Tom Jones

Tom Jones

by Henry Fielding

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Henry Fielding (1707 -1754) was an English novelist and dramatist best known for his rich, earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones. Additionally, he holds a significant place in the history of law enforcement, having used his authority as a magistrate to found (with his half-brother John) what some have called London's first police force, the Bow Street Runners. His younger sister, Sarah, also became a successful writer. The novel is both a Bildungsroman and a picaresque novel. First published on 28 February 1749 in London, Tom Jones is among the earliest English prose works describable as a novel, and is the earliest novel mentioned by W. Somerset Maugham in his 1948 book Great Novelists and Their Novels among the ten best novels of the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804901352
Publisher: Airmont Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/01/1967
Series: Airmont Classics Series
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 1.00(h) x 6.80(d)
Age Range: 16 Years

About the Author

Dubbed "the father of the English novel" by Sir Walter Scott, Henry Fielding (1707–54) was educated at Eton and worked as a barrister, although writing was his true vocation. In 1741 he published Shamela, a parody of Samuel Richardson's sentimental and moralistic Pamela, followed a year later by Joseph Andrews. In 1749 he produced Tom Jones, his comic masterpiece and an incomparably vivid portrait of English society during the mid-18th century.

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Copyright © 2002 Henry Fielding.
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Table of Contents

Introduction ix(26)
Note on the Text xxxv(1)
Select Bibliography xxxvi(4)
A Chronology of Henry Fielding xl(5)
Map: Tom Jones's Journey through England and the Jacobite Invasion of 1745
Map of London
Explanatory Notes 873

