson, Samuel, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded [1740], in The Cambridge Edition of the Works and C (...)

From the low Opinion she [Pamela] every-where shews of herself, and her attributing all her Excellencies to her pious Education, and her Lady's virtuous Instructions and Bounty; let Persons, even of Genius and Piety, learn, not to arrogate to themselves those Gifts and Graces, which they owe least of all to themselves: Since the Beauties of Person are frail, and it is not in our Power to give them to ourselves, or to be either prudent, wise, or good, without the Assistance of Divine Grace.32

  • 33 ‘And the Editor of these Sheets will have his End, if it inspires a laudable Emulation in the Minds (...)

22Significantly enough, that passage was taken away from the novel in 1742, when Richardson published Pamela along with its sequel, Pamela in Her Exalted Condition, and wanted to make sure that the novel was read as a moral tale, but not as a Methodist parable. Yet, even in the 1742 edition of Pamela, the epilogue still makes things very explicit and highlights that Pamela’s life should be emulated by its readers.33

23Fielding’s narrators, intrusive though they might be, take a more discreet leave. In their conclusions, readers find all the information they might crave about the destiny of each and single character and depictions of the seemingly perfect happiness in which the couples live, yet the narrators do not allude to the real world of readers, or if they do, it is only for satiric reasons, as the conclusion of Joseph Andrews shows:

  • 34 Fielding, H., Joseph Andrews, p.344

Joseph remains blest with his Fanny, whom he doats on with the utmost Tenderness, which is all returned on her side. The Happiness of this Couple is a perpetual Fountain of Pleasure to their fond Parents; and what is particularly remarkable, he declares he will imitate them in their Retirement; nor will be prevailed on by any Booksellers, or their Authors, to make his Appearance in High-Life.34

24Only the parents are mentioned as being affected by the happiness they witness, and the readers are left at liberty to think as they will of the novel they have just read. The final allusion to ‘booksellers’ and ‘authors’ is just a means to criticise Richardson’s plan of writing a second part to Pamela.

25Similarly enough, the final chapter of Tom Jones provides a list of all the characters mentioned in the novel and tells the reader about their destiny, yet no explicit comment is made on their choices and evolutions. Even the final remarks about the character of Blifil are only factual, though the reader can easily interpret what is meant by the mention of his having ‘lately turned Methodist’ and his intention of purchasing ‘a seat in the next parliament from a neighbouring borough’. Blifil’s hypocrisy is still presented as something to be shunned, yet the character is not punished and has not been reformed in any way whatsoever throughout the book. The conclusion about all the characters is not introduced as a final warning to readers, but as a farewell gift ‘to satisfy their curiosity’.

26Tom Jones can, of course, be read as a novel of reformation, in which a young man learns to domesticate his erratic carnal appetites and progressively comes back into the fold of marriage and legitimate birth, as opposed to the ‘novels of salvation’–a category in which Fielding would have put together both Pamela and Methodist sermons. However, Tom’s progress, as a character, does not perfectly fit the scheme of the reformed debauchee, as he is both fully aware, from the very beginning, of his flaws, and always willing to help other people. Tom, if anything, sins by an excess of love rather than by an excess of self-interest, as he explains himself in London, when living as the paramour of Lady Bellaston:

  • 35 Fielding, H., Tom Jones, p.755

I am no canting Hypocrite, nor do I pretend to the Gift of Chastity, more than my Neighbours. I have been guilty with Women, I own it; but am not conscious that I have ever injured any – nor would I, to procure Pleasure to myself, be knowingly the Cause of Misery to any human Being.35

  • 36 John Wesley preached a sermon entitled Christian Perfection in 1741, and he wrote about that topic (...)

