The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling

Overview

Henry Fielding's picaresque tale of a young man's search for his place in the world, The History of Tom Jones is edited with notes and an introduction by Thomas Keymer and Alice Wakely in Penguin Classics. A foundling of mysterious parentage brought up by Mr Allworthy on his country estate, Tom Jones is deeply in love with the seemingly unattainable Sophia Western, the beautiful daughter of the neighbouring squire - though he sometimes succumbs to the charms of the local girls. But when his amorous escapades earn...

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Overview

Henry Fielding's picaresque tale of a young man's search for his place in the world, The History of Tom Jones is edited with notes and an introduction by Thomas Keymer and Alice Wakely in Penguin Classics. A foundling of mysterious parentage brought up by Mr Allworthy on his country estate, Tom Jones is deeply in love with the seemingly unattainable Sophia Western, the beautiful daughter of the neighbouring squire - though he sometimes succumbs to the charms of the local girls. But when his amorous escapades earn the disapproval of his benefactor, Tom is banished to make his own fortune. Sophia, meanwhile, is determined to avoid an arranged marriage to Allworthy's scheming nephew and escapes from her rambunctious father to follow Tom to London. A vivid Hogarthian panorama of eighteenth century life, spiced with danger and intrigue, bawdy exuberance and good-natured authorial interjections, Tom Jones is one of the greatest and most ambitious comic novels in English literature. In his introduction Thomas Keymer discusses narrative techniques and themes, the context of eighteenth century fiction and satire, and the historical and political background of the Jacobite rebellion. This volume also includes a chronology, further reading, notes, a glossary and an appendix on Fielding's revisions. Henry Fielding (1707-1754) born at Sharpham Park, in Somerset, was a dramatist, novelist, political agitator and founder of London's first police force, the 'Bow Street Runners'. As a playwright he was a thorn in the side of Sir Robert Walpole's Whig government, who effectively legislated his retirement from the theatre with the Licensing Act of 1737. Undeterred, Fielding launched his career as a novelist in 1740 with Shamela (a parody of Samuel Richardson's Pamela), followed by Joseph Andrews (1741), an anticipation of his masterpiece, the comic novel Tom Jones (1749). If you enjoyed The History of Tom Jones, you might like Henry Fielding's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, also available in Penguin Classics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Perhaps all we have a right to expect from a conscientious editor is a well-written rehash of what others have already said. But this is not all that we are here given…[Professor] Battestin can repeatedly correct the record by drawing upon the work of modern scholars… His commentary, which he supplies as notes to the text, necessarily tells us much that is well known to the specialist, but often corrects what previous editors have said and not infrequently clarifies what has never before been annotated… It is surprising that so much fresh information has been assembled for a book as well known as this.” —Fredercik W. Hilles, The Yale Review

“This edition offers a critical unmodernized text of Tom Jones. The text is critical in that it has been established by application of analytical criticism to the evidence of the various documentary forms in which the novel has appeared. It is unmodernized in that every effort has been made to present the text in as close a form to Fielding’s own inscription and final revision as the surviving documents permit, subject only to normal editorial regulations.”—The Textual Introduction

“Brave men lived before Agamemnon; and there were editions of Fielding, of a sort, before Wesleyan series began. But every previous collection is now totally supplanted…”—British Society for 18th Century Studies Newsletter

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140436228
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 1024
  • Sales rank: 466,075
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 1.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) began his career as a novelist in 1740 with Shamela (written as a negative response to Richardson's Pamela). The following year, he published Joseph Andrews, with which he anticipates his masterpiece, Tom Jones. His final work, The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, was published posthumously in 1755. Thomas Keymer is Elmore Fellow and Tutor in English at St Anne's College, Oxford. His books include Sterne, the Moderns, and the Novel (2002), and co-edited with John Mee, The Cambridge Companion to English Literature 1740-1830 (2004). Alice Wakely completed a doctoral dissertation on Samuel Richardson at Magdalen College, Oxford, and is currently at the University of York. Thomas Keymer is Elmore Fellow and Tutor in English at St Anne's College, Oxford. His books include Richardson's Clarissa and the 18th Century Reader (1992), Sterne, the Moderns, and the Novel (2002), and co-edited with John Mee, The Cambridge Companion to English Literature 1740-1830 (2004). Alice Wakely completed a doctoral dissertation on Samuel Richardson at Magdalen College, Oxford and is currently at the University of York. The editors have previously collaborated on the OUP World's Classics edition of Richardson's Pamela (2001).

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling: Dedication
Contents
Text
Appendices: Chronology of Important Dates
Select Bibliography
Index to Corrections
The Geography of Tom Jones (map)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 29, 2008

    Not what you might expect.

    If you're looking for something along the lines of a typical Hollywood love story, keep moving. Fielding does the job of bringing realism to life without necessarily dodging the demands of literature. This book was controversial when it was released, and it isn't hard to tell why. If you do take on the task of reading this book, be warned, do not read it in public places; you will burst out into laughter and startled strangers around you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted April 25, 2009

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    Posted January 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted March 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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