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The history of Tom Jones : a foundling by…

The history of Tom Jones : a foundling (original 1749; edition 1950)

by Henry Fielding

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6,36067958 (3.9)377
Title:The history of Tom Jones : a foundling
Authors:Henry Fielding
Info:New York, N.Y.: Modern Library (1950). Hardcover, 885 p.
Collections:Your library
Tags:modern library, hb, ebay

Work details

Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (1749)

  1. 61
    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. 01
    Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (swampygirl)
  3. 05
    CliffsNotes on Defoe's Moll Flanders by Nancy Levi Arnez (espertus)
    espertus: Another 18th century bawdy picaresque novel
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» See also 377 mentions

English (61)  German (3)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
This book took me months to read because I could only stomach it in small doses. It wasn't that the story or the writing was bad, it just wasn't my cup of tea. The book reminded me a lot of slap-stick comedy; which I abhor and don't find comedic at all. This is the story of Tom Jones, a bastard, raised by a good and decent man. Tom's adopted father doted on him and that made everybody else jealous. Most of the book is about those plotting against Tom, who for all his foibles is a kind-hearted person that would help anybody from the dregs of society to Lords and Ladies. ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Jun 27, 2019 |
Poor Tom: an innocent abroad, surrounded by a world of hypocrisy but for his benevolent adoptive father and the perfect Sophia. Even they can be turned on him by circumstantial evidence, and soon he is logging miles on the highway of despair. There are adventures along the way as he remains ever ready to help a stranger out, and sometimes he even meets with kindness, but how will Tom ever be welcomed back home or win Sophia's hand?

The initial reception of this novel was a bit shaky, as its publication was blamed for subsequent earthquakes in London. Its risqué and earthy content was considered scandalous, and the famed contemporary critic Samuel Johnson had nothing but contempt for it. Hundreds of years later it's considered a classic with bawdy bits to rival Chaucer's Miller Tale: fart jokes, adulterous liaisons, pratfall fisticuffs - and Fielding's narrative voice is present throughout to leap in with playful commentary. There's some foreshadowing of what would be tackled more seriously in other works like Richardson's "Clarissa", and more fun than Makepeace could conjure up in "Vanity Fair".

It bears credentials as one of the earliest English novels, maybe even the first modern novel as we understand them today. Fielding was openly feeling his way through the process of establishing a model for this medium, even recording some of his thoughts during those narrative asides. He was also just plain having fun. For thematic elements there's the exposé of hypocrisy at all levels of society, but for me it was earthquake-inducing scenes like Molly's wielding of the thigh bone as the muse sings that really made the reading worthwhile. ( )
  Cecrow | Jun 17, 2019 |
Una de las novelas cumbre de la Literatura inglesa y la mejor obra de Henry Fielding (1707-1754). La historia de Tom Jones, el expósito es una novela picaresca meticulosamente construida, planificada y ejecutada. El principal objetivo de su autor fue el de presentar la multiplicidad del mundo y de la naturaleza del hombre, describiendo una sociedad rica en contradicciones, hipócrita y llena de injusticias.
  Haijavivi | May 31, 2019 |
2.5. ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 5, 2019 |
Tom Jones, a bastard of infamous parentage, is nevertheless raised by the kind Squire Allworthy as a gentleman. He loves the neighboring Squire's daughter, Sophia, but has no problem sleeping around with the less scrupulous common girls while waiting for his chance with her. His foster father, Squire Allworthy, loves him and has him educated alongside his nephew and heir, Master Blifil. Jones inspires the friendship and ire of those around him and, when he is seen as a threat to Blifil's inheritance of the estate, is framed as eagerly anticipating his foster father's death. Squire Allworthy reluctantly casts him off and Tom must go out to seek his fortune in the world. At the same time Squire Western wishes to force his daughter to marry Blifil so that their estates can be combined. Sophia flees with her maid. Her father and Blifil in pursuit.

Of the handful of 18th century novels I've read in the past two years, Tom Jones is the first I've enjoyed with the fewest qualifications to that word. Fielding is the first English novelist to understand how a story is supposed to work. Sterne's Tristram Shandy was more interested in its own cleverness than including the reader in the joke; Richardson's Pamela is drivel; and the candidates for first novel ever! are worth reading but Gulliver's Travels
and Robinson Crusoe fail to carry a narrative from start to finish.

Fielding throws a lot in the air over this nearly 900 page novel and, with a notably boring exception (I'm looking at you Man of the Hill), the characters and their stories contribute towards the goal of illustrating Tom and Sophia's separate journeys to London with all the misunderstandings, plot twists and gross-out surprises that keep a reader interested. Here is a comic novel that is still capable of real humor and sustaining it. The plot is dense with pratfalls and fists and mistaken identities - a lie told by one character causes misfortune for another which prevents a third from bringing one of the pins from crashing to the floor.

On a serious note, the novel is concerned with hypocrisy more than anything else. Master Blifil and Thwackem in the eyes of the world are respectable, but their platitudes have no feeling behind them, their greed is so blinding they fail to see any other motivation in those around them. Hypocrisy towards sexual desire is thornier territory, but the message can be a simple as its natural, everyone wants to do it anyway, and if all participants have honest expectations and intentions and, erm, no one gets pregnant, its a good time for everybody. Thorny.

The novel works. There are a few moral wrinkles and unnecessary asides and structural problems, but Tom Jones works. I'd recommend it over many others. ( )
2 vote ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (96 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fielding, Henryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alopaeus, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bender, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chappell, WarrenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cleland, T. M.Illustratorsecondary 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
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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140430091, Paperback)

Tom Jones isn't a bad guy, but boys just want to have fun. Nearly two and a half centuries after its publication, the adventures of the rambunctious and randy Tom Jones still makes for great reading. I'm not in the habit of using words like bawdy or rollicking, but if you look them up in the dictionary, you should see a picture of this book.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:34 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Chronicles the romantic adventures of mysterious orphan Tom Jones, a reckless yet personable young man, as he falls in love with the unattainable Sophia Western, the beautiful daughter of a neighboring squire.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 23 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140436227, 0141199733

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