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The history of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

The history of Tom Jones (original 1749; edition 1963)

by Henry Fielding

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6,41869966 (3.9)392
A foundling of mysterious parentage, Tom Jones is brought up by the benevolent and wealthy Squire Allworthy as his own son. Tom falls in love with the beautiful and unattainable Sophia Western, a neighbor's daughter, whose marriage has already been arranged. When Tom's sexual misadventures around the countryside get him banished, he sets out to make his fortune and find his true identity. Against the vivid background of eighteenth-century London, Tom encounters passion, corruption, danger, and intrigue before finally claiming his fortune, legitimacy, and true love. Fielding's bawdy, colorful, high-spirited novel paints human vices and virtues with unprecedented honesty and good humor, making Tom Jones as fresh and entertaining today as it was two hundred years ago.… (more)
Title:The history of Tom Jones
Authors:Henry Fielding
Info:Dent (1963), Unknown Binding
Collections:Your library
Tags:Literary Fiction

Work details

Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (Author) (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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English (63)  German (3)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling has become known over the decades as simply Tom Jones and is a humorous novel by Henry Fielding. It was first published in 1749 and is considered to be one of the earliest of English novels. While the humor is often presented as a farce and at times seems downright silly, it nevertheless made for a fun and interesting read.

The author presents his story with many asides to the reader and often telegraphs his intentions in advance with his descriptive chapter descriptions or the colourful names he gives his characters. So we are assured that Squire Allworthy is a very good man, while Mr. Thwackum is heavy handed and likes to dole out physical punishments. Personally I found Tom Jones rather an insipid character but he was the perfect canvas to help reflect the many vivid characters that he came into contact with.

At over 900 pages, the book at times was rather tedious, but the author’s clever use of words, his satire of both the day’s social and political conventions, and the many turbulent yet comic events kept the pages turning. Often touted as a history of bastardism, fornication and adultery, Tom Jones is also a romance with two star-crossed lovers, the lusty Tom and the strong-willed Sophia battling the odds to obtain their happy ending.

I listened to an audio version of this classic, as read by Bill Homewood, who did an excellent job of bringing this book to life, and, I am positive, raised my rating with his reading style. Reflective, philosophical yet lively and very entertaining I found [Tom Jones] to be an immersive reading experience that was well worth the time invested. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Aug 30, 2019 |
This is the history of Tom Jones, a foundling adopted by Squire Allworthy of Somerset, and his rise and fall and rise in country and city society. It’s one of the first English novels and is surprisingly funny in places. Also laden with melodrama. It’s told over about 15 “books”, making it easy (and advisable) to read a bit at a time. What I liked best about this book was when the author would talk directly to the reader and make it clear that he was structuring his story, and talking about the characters like they were his dear friends. I was entertained. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jul 31, 2019 |
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 |
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» Add other authors (96 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fielding, HenryAuthorprimary 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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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140436227, 0141199733

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