27Tom acknowledges his errors, yet he suggests a hierarchy between sins, and hints at the fact that his taste for love outside the bounds of marriage is, in fact, respectful of other people and helps him realise his own frailty and imperfection, as opposed to the Methodist who might pretend to have reached Christian perfection after having experienced the ‘New Birth’ of conversion.36

  • 37 On the use of Lockean epistemology in Wesley’s theology, see Anderson, Misty G., ‘Methodism and the (...)

28The reformation suggested in the plots of Fielding’s novels is therefore far from being unproblematic, as the evil characters, full of affectation and hypocrisy, remain the same, as is the case with Blifil or with Pamela, Joseph’s sister in Joseph Andrews. Moreover, the domestication of the excessive impulses is not really the product of a disciplinary apparatus, of a Christian morality that would be the ‘instrument’ of a broader will of moral reformation. It should be kept in mind, additionally, that Bender’s distinction between what should be the main object of religious attention, ‘the soul’, and what is supposed to be the focus of civil attention, ‘the mind’, as elaborated in the writings of the philosophers of the Enlightenment, over-simplifies the reappropriation of Lockean philosophy, for instance, by Methodist theology.37 If Fielding’s characters end up reformed, it is not only because they are subjected to a new form of civil government in which each and every detail of a life should be organised narratively to allow for an unequivocal interpretation, but it is also because religious morality could only be apprehended in terms of ‘mind’ and ‘character formation’. The imperfect reformations of Fielding’s characters should be seen as counter-narratives to the perfect redemptions evoked in the journals published by Methodist preachers and their followers. Fielding’s conclusions might be regarded as happy endings, as variations on the ‘they lived happily ever after’ of the fairy tales, yet there is only a promise of future and everlasting happiness, and the reader is finally left to ponder the moral and religious teachings to be drawn from the narrative sequence.

  • 38 Widmayer, Anne F., Theatre and the Novel from Behn to Fielding (Oxford, Voltaire Foundation, 2015), (...)

29In other words, it seems that Fielding’s panoptic narrative architecture, to adopt Bender’s paradigm, is either too perfect to need addenda to further ensure the correct reception of novels or too imperfect to be improved in any way by public interventions. The careful attention with which Fielding exposes the fictionality of his endeavours, recalls at the beginning of each book that all that is told should be considered in an ironical light, and ties every loose end at the end of his novels while leaving the reader to decide on the meaning to give to the different narratives is therefore both a means to highlight authorial intentions and to blur them, to add light and darkness, as suggested by the liminal essay in Tom Jones. The very idea that Fielding’s narrators would be omniscient is questionable, as Anne F. Widmayer has suggested: ‘the idea that ʻrealityʼ can be found in a fictional work, narrated by an imperfectly omniscient and questionably authorized author-character, is similarly risible.’38 This hypothesis seems reinforced by the public disappearance of Fielding after the publication of his books.

Fielding, an uncommitted writer?

  • 39 ‘I say not this, however, to excuse that want of Decorum, which ye so justly censure, and for which (...)

30Even if Tom Jones was globally favourably reviewed when it was published, the novel was nonetheless criticized for its supposed immorality. Richardson, in his private correspondence, condemned the novel and explained that satire was no excuse for the absolute lack of decorum he saw in the peregrinations of Tom.39 These recriminations were not made public, however, and the most significant critiques of Tom Jones were published anonymously.

  • 40 Aretine, ‘To Selim Slim’, Old England, 27 May 1749
  • 41 Lyttelton, George, Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul, in a Letter to Gilbe (...)

31On 27th May 1747, an anonymous critic, who used the pseudonym ‘Aretine’ to highlight his satirical intents, called Tom Jones a ‘motely [sic] History of Bastardism, Fornication, and Adultery’40 and said that it imperiled the very idea of religion by ridiculing hypocritical clergymen and would-be Methodists. The criticism is not very original, yet it is worth reading as it is meant to reach Fielding through his protector, George Lyttleton, who used the pseudonym ‘Selim Slim’ and who had recently published quite an orthodox analysis of Paul’s epistles.41 Fielding, however, did not give any answer to that review, as if the novel in itself, with all its liminal essays and its complex irony, was enough and did not need any further clarification for critics unable to grasp the complex persona of the narrator.

