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The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (Penguin Classics) Paperback – September 27, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-A full caste dramatization brings to life this romp through 18th century England.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (September 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140436227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140436228
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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102 of 106 people found the following review helpful By JLind555 on July 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
It says a great deal for "Tom Jones" that after more than 200 years, it's still as fresh and alive as it was when Henry Fielding wrote it. Tom is a foundling who turns up in good Squire Allworthy's bed on the night he is born; he's given the surname of Jones because the household believes that his mother is Jenny Jones, a local lady of somewhat easy virtue. Squire Allworthy, out of pity for the foundling, raises him as his own son, along with his loathsome nephew Blifil, but it looks like Tom and his supposed mother have more than a little in common. To put it bluntly, Tom is no better than he should be. He's wild, rowdy, a womanizer, perpetually in some kind of trouble; but his heart is in the right place even if he thinks with the wrong head most of the time. He's kind, decent, affectionate, generous to a fault, everything his sneaky, tattle-tale, obnoxious cousin isn't. He's also in love with his neighbor Squire Western's daughter Sophia, who is very much in love with him; but Western has decided that Sophia is to marry not Tom but Blifil, and Sophia can't stand the creep. So when Tom is turned out of Allworthy's house on a trumped-up charge of aiding and abetting a criminal, Sophia runs away from her father's house to avoid being forced into marrying Blifil, and they both make their separate ways to London, where the book's action culminates.
Fielding crafted his novel almost perfectly; of the 18 chapters in the book, the first third take place on Squire Allworthy's and Squire Western's country estates, the second third on the road to London, and the third in London itself. In the exact middle of the book is the hilarious adventure at the inn at Upton, where all the characters, unknown to each other, briefly converge.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By mp on October 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
It was about time I read "Tom Jones." Fielding's 1749 novel gives us a panoramic view of 18th century British life. Its titular hero journeys among the low- and high-born trying to find his way in a world in which he occupies a precarious position. Fielding uses the sprawl of 800 pages to explore a multitude of social, political, and literary issues, gluing them together with an exquisitely outlandish, fully embodied sense of humour.
The action of the novel begins with a view of the Allworthy family, a landed gentleman, Thomas Allworthy and his sister, Bridget. Into this family is dropped an orphan, a foundling - a child, if you will, of questionable parentage. This child, Tom Jones, is raised alongside Bridget's child, Blifil, as relative equals. Both are tutored by two ideologues, the philosopher Square and the theologian Thwackum. Jones is a precocious, free-spirited youngster, spoiled by Allworthy while Blifil, the heir apparent to the estate, becomes the favourite pupil and spoiled accordingly by his mother. As the two youths age, Tom develops a fondness for the neighbour's daughter, Sophia Western.
Tom's sexual development begins to get him in trouble, as it tends to throughout the novel, and as a result of one such incident, coupled with the goading jealousy of Blifil, Tom is driven out of the Allworthy home, left to seek his fortunes in the world. Meeting his supposed father, Partridge, on the road, the two begin a quixotic ramble across England. Sophia, meanwhile, pressured into marrying Blifil, runs away from home, beginning her own voyage of discovery.
"Tom Jones" begins with the narrator likening literature to a meal, in which the paying customer comes expecting to be entertained and satisfied.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
I first picked up Tom Jones because to put it bluntly I am a bibliophile and it was a cheap book. However, I was suprised at how engaging and hilarious the story was despite the claims on the back cover, which are often far off. To tell the truth I did not expect to make it through this extremely lengthy tome, I only wanted to satisfy my curiousity.
Although I am a fan of Jane Austen I was shocked by the freshness and wit that Fielding's writing still retains. Every book in the novel begins with an essay by the author. Do not skip these, they are one of the best features of the book. My favorite is the essay before the ninth book which explains the purpose of these introductory chapters. What a riot!
The story of big hearted and big appetited Tom Jones and his adventures and misadventures is one long satirical gem. Fielding's interpretation of morals, piousness, love, and high society is still as hilarious and relevant as it was in the 18th century. For anyone who appreciates wit and history, this is a must read.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Harold A. Fretheim on April 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
I love Jane Austen, but like most English novelists she was only writing about a very small slice of English society. The same can be said for most other great English novelists. Fielding's acheivement stands in utter contrast- In Tom Jones we see full blooded characters from across the entire spectrum of English society- in all of their full blooded vanity, goodness, ugliness, courage, cowardice wisdom and foolishness mixed together. This is England before the Victorians spoiled it. And the wonderful story told with such humor, irony and wit. The observations range from dry wit to bawdy burlesque - the product of a man who had lived the fullest possible life and is now determined to share all of it with his reader. This is absolutely one of my favorite books. You will love it too.
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