The History of Tom Jones,
a Foundling

by Henry Fielding

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, often known simply as Tom Jones, is a comic novel by English playwright and novelist Henry Fielding. It is a Bildungsroman and a picaresque novel. It was first published on 28 February 1749 in London and is among the earliest English works to be classified as a novel. It 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.
The novel takes place against the backdrop of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Characters take different sides over the rebellion, which was an attempt to restore Roman Catholicism as the established religion of England and to undo the Glorious Revolution. At one point Sophia Western is even mistaken for Jenny Cameron, the supposed lover of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Good-natured characters are often moderately loyalist and Anglican, or even supporters of the House of Hanover, while ill-natured characters (Mrs Western) or mistaken ones (Partridge) can be Jacobites, or (like Squire Western) anti-Hanoverian.
The novel is highly organised despite its length. Samuel Taylor Coleridge argued that it has one of the "three most perfect plots ever planned", alongside Oedipus Tyrannus and The Alchemist. It became a best seller with four editions published in its first year alone. It is generally regarded as Fielding's greatest book and as an influential English novel.
Excerpted from The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling on Wikipedia.

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

person AuthorHenry Fielding
language CountryEngland
api GenreBildungsromans, Humorous stories, Historical fictionPicaresque Novel
copyright CopyrightPublic domain worldwide.
camera_alt Book cover-
book_online EbooksProject Gutenberg
description ScansGoogle-digitized
headphones AudioLibrivox | Internet Archive
Reader: Collaborative
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auto_stories Read onlineThe History of Tom Jones, a Foundling I, II, III