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Tom Jones (1749)

by Henry Fielding

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,73076978 (3.88)405
Tom, a foundling, is discovered one evening by the benevolent Squire Allworthy and his sister Bridget and brought up as a son in their household; when his sexual escapades and general misbehavior lead them to banish him, he sets out in search of both his fortune and his true identity. Amorous, high-spirited, and filled with what Fielding called "the glorious lust of doing good," but with a tendency toward dissolution, Tom Jones is one of the first characters in English fiction whose human virtues and vices are realistically depicted. This edition is set from the text of the Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding.… (more)
  1. 71
    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (Widsith)
    Widsith: The obvious companion book...Shandy is funnier, but less story-driven
  2. 00
    The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett (uncultured)
    uncultured: Surprisingly easy to read 18th century novel, written as a series of letters. The characters (and letter writers) include a cranky old maid; her nephew, a hotheaded young aristocra; his sister, an innocent romantic; and their gruff uncle, a country squire with a heart of gold. They travel about England, with especial emphasis on Bath and London, allowing the author [a physician) to point out just how disgusting even the highest society could be. Part travelogue, part comedy, part bittersweet commentary on age and family. Easily the equal of Henry Fielding.… (more)
  3. 01
    Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (swampygirl)
  4. 05
    CliffsNotes on Defoe's Moll Flanders by Pen Densham (espertus)
    espertus: Another 18th century bawdy picaresque novel
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» See also 405 mentions

English (67)  German (3)  French (1)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
Wowzas! What a lot of waffle!

The history of the novel is perhaps one of a decline in the use of the Authorial Voice, which was still quite prevalent in the Victorian era.


See the complete review here:


  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
In 2015 The Guardian published a list of the 100 best novels published in English, listed in chronological order of publication. Under Covid inspired lockdown, I have taken up the challenge. Tom Jones is book 5 in the list.

I started Tom Jones as respite from Clarissa (book 4 in the list). Clarissa is LONG, unbelievably LONG, and after investing something over three weeks, I was only half way through - about 1,100 of 2,250 pages. While I was engaged with the book, the plot was getting nowhere - the heroine kept facing similar trials.

I'm glad I paused. While Tom Jones is from the same era (published in 1749, one year after Clarissa), the style is much fresher, and more modern. Clarissa is like an extended sermon on good and bad, while Tom Jones paints realistic characters trying to live realistic lives.

Tom Jones is still LONG - 1,000 pages in the Penguin edition, 800 in my ebook from Project Gutenberg, but the plot seems to make progress. By the last 100 pages it was becoming a page-turner!

The combination of believable characters and lots of colour depicting life and society in England nearly 300 years ago makes this book stand out. While the language and idiom are clearly dated, I loved finding phrases and usages that are still in use ("short and sweet", for example). I enjoyed the book immensely, and don't begrudge the hours invested. A worthwhile classic and worthy of its place in the top 100 novels list. ( )
  mbmackay | Jun 1, 2020 |
An adopted bastard loves a girl above his station.

3/4 (Good).

It's a silly book. (Some of the humor holds up, some doesn't. It took a couple hundred pages for me to get enough of a handle on Fielding's perspective to be able, for instance, to tell when he was being sarcastic.) And it's way too long for a silly book. But it can be fun. The plot weaves together into a satisfying conclusion (despite being assembled from stock tropes). The style is completely unlike anything I've ever read (featuring a third-person narrator who's the best character in the book). If I were to make a list of books where you'd be missing out on something if you never read them, this would definitely be on it. ( )
  comfypants | May 16, 2020 |
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling was written by Fielding in 1749 and is regarded as one of the first novels. As a blend of bildungsroman and picaresque novel it follows the life of Tom Jones from conception to a point towards the middle of his life. The book only features a small set of characters that often surface and resurface throughout the book as Jones grows up, leaves home and finally ... well, see for yourself, no spoilers here. The second most important character in the novel is Sophia Western, the love of Jones' life. She is a very well-educated upper-class girl whose beauty Fielding describes in great detail and probably hyperbole. As Jones is a foundling who has come into the well-reputed house of Mr Allworthy, the novel can also be read under aspects of class differences and whether ones birth or ones upbringing determines the class of someone.

I found the novel not as hard to follow as other 18th century books once I got attuned to the language used. My edition also had a glossary and notes, the former of which I did not make any use of. The notes helped in understanding allusions to Fielding's contemporaries and putting events in perspective and context. Also, as my Latin is somewhat rusty, I found the translations from Latin into English quite helpful at times.

The novel is divided into eighteen books, each of which is prefaced by the omniscient narrator. This preface sets the tone and establishes a moral framework to interpret what is to come in a light the narrator sees fit. At times the preface treats the novel itself on a meta level. For example, there is a preface about the use of prefaces that is actually quite entertaining. Both the structure and the comments the narrator makes throughout the story provide 18th-century moral guidance for the reader and at the same time can be regarded in an ironic way that entertains by contradicting auctorial comments and actual motives of the characters. This contradiction can also be seen in the way the narrator treats his story as a 'history', that is a narrative based on facts, and the narrated events that sometimes require a certain degree of suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader as events do not always seem as coincidental as they are portrayed.

Tom Jones did not always make me want to continue reading to see what might happen to Jones next, but it also had parts where it actually did make me want to read the next chapter instantly. On the whole, 3.5 stars for a novel that I would probably have to read again (and yet again) to grasp the full depth it can provide. ( )
  OscarWilde87 | Feb 2, 2020 |
Playful enough to enjoy a few pages or even chapters at a time; long-winded enough to put aside every now and then and read more interesting books meanwhile. ( )
  Stravaiger64 | Oct 29, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (87 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fielding, HenryAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Encyclopedia Britannicamain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alopaeus, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bender, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chappell, WarrenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cleland, T. M.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gravelot, Hubert FrançoisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hutchins, Robert MEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kermode, FrankAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keymer, TomEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kronenberger, LouisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
La Place, Pierre-Antoine deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mutter, R.P.CEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rawson, ClaudeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saintsbury, GeorgeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sergi, PinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sherburn, George WileyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Singleton, Ralph H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Lawrence BeallIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stern, SimonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wakely, AliceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the Honourable George Lyttleton, Esq.
One of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury
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An author ought to consider himself, not as a gentleman who gives a private or eleemosynary treat, but rather as one who keeps a public ordinary, at which all persons are welcome for their money.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Average: (3.88)
0.5 2
1 18
1.5 1
2 44
2.5 12
3 166
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140436227, 0141199733

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