  • 42 Orbilius, An Examen of the History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. In Two Letters to a Friend, Proper to (...)
  • 43 Power, Henry, ‘Henry Fielding, Richard Bentley, and ʻthe Sagacious Readerʼ of Tom Jones’, The Revie (...)

32Another attack on Tom Jones evidences the fact that Fielding was a well-known figure that was challenged by his critics but who did not want to take up the glove. An Examen of the History of Tom Jones, published anonymously under the pseudonym of ‘Orbilius’, is a lengthy listing of all that might be considered offending and improbable in Fielding’s novel.42 ‘Orbilius’ has read all eighteen books of Tom Jones in detail and is very aware of Fielding’s literary career, yet his Examen falls almost always flat, as he seems to identify the problematic aspects of Fielding’s poetics without being able to understand them, ‘he has ʻa great gift for getting hold of the right thing – by the wrong end’’.43

33Orbilius’s attack was not answered by Fielding, because it appears that all the criticisms were out of touch and missed the specificity of Tom Jones, notably when it comes to the fictionality of the work and to the impossibility of ascribing a definite moral meaning to it. Orbilius, in other words, reproaches Fielding for being too opaque and not didactic enough. Significantly enough, Orbilius considers that Fielding’s mention of George Whitefield within a fictitious novel betrays the reading contract as inventions and referentiality become mixed:

  • 44 Orbilius, An Examen of the History of Tom Jones, p.70

I Believe it will be granted, that it is inconsistent with any Laws of good Writing to bring to View real Characters, as is done here at our THIRD Inn, with fictitious ones. This is so far from deserving the Name of Invention, that an ugly Monosyllable in our Language will fully denominate the Transactions of the living Mr. Whitefield with the supposititious Mr. Jones.44

  • 45 Fielding, H., Tom Jones, pp.430-431
  • 46 ‘Il [le narrateur dans Tom Jones] fait l'auteur (comme on dit ‘faire l'intéressant’), parle boutiqu (...)
  • 47 ‘L'auteur réel, l'auteur en personne, est par rapport à son œuvre offerte à la lecture en position (...)

34The accusation of lying is particularly aimed at the passage in Tom Jones in which Tom and Partridge visit The Bell Inn, in Gloucester, which was really run by George Whitefield’s brother.45 However, it completely misses the point of the narrative of Tom Jones, as its narrator is nothing but a persona and as Fielding, as an author, does not warrant any correct understanding of his book.46 Consequently, Orbilius’s Examen, acrimonious though it may be, did not start any controversy with Fielding, who went on writing novels and having his career as a London magistrate. The fact that Orbilius wanted to involve Henry Fielding, the author, in a controversy about the novel Tom Jones evidences a complete misunderstanding of the narrative architecture of the book, in which the ‘author’ is nothing more than a character, another fictitious creation that cannot be held accountable.47 It seems, after all, that Fielding’s narrative architectures are somehow similar to the panopticon sketched by Bentham, but more because it is always impossible to decide whether or not the author in their centres watches carefully over the reception of his endeavours or not.

Conclusion

35The ambiguity of Fielding’s narrators, who pose as authors, has been well summed up by Henry Power, who develops the analogy made in the first chapter of Tom Jones between the novel and a banquet introduced by a ‘Bill of Fare’:

  • 48 Power, Henry, Epic into Novel. Henry Fielding, Scriblerian Satire, & the Consumption of Classical L (...)

