Tom Jones (Everyman's Library)

Tom Jones (Everyman's Library)

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by Henry Fielding
     
 

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One of the first and most influential of English novels, Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones—published in 1749—is blessed with a lively and endearing hero at the center of one of the most ingeniously constructed comic plots in fiction.
           
Tom Jones, a foundling brought up in the household of the

Overview

One of the first and most influential of English novels, Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones—published in 1749—is blessed with a lively and endearing hero at the center of one of the most ingeniously constructed comic plots in fiction.
           
Tom Jones, a foundling brought up in the household of the benevolent Squire Allworthy, falls in love with the beautiful heiress Sophia Western, whose father forbids them to marry on grounds of Tom’s low birth. Tom is a lusty, high-spirited yet good-hearted soul, and after he is banished by his guardian for youthful misbehavior he heads to London to make his own fortune, with the smitten Sophia in pursuit. A series of bawdy escapades and assorted scrapes ensues, including a duel and a stint in prison, before the mystery of Tom’s birth is unraveled. Fielding used all the dramatic skill he had amassed as a successful playwright for the London stage to tell this hugely entertaining story of a flawed but generous hero claiming his true identity and his true love.
 
Jacket image: The Stolen Kiss (detail) by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Hermitage, St. Petersberg, Russia.
Erich Lessing / Art Resource, N.Y.
Jacket Design by Carol Devine Carson and Abby Weintraub

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Two hundred years have not dimmed Fielding’s realism. His humor is closer to our own than that of any writer before the present century.”—Kingsley Amis

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679405696
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/28/1991
Series:
Everyman's Library
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
427
Product dimensions:
5.28(w) x 8.22(h) x 1.66(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

What People are saying about this

George Sherburn
Not the serious moral intention of the author, nor even the superb fusion of all elements, can fully account for the pleasure intelligent readers have found for two hundred years in reading Tom Jones. One must recognize as a supreme aid to the success of the book the fact that it is composed with confident directness and precision, and especially that it is written in healthy high spirits—that Fielding keenly enjoyed writing it.
Edward Gibbon
The successors of Charles the Fifth may disdain their brethren of England; but the romance of Tom Jones, that exquisite picture of human manners, will outlive the palace of the Escurial and the imperial eagle of the house of Austria.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Upon my word, I think Tom Jones is one of the most perfect plots ever planned.

Meet the Author

Henry Fielding was born in 1707 at Sharpham Park, near Glastonbury. He was educated privately at first and then at Eton. In 1725 he attempted to abduct an heiress and was bound over to keep the peace. He then went to London, where in 1728 he published a satirical poem, The Masquerade, and a comedy, Love in Several Masques. From 1728 to 1729 he was a student of literature at Leyden University, returning to London in the autumn of the latter year. Between then and 1737 he wrote some twenty-five dramatic pieces, including comedies, adaptations of Molière, farces, ballad operas, burlesques and a series of topical satires, such as Pasquin and The Historical Register, which lampooned Sir Robert Walpole and his government. It was partly because of this last play that Walpole introduced the Stage Licensing Act in 1737, which effectively ended Fielding's career as a dramatist. After this he embarked on a career in the law and was called to the Bar in 1740, but had little success as a barrister. In 1734 he married Charlotte Cradock, the model for Sophie Western and also for the heroine of his last novel, Amelia (1751).

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Tom Jones 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 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!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read many novels written in the eighteenth century, and Fielding was the master of the genre at that time. Tom Jones was an immensely enjoyable book. At first, I was slightly intimidated by its 1,000 page length, but Fielding's wit and gift of storytelling was wonderful. This book proves that not all classic literature is boring. Many, many times I found myself laughing, yes laughing OUT LOUD, because the characters are so funny, yet believable. True, most of them are flat characters, but they exhibit some of the most common human flaws. Fielding was a master of humor, irony, and characterization, and Tom Jones will always be one of my favorite novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
its very comic story of a foundling tom jones who faces a lot of difficulties but at last reconciles to his uncle Mr Allworthy and wins his beloved Sophia Western.its ending is great. the novel is an amusing one on the whole.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you've always thought of the 1700s as a time when no one had any fun and all people wrote about is liberty, religion and other such pious (and often boring) material, get your hands on this novel and you'll change you mind. This novel, published in 1749, contains none of the dry, unwieldy language you might expect and what's more, it offers much more than many 'modern' novels, including hearty doses of wit, humor, pathos, satire, and insight into human nature. Another unexepected pleasure of this book is that although it is very long (the edition I'm reading is nearly 900 pages), it is a very fast read and at no point is it boring. You will really be surprised by this book!
LINDA-LEVEN More than 1 year ago
This book is so well written it was a shame I could not finish its almost 900 pages. I simply found the tale too silly, too uninteresting to continue. It seemed just to be the rather mindless adventures of the hero, Tom Jones, as he fights over women, fights with soldiers and his friends ... with everyone. I need something a bit more serious and profound. I even watched the overly long film as I read, and even found the film to be inane. If you like light-hearted nonsense with lots of characters coming and going, then you might enjoy this. It was just not my style, although the actual writing is great!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Last year our theratre department chose this to be our One Act Play and everybody loved it. It was such a fun play to do. When we went to competition there were so many laughs, and after we preformed all the other schools came up to us and told us how much they loved it.