"Specters of Skepticism: Henry Fielding and the Problematic of Recognition," focuses on what I call the problematic of recognition in the work of British eighteenth-century novelist and magistrate Henry Fielding. I read in Fielding's fiction and non-fiction alike an abiding preoccupation with the question of how, if at all, one person can ever recognize the state of mind or the character of another. I argue that, moved by this preoccupation, Fielding undertakes two endeavors. First, as a magistrate, he promotes legal reforms that are designed to compensate for the epistemic difficulties that he thinks we encounter in all of our dealings with others. Second, as an author of fiction, he tries to create characters and fictional forms that embody, and are true to, these difficulties. The main texts considered are as follows: An Essay on the Knowledge of the Characters of Men, The Female Husband, Shamela, Tom Yones, and Yonathan Wild.
|School:||The Johns Hopkins University|
|School Location:||United States -- Maryland|
|Source:||DAI-A 68/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Philosophy, British and Irish literature|
|Keywords:||Fielding, Henry, Recognition, Skepticism|
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