The reader is therefore in a privileged (if rather confusing) situation. The work in our hands is offered as a consumable artefact, which admits of infinite interpretation: a meal. It is also offered as a durable, marmoreal work of literature–an epic–from which a definite, inviolable meaning can be extracted through patient exegesis. Through his double analogy Fielding raises the crucial question of where meaning is created, and puts it at the heart of novelistic discourse. In the decades that followed, many authors were to imitate the way in which Fielding veers between a tyrannical insistence that he controls the meaning of his work and a polite deference towards his imagined reader.48

36This ambivalent liberty offered to the reader is visible in the constant irony Fielding uses in his prefaces, liminal essays, and even when speaking as his would-be omniscient narrators. Fielding, in short, always underlines the fictitious nature of his writings, which gives them a moral efficiency to better question it in the same movement.

  • 49 ‘Again and again Fielding’s writing of the 1750s sets forth projects and proposals for reform artic (...)

37Bender, in his seminal study on the relationship between innovations in literature and global changes in criminal law, elaborates on this duality of Fielding, even if he is sometimes led by his demonstration to be over-systematic. Fielding, to Bender, epitomises a pivotal moment in the history of both literature and penal reform as his writings articulate the new narrative paradigm in which every single biographic element can and should be traced back to its origin while being written in a language that constantly alludes to traditional morals and religion.49 Yet Bender gives too much credit to Fielding’s narrators, whose omniscience is only fictional.

  • 50 ‘The authority of the modern bureaucratic state – lodged in detectives, bureaus of records, and cir (...)
  • 51 ‘Faire que la surveillance soit permanente dans ses effets, même si elle est discontinue dans son a (...)

38Rereading Fielding’s novels and Bender’s interpretation of them in the perspective of Fielding’s abhorrence for Methodism and for what he deemed the acme of hypocrisy, that is, narratives of sudden conversion in which a new light is shed on each and every action of former sinners, has ultimately led us to reconsider the very status of the narrator’s voice in Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones. By relinquishing the possibility of controlling readers’ reception and by constantly underlining the limits and fictionality of his own narrative voice, Fielding makes sure that it can remain efficient, as the principle of omniscience presupposes that audiences, just like the general public, believe in this illusion of mastery.50 Fielding’s novels, in that perspective, may be regarded as characteristic of panopticism not only because they organise the narrative sequence of events, but mostly because they rely on readers’ participation and on the belief that the author, in spite of his fictionality, can nonetheless guarantee an unequivocal interpretation. The readers would in this hypothesis be like the inmates who can only assume that someone is watching over them in the central tower.51 Fielding writes penitentiary novels not only because he writes about reformed sinners and is careful of his plots, but because that narrative architecture allows him to organise his own disappearance.

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Bibliographie

Primary sources

ARETINE, ‘To Selim Slim’, Old England, 27 May 1749

FIELDING, Henry, An Apology for the Life of Shamela Andrews [1741], in The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding, The Journal of Voyage to Lisbon, Shamela, and Occasional Writings, ed. Martin C. Battestin, (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2008), pp.133-195

FIELDING, Henry, The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews, and of his Friend Mr. Abraham Adams. Written in Imitation of the Manner of Cervantes, Author of Don Quixote [1742], in The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding, ed. Martin C. Battestin, (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1967)

FIELDING, Henry, ‘A Letter from Fielding to Samuel Richardson, October 15, 1748’, in The Criticism of Henry Fielding, ed. Ioan Williams (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970), pp.188-190

FIELDING, Henry, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling [1749], in The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding, eds. Martin C. Battestin and Fredson Bowers (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1974)

LYTTELTON, George, Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul, in a Letter to Gilbert West, Esq. (London, R. Dodsley, 1747)

ORBILIUS, An Examen of the History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. In Two Letters to a Friend, Proper to be Bound with The Foundling (London, W. Owen, 1750)

RICHARDSON, Samuel, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded [1740], in The Cambridge Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Samuel Richardson, ed. Albert J. Rivero (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011), vol. II

RICHARDSON, Samuel, Correspondence with Aaron Hill and the Hill Family in The Cambridge Edition of the Correspondence of Samuel Richardon, ed. Christine Gerrard (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013), vol. I

