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93 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comedy classic for all time
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...
Published on July 17, 2002 by JLind555

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 and 1/2 stars.
I positively dreaded having to read this book for a class and I can't relate how relieved I was to find it enjoyable! Once you get past the idea of the sheer girth of the book, you begin to realize what a humorous writer Henry Fielding was.
The story is about Tom Jones, a hero. What's fabulous about Tom is that he is a "base-born" orphan and it is this alone that is...
Published on February 23, 2005 by Fitzgerald Fan


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93 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comedy classic for all time, July 17, 2002
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. When the characters all come together in London, Tom finds out his real parentage, Blifil gets what he deserves, and the story, like all good stories, ends happily ever after.
The most common criticism leveled at Fielding and "Tom Jones" when it was first published was that it was crass, low-down and didn't set the high moral tone expected of writers of his time. Fielding pulled no punches in writing this book. One of his most delicious characters is the hard-drinking, ham-fisted Squire Western, who has all the finesse of a bull in a china closet and calls it as he sees it (his description of Lady Bellaston is dead-on); and in Jenny Jones, he presents a lady of ill-repute in so sympathetic and likeable a way that she appeals to us much more than if she had been a prim and proper female. But Fielding knows what moral and immoral really are; Tom Jones, for all his faults, is truly good, just as Blifil, for all his pious moralizing, is truly evil. What's most refreshing about "Tom Jones" is that Fielding has presented us with characters that are truly believable; we see them in three dimensions, warts and all. "Tom Jones" brings us 18th century England as it was; raw, vibrant, bursting with life and energy. It's a book for its own time, our time, and all time.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Story of a Foundling, October 23, 2001
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. All 18 books of "Tom Jones" start out with such authorial intrusions, each cluing us into the writer's craft, his interactions with his public, and various other topics. This voice is actually sustained throughout the novel, providing a supposedly impartial centre of moral value judgments - each of which seems to tend toward enforce Fielding's project of a realistic, and yet, didactic portrayal of a world full of flawed characters.
Some of the issues the novel deals most extensively with are modes of exchange, anxieties over female agency, and the power of rumour and reputation. Exchange and the ways in which value is figured include a wide range of goods - money, bodies, food, and stories - and are integral to the story. The treatment of women is a great concern in "Tom Jones": from Partridge's perpetual fear of witchcraft to the raging arguments between Squire Western and his sister over how Sophia should be treated, to general concerns about sexuality and virtue. A novel that can be in turns hilarious, disturbing, and provoking, "Tom Jones" is never dull. Despite its size, the pace of the novel is extremely fast and lively. So, get thee to a superstore and obtain thyself a copy of this excellent and highly entertaining novel.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best!, August 26, 2002
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best, ever, November 17, 1999
Gentle satire about human nature and morality in the form of the history of a foundling raised in the home of a country squire, who is exiled from the home through a misunderstanding, and eventually reunited through a series of comic coincidences.
Fielding provides a convincing argument as to the relative importance of chastity and piety as virtues by offering one character (Jones) who possesses every Christian virtue except chastity and piety, against another (Blifil) who has virtually no real virtue except chastity and piety.
The moral lesson alone would not make this the greatest novel of all time. Fielding's relaxed, dry, humorous, and affectionate style is the main attraction. Do not try to rush through this book. Be grateful for the time you spend reading it, and go slowly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an epic comedy, January 1, 2005
I was first drawn towards "Tom Jones" when I heard about the controversy that surrounded its publication. "Proper" Englishmen were naturally ruffled by Fielding's dead on satirical depictions of the English upper class and by his disregard for their accepted code of ethics, and declared the book to be insulting and evil. Since all of my favorite movies and books had legions of people seething when they were first released, I figured "Tom Jones" belonged in my collection.

Apart from being amusingly raunchy for its time, it is also tremendously well-written and absorbing, drawing the reader into its richly detailed English countryside setting and its vibrant characters. The plot moves gradually, but never tediously, because to Fielding minor escapades and subplots are as important as the larger picture, and often factor unexpectantly in the central plot. Thus the book is very lively and animated despite its length, moving through a massive cast of characters, and a number of amusing charicatures and grotesques. Fielding is not above slapstick and lowbrow humor; he will follow up an eloquent exchange of witticisms with an absurd mudfight. If the reader can't learn to laugh with Fielding the book may become tiresome. The frequency of unlikely coincidences in particular seemed to be a test of the reader's patience, but I came to realize that Fielding intended it as a parody of his contemporaries. He is ruthlessly critical of his own literature and that of others.