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Tom Jones 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all, it must be said that for anyone interested in English literature this is a must read. After having read this, it becomes apparent that so much of the literature that followed this book - in the 18th, 19th, and even the 20th centuries - is modelled on this book. Could it be that the same writer influenced Mark Twain and Jane Austen? Secondly, this book must be read for its unexptected humour and freshness - even though it was written almost three hundred years ago, its expositions on sex and violence are seen daily on Jerry Springer. True, the sentences are lengthy - and sometimes the scholarsip burdensome - but, for the most part this is a story of scandal and surprise. At the same time, though, I admit that I wished the story was a couple of hundred pages shorter: there were times, especially towards the end, when I simply stopped trying to make sense of all the loose ends and focused on the main plot. Fielding, as demonstrated by this book, is a master writer, but the folks over at Jerry Spinger could have taught him a thing or two about editing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book with lots of action and was one of the first and most influential books written in the English language. This is not a boring classic! It is a must-read in my opinion! There is action, there is romance, all in one great Bildungsroman! Plus it has short chapters!
ctpress on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has a solid place in the history of literature. I was entertained but not very engaged emotionally in the fate of the characters - and one should be when it is so long and epic a tale. It is a very clever plot with some nice surprises in the end - but also absurd with its many coincidences - it reads more like a farce or satire - and feels like a stage play (reminded me of some of the stories by Chaucer). Fielding comments and elaborates on the story and the characters all the time - and it gets a little annoying after a while - just tell the story!! What can one say about Tom Jones? A heart of gold - yet so easily tempted by women. Heroic and courageous - yet so unstable. I liked Mr. Allworthy - and also Sophia - her concluding remarks on Jones' character really says it all.
fuzzy_patters on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It took me two tries to finish Tom Jones, but I am glad I did. When I first attempted it, I must not have been in the correct mood for it because I enjoyed it immensely in my second attempt. The novel follows Jones through his torment of not being able to have the woman he loves. The problem lies not with her but with eighteenth century British society. Her father will only consent for her to marry a man of fortune and consents to have her instead marry Blifil. The exact relationships between these characters are complicated, and I will not go into details about them so as not to spoil the novel for those who have not read it.Also of interest are the chapters that Fielding uses to preface each of the eighteen books that make up the novel. Some of these chapters are rather dry and all could be skipped without affecting the reader's enjoyment of the novel, as Fielding notes. However, I did find them to be worth reading both for Fielding's more serious notes about the writing process and literary criticism as well as his more humorous contributions. The greatest strength of this novel is Fielding's unique ability to describe the exact qualities of each character. Fielding truly knew people. Despite the fact that this novel was written over 250 years ago, Fielding's characters are motivated by the motivations and act in the same ways that people would act today.
jclemence on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first picked up Tom Jones in college. I only got a few hundred pages in when I lost interest and put the book down. A few months ago, however, I found a cheap copy at a used-book store and decided to try my luck again. This time, my experience was markedly different: I was hooked within a few pages. Fielding writes in a very engaging manner; it feels like one is listening to a close friend relate a personal story rather than reading a 250-year-old book. The characters are robust: The über-benevolent Squire Allworthy, the absolutely knuckleheaded Squire Western, the heroic, noble Tom Jones--who has got to be one of the unluckiest men ever in fiction-dom--and the lovely Sophia, who must suffer under her father's irrational love. The plot is superlative: Throughout the course of the book, I found myself thinking about the characters (and actually being concerned for their welfare!) in between reading sessions. I had to know what happened to them, and how everything was going to work out happily in the end. (Indeed, with about 40 pages left, I was starting to get very worried.) The love, sex, betrayal, and plain-old human nature of the plot is such that if one updated the scenery, it might be a book written to describe present-day events. Fielding complements his fine character creations with a sharp wit that is apparent on almost every page. I laughed out loud quite a few times throughout the book, and I got the distinct feeling that the author was winking at me almost non-stop. I can imagine that Mr. Fielding would be a riot in a pub with a few drinks under his belt!In an era whose modus operandi is instant gratification, it can require extra discipline to make it through this lengthy work that at times uses some unfamiliar language. Nevertheless, reading Tom Jones is completely worth the effort, as you will enjoy a master storyteller at his best.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very early novel, published in 1749, and it's telling in several ways this was written when the form was young. There are eccentric spellings, erratic capitalizations, and dialogue isn't set off in the convention we're used to, but has various speakers lumped into one paragraph. There are archaic formulations such as "says he" rather than "he said" and such archaic words as nay, doth, hath, yon, thou, thee, etc. Swear words such as "damn" are presented as "d--n." I felt the various parts of the narration--description, dialogue, thoughts, action--are much better balanced in later novels. And the omniscient narrator here, sometimes breaking the fourth wall into first person, is very, very intrusive, with long digressions, some chapter-length, on such subjects as the novel's form or the nature of love. Some parts to my tastes were far too preachy, but having just read Robinson Crusoe before this, that religiosity is just another feature of the era. This did make for rather tedious going at times, especially before I got acclimated to the style, but for the most part the plot and comic aspects kept me chugging along.It helps that Tom himself is much more likable than I expected from what I had heard of the novel--or even the description on the back of the book. I'd heard this was a picaresque tale with a hero that could be called a rake. But although he's no monk, I wouldn't describe Tom that way. He's neither rapist nor callous seducer. In fact, he's usually the seduced rather than the seducer. And he is young, after all; no older than twenty-one at the end of the novel. He says of himself: Nor do I pretend to the Gift of Chastity... I have been guilty with Women, I own it; but I 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.When Tom seemingly gets Molly Seagrim pregnant, he's quite willing to stand by her and marry her, even though she's poor. He'd been raised as a gentleman, and even though being base-born and not the heir doesn't mean he can look to marry the lady-of-the-manor next door, he could have done materially better than that. It's not until he finds out she's being unfaithful that he breaks things off with her. He shows himself generous and compassionate throughout. Tom's greatest fault indeed seems a naivete that allows others to take advantage of him. I felt more mixed about the female characters and especially Tom's love Sophia Western. She's a bit too blushing and apt to swoon--on the other hand, she doesn't let herself be rolled over but takes action to change her fate. It's obvious Fielding does have respect for women and although like the men, they might be fools, often his female characters are more intelligent and better educated than their male counterparts. Note the maid Jenny Jones, who is more learned than the schoolmaster who taught her. To be honest, it's the secondary comic characters that have the most vividness like the Sancho Panza like Mr Partridge or the affected Aunt Western and uncouth Squire Western.This was a surprisingly enjoyable novel on the whole, even if I wasn't as enchanted by it as I was by its comic descendents by Austen and Thackeray. I immediately felt the kinship to books such as Sense and Sensibility and Vanity Fair in the sparkling wit, the ironic tone, and wickedly sharp satire, even if Fielding is more genial than Thackeray, and more bawdy than Austen.
charlie68 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was a rip-roaring read, full of action, romance, humour and suspense, all set in the English countryside of eighteenth century England and London. Cant see anyone who would like this book.
mbmyhre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Way better than Clarissa, this is a satirical book about a rake that is funny and light hearted. It's faster and easier and gives you a good historical perspective
pickwick817 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Its been a long time since I read this book, but I remember it being long and uninteresting. Tom had a lot of adventures throughout the book, but for some reason I never got into his character and found myself looking forward finishing the book so it would be over.
Smiley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, if maybe a bit long by 21st century standards. Humorous throughout with a underlying seriousness of purpose. Fielding's personality and wit shine through, epecially in the introductory chapters. One of my all time favorite novels. Will read it again.
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