RICHARDSON, Samuel, Correspondence with George Cheyne, Correspondence with Thomas Edwards, eds. David E. Shuttleton and John A. Dussinger, in The Cambridge Edition of the Correspondence of Samuel Richardson (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013), vol. II

TRAPP, Joseph, The Nature, Folly, Sin, and Danger, of Being Righteous Over-much; with a Particular View to the Doctrines and Practices of Certain Modern Enthusiasts (London, S. Austen, L. Gilliver and J. Clarke, 1739)

WESLEY, John, Journals and Diaries I in The Works of John Wesley, eds. W. Reginald Ward and Richard P. Heitzenrater (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1988), vol. XVIII

WHITEFIELD, George, A Preservative against Unsettled Notions, and Want of Principles, in regard to Righteousness and Christian Perfection. An Explanatory Sermon on that Mistaken Text Be Not Righteous Over-Much; neither Make Thyself Over-Wise; Why Shouldst Thou Destroy Thyself? Being a More Particular Answer to Dr. Trapp's Four Sermons upon the Same Text, than Have Yet Been Publish'd (London, 1739)

Secondary sources

ANDERSON, Misty G., ‘Methodism and the Epistemology of the Modern Self’, Imagining Methodism in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Enthusiasm, Belief, & the Borders of the Self (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), pp.51-59

BENDER, John, Imagining the Penitentiary. Fiction and the Architecture of Mind in Eighteenth-Century England (Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1987)

BONY, Alain, Leonora, Lydia et les autres: études sur le (nouveau) roman anglais du xviiie siècle (Lyon, Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 2004)

BULLARD, Paddy, ‘The Scriblerian Mock-Arts: Pseudo Technical Satire in Swift and his Contemporaries’, Studies in Philology, 110:3 (2013), pp.611-636

DUSSINGER, John A., ‘The Oxford Methodists (1733; 1738). The Purloined Letter of John Wesley at Samuel Richardson’s Press’ in Theology and Literature in the Age of Johnson: Resisting Secularism, eds. Melvyn New and Gerard Reedy (Neward DE, University of Delaware Press, 2012), pp.27-48

FOUCAULT, Michel, Surveiller et punir. Naissance de la prison (Paris, Gallimard, 1975)

KEYMER, Thomas, and Sabor, Peter (eds.) The Pamela Controversy: Criticisms and Adaptations of Samuel Richardson's Pamela 1740-1750 (London, Pickering & Chatto, 2001)

KEYMER, Thomas, and Sabor, Peter, Pamela in the Marketplace. Literary Controversy and Print Culture in Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005)

LEDUC, Guyonne, ‘Fielding et le méthodisme’, Morale et religion dans les essais et les mélanges de Henry Fielding (Paris, Didier érudition diffusion, 1990), pp.105-130

MACK, Phyllis, Heart Religion in the British Enlightenment (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008)

MILLET, Baudouin, ‘Ceci n’est pas un roman’, L’Évolution du statut de la fiction en Angleterre de 1652 à 1754 (Louvain; Paris, Dudley; Peeters, 2007)

POWER, Henry, ‘Henry Fielding, Richard Bentley, and ʻthe Sagacious Readerʼ of Tom Jones’, The Review of English Studies, New Series, 61:252, (November 2010), pp.749-772

POWER, Henry, Epic into Novel. Henry Fielding, Scriblerian Satire, & the Consumption of Classical Literature (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015)

WARNER, William B, Licensing Entertainment. The Elevation of Novel Reading in Britain, 1684-1750 (Berkerley, Los Angeles, London, University of California Press, 1998)

WATT, Ian, The Rise of the Novel [1957] (London, Pimlico, 2000)

WIDMAYER, Anne F., Theatre and the Novel from Behn to Fielding (Oxford, Voltaire Foundation, 2015)