The book is interesting historically, both as a detailed panorama of 18th century England and as a prototype of the great comic epics of Dickens and Thackeray. Its comic technique was revolutionary, and it is a classic belongs in every serious library.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long but great - a good free kindle edition, December 18, 2011
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What a romp! This book and it's ilk must have inspired many lovable rogue characters in countless other novels and movies. Delightful. Of course at 1000 pages and due to the era of it's language, not everyone is going to want to tackle this, but it's guaranteed worth it for those who do. I don't think I've read a funnier novel for a very long time (to say truth). I think I noticed 3 typos in the kindle edition. No footnotes etc. But for this type of novel those would have just interfered with the entertainment.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 and 1/2 stars., February 23, 2005
By 
Fitzgerald Fan (Troy, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
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I positively dreaded having to read this book for a class and I can't relate how relieved I was to find it enjoyable! Once you get past the idea of the sheer girth of the book, you begin to realize what a humorous writer Henry Fielding was.
The story is about Tom Jones, a hero. What's fabulous about Tom is that he is a "base-born" orphan and it is this alone that is the cause of all of his troubles. Throughout the nine hundred pages of the novel, Tom is chasing after his true love, Sophia Western, and getting nowhere fast. The world itself seems to be keeping them apart. Every time he finds a way, an obstacle is thrown across his path.
In many ways the novel reminds me of something Dickens would have written if his sense of humor had been just a bit more intense.
It's true, there are parts, usually in the beginnings of the chapters where the author goes off about things seemingly unrelated, but you will quickly develop an eye for this and learn what can feasibly "be skipped."
The story travels through all kinds of Tom's crazy adventures and believe it or not, a major mystery is revealed at the end that is sure to surprise even the biggest stick in the mud.
Not only was the story entertaining but, upon finishing it, you are likely to feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment as it is one of the longest novels written in the English language!
It truly is a book you take hold of in the winter months, or any time when you have large chunks of time to spend in doors.
Every one who reads this review should at least attempt it! It is an affordable world classic, and it is not every day that you talk to someone who can claim they read it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dickens' Predecessor, April 29, 2000
I am tempted to say that just as Marlowe paved the way for Shakespeare, Fielding paved the way for Dickens. I do not have one single complaint about this book. The images are wonderfully portrayed. The main character Tom has many dimensions. He is a rogue, a bumbler, and a womanizer. But at the same time he is heroic, brave, and honorable. Mr. Allworthy is memorable as the virtuous guardian of Tom. Sophia is memorable as a woman with a mind of her own. One of the greatest things about this book is that even though it is over 800 pages long, it is NEVER boring. We are either in suspense, feeling pity, feeling sorrow, or trying to control our laughter. This was the 3rd book I read in History of the Novel. While I did not like the first 2 at all, I REALLY liked this one. It is interesting that Charles Dickens mentions this book in his "David Copperfield" (1850). If you like this book, you MUST see the movie where Albert Finney plays Tom.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please ignore the other reviewer, August 2, 2007
By 
Czarina Kat (in my library, with a book) - See all my reviews
This is a classic piece of literature and very entertaining. I was very surprised to find that it had a one star score on Amazon until I read the only review for it, which accused Fielding of writing this as a fake history of the singer Tom Jones. To anyone in doubt, this book was first published on February 28, 1749. Yes, 1749. Tom Jones the singer was born in 1940. So...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long read. . . but well worth it. . .Guffaw your heart out, October 15, 2000
Journey with a guy with much testosterone, but a HUGE heart. I was not looking forward to reading this book for my 18th Century British novel class, but upon starting to read I found it to be a pleasurable story. This piqaresque novel has a humor that I have seldom encountered in other narratives. What is ironic is that Fielding wrote this piece during one of the most traumatic periods of his life. His wife just passed away, his daughter was dying, and he was inflicted with the gout. One would never think it from the clever way the book is written. The point of view gives us an in so that we feel as if we ourselves have roles in the storyline. Rooting all the way for Tom despite his flaws, we find out more about human nature along the way. A good read, light a candle and sit down with some wine like they would've and enjoy this classic comical delight.
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Tom Jones
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (Paperback - January 1, 2009)
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