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Notes

1 Fielding, Henry, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling [1749], in The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding, eds. Martin C. Battestin and Fredson Bowers (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1974), p.15

2 Bender, John, Imagining the Penitentiary. Fiction and the Architecture of Mind in Eighteenth-Century England (Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1987), p.15

3 Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p. 37

4 See Watt, Ian, The Rise of the Novel [1957] (London, Pimlico, 2000)

5 See Watt, Ian, ‘The Reading Public and the Novel’, The Rise of the Novel, pp.35-92

6 See Watt, I., The Rise of the Novel, p. 254

7 Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.155

8 The best account of the ‘New Birth’ was given by John Wesley himself, in his Journals, when he wrote about the spiritual experience he had on 24th May 1738: ‘But then I was sometimes, if not often, conquered; now, I was always conqueror.’ Wesley, John, Journals and Diaries I in The Works of John Wesley, eds. W. Reginald Ward and Richard P. Heitzenrater (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1988), vol. XVIII, p.250

9 For more details about Fielding’s hostility towards Methodism, see Leduc, Guyonne, ‘Fielding et le méthodisme’, Morale et religion dans les essais et les mélanges de Henry Fielding (Paris, Didier érudition diffusion, 1990), pp.105-130

10 ‘If Fielding’s satire carried serious ideological freight, indeed, it lay more in religion and ethics than in questions of rank.’ Keymer, Thomas, and Sabor, Peter, Pamela in the Marketplace. Literary Controversy and Print Culture in Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005), p.7

11 Fielding, Henry, An Apology for the Life of Shamela Andrews [1741], ed. Martin C. Battestin, in The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding, The Journal of Voyage to Lisbon, Shamela, and Occasional Writings (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2008), pp.163-164

12 For the hypothetical links that Richardson may have had with Methodists, and particularly John Wesley, see Dussinger, John A., ‘The Oxford Methodists (1733 ; 1738). The Purloined Letter of John Wesley at Samuel Richardson’s Press’ in Theology and Literature in the Age of Johnson: Resisting Secularism, eds. Melvyn New and Gerard Reedy (Neward DE, University of Delaware Press, 2012), pp.27-48

13 Fielding, H., Shamela, p.154

14 Fielding, H., Shamela, p.172

15 In early 1739, Joseph Trapp preached four sermons against Methodism and published them under the title The Nature, Folly, Sin, and Danger, of Being Righteous Over-much; with a Particular View to the Doctrines and Practices of Certain Modern Enthusiasts. Several pamphlets answering and counter-answering the sermons were published in the spring of 1739. During the summer, George Whitefield himself answered Trapp in an explanatory sermon.

16 ‘Ce sur quoi ironisent les auteurs de Pamela Censured et de Shamela n’est pas tant le mensonge de Richardson que sa naïveté d’auteur persistant dans la voie de la dénégation sérieuse : le récit a d’ailleurs assez vite été lu, sans esprit de polémique, comme une fiction, par un certain nombre de critiques.’ Millet, Baudouin, ‘Ceci n’est pas un roman’, L’Évolution du statut de la fiction en Angleterre de 1652 à 1754 (Louvain ;Paris, Dudley ;Peeters, 2007), p.229

17 Richardson, Samuel, ‘Letter to George Cheyne, 31 August 1741’, Correspondence with George Cheyne, Correspondence with Thomas Edwards, eds. David E. Shuttleton and John A. Dussinger, in The Cambridge Edition of the Correspondence of Samuel Richardson (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013), vol. II, p.73

18 Warner, William B., ‘The Pamela media event’, Licensing Entertainment. The Elevation of Novel Reading in Britain, 1684-1750 (Berkerley, Los Angeles, London, University of California Press, 1998), pp.176-230

19 See for instance Watt, I., ‘Fielding and the Epic Theory of the Novel’, The Rise of the Novel, pp.239-259; McKeon, Mickael, The Origins of the English Novel, 1600-1740 (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), pp.398-420; Warner, W. B., ‘Joseph Andrews as Performative Entertainment’ in Licensing Entertainment, pp.231-276; Bony, Alain, ‘Poétique du (nouveau) roman: la préface de Joseph Andrews’, in Leonora, Lydia et les autres: études sur le (nouveau) roman anglais du xviiie siècle (Lyon, Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 2004), pp.143-178

20 On the subject of Scriblerian mock-arts, see Bullard, Paddy, “=’The Scriblerian Mock-Arts: Pseudo Technical Satire in Swift and his Contemporaries’, Studies in Philology, vol. 110, n° 3 (2013) pp.611-636

21 ‘En 1742, Fielding proclame par un geste fondateur la fictionalité de son récit. Son entreprise acquiert une dimension revendicative sans précédent dans la fiction anglaise. Bien loin d’être allégué comme excuse, l’aveu de fictionalité est brandi avec une insistance et une systématicité remarquables, de préface en préface, à de nombreuses reprises, dans les années 1740.’ Millet, B., ‘Ceci n’est pas un roman’, p.245

22 ‘I declare here once for all, I describe not Men, but Manners; not an Individual, but a Species.’ Fielding, Henry, The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews, and of his Friend Mr. Abraham Adams. Written in Imitation of the Manner of Cervantes, Author of Don Quixote [1742], ed. Martin C. Battestin, in The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1967), p 19

23 ‘There are certain Mysteries or Secrets in all Trades from the highest to the lowest, from that of Prime Ministring to this of Authoring, which are seldom discovered, unless to Members of the same Calling.’ – ‘That it becomes an Author generally to divide a Book, as it doth a Butcher to joint his Meat, for such Assistance is of great Help to both the Reader and the Carver.’ Fielding, H., Joseph Andrews, p.89 and p.92

24 Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.146

25 See Fielding, H., Joseph Andrews, p.48

26 ‘If one then rereads the earlier chapters with this information in mind [that is, that Joseph loves Fanny], the issue of reading characters and texts becomes vexed and complex in a fashion that not only cuts against the practice of Pamela, but puts in question the notion that any reader of Joseph Andrews, whatever his or her acuity, can learn to read through appearances.’ Warner, W. B., Licensing Entertainment, p.253

27 Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.177

28 See Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.155

29 ‘Their [The Methodists'] interest was less in celebrating the safety of their union in Christ or in controlling the harm that unrestrained sexuality could work in a small community than in creating a disciplined, assertive character, one that would enable ordinary Methodists to serve as exemplars for the unconverted.’ Mack, Phyllis, Heart Religion in the British Enlightenment (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008), p.53

30 The controversy surrounding Pamela, however, was immense, as shown by the multiplicity of reviews, parodies, pamphlets, letters and counter-letters listed and reproduced in The Pamela Controversy: Criticisms and Adaptations of Samuel Richardson's Pamela 1740-1750, eds. Thomas Keymer and Peter Sabor (London, Pickering & Chatto, 2001), 6 vols.

31 ‘A Letter from Fielding to Samuel Richardson, October 15, 1748’, in The Criticism of Henry Fielding, ed. Ioan Williams (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970), pp.188-190

32 Richardson, Samuel, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded [1740], in The Cambridge Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Samuel Richardson, ed. Albert J. Rivero (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011), vol. II, p.460

33 ‘And the Editor of these Sheets will have his End, if it inspires a laudable Emulation in the Minds of any worthy Persons, who may thereby intitle themselves to the Rewards, the Praises, and the Blessings, by which she [Pamela] was so deservedly distinguished.’ Richardson, S., Pamela, p.462

34 Fielding, H., Joseph Andrews, p.344

35 Fielding, H., Tom Jones, p.755

36 John Wesley preached a sermon entitled Christian Perfection in 1741, and he wrote about that topic throughout his entire life, as shown by the publication of A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, as Believed and Taught by the Rev. Mr. John Wesley, from the Year 1725 to 1765 in 1766.

37 On the use of Lockean epistemology in Wesley’s theology, see Anderson, Misty G., ‘Methodism and the Epistemology of the Modern Self’, Imagining Methodism in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Enthusiasm, Belief, & the Borders of the Self (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), pp.51-59

38 Widmayer, Anne F., Theatre and the Novel from Behn to Fielding (Oxford, Voltaire Foundation, 2015), p.229

39 ‘I say not this, however, to excuse that want of Decorum, which ye so justly censure, and for which no Wit can atone. But in an Age so dissolute as the present what can be said for the Morality (for the Morality shall I say?) propagated in Tom Jones?’ Richardson, Samuel, Letter to Astraea and Minerva Hill, 4 August 1749, Correspondence with Aaron Hill and the Hill Family in The Cambridge Edition of the Correspondence of Samuel Richardon, ed. Christine Gerrard (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013), vol. I, p.321

40 Aretine, ‘To Selim Slim’, Old England, 27 May 1749

41 Lyttelton, George, Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul, in a Letter to Gilbert West, Esq. (London, R. Dodsley, 1747)

42 Orbilius, An Examen of the History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. In Two Letters to a Friend, Proper to be Bound with The Foundling (London, W. Owen, 1750)

43 Power, Henry, ‘Henry Fielding, Richard Bentley, and ʻthe Sagacious Readerʼ of Tom Jones’, The Review of English Studies, New Series, vol. 61, n° 252, (November 2010), pp.749-772. The quote in on p.763.

44 Orbilius, An Examen of the History of Tom Jones, p.70

45 Fielding, H., Tom Jones, pp.430-431

46 ‘Il [le narrateur dans Tom Jones] fait l'auteur (comme on dit ‘faire l'intéressant’), parle boutique et assume le rôle de l'auteur pour s'adresser directement au lecteur.’ Bony, A., Leonora, Lydia et les autres, p.191

47 ‘L'auteur réel, l'auteur en personne, est par rapport à son œuvre offerte à la lecture en position de lecteur, ni plus, ni moins.’ Bony, A., Leonora, Lydia et les autres, p.193

48 Power, Henry, Epic into Novel. Henry Fielding, Scriblerian Satire, & the Consumption of Classical Literature, (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015), pp.189-190

49 ‘Again and again Fielding’s writing of the 1750s sets forth projects and proposals for reform articulated in a language fabricated from the classical moralists and the latitudinarian clergy.’ Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.15

50 ‘The authority of the modern bureaucratic state – lodged in detectives, bureaus of records, and circulars like the Police Gazette; in newspapers, court reporters, and traffic-controller judges; in the reign of rules and regulations, including the rules of evidence; in the metropolitan order, the conventions of transparent, ‘factual’ narration; and perhaps, most accessibly, in the penitentiary idea with its principle of omniscient inspection–can be fully humanized only through illusionism.’ Bender, J., Imagining the Penitentiary, p.197

51 ‘Faire que la surveillance soit permanente dans ses effets, même si elle est discontinue dans son action; que la perfection du pouvoir tende à rendre inutile l’actualité de son exercice; que cet appareil architectural soit une machine à créer et à soutenir un rapport de pouvoir indépendant de celui qui l’exerce; bref que les détenus soient pris dans une situation de pouvoir dont ils sont eux-mêmes les porteurs.’ Foucault, Michel, Surveiller et punir. Naissance de la prison (Paris, Gallimard, 1975), pp.202-203

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Pierre Labrune, « ‘In this Light, then, or rather in this Darkness’ »Revue d’études benthamiennes [En ligne], 22 | 2022, mis en ligne le 30 juillet 2022, consulté le 31 janvier 2023. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/etudes-benthamiennes/9957 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/etudes-benthamiennes.9957

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