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Tom Jones (Oxford World's Classics)
 
 

Tom Jones (Oxford World's Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Henry Fielding , Simon Stern , John Bender
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Tom Jones is rightly regarded as Fielding's greatest work, and one of the first and most influential of English novels. Attacked at the time as `A motley history of bastardism, fornication, and adultery', it overflows with a marvellous assortment of prudes, whores, libertines, bumpkins, misanthropes, hypocrites, scoundrels, virgins, and all too fallible humanitarians.

This carefully modernized edition is based on Fielding's emended fourth edition text and offers the most thorough notes, maps, and bibliography. The introduction uses the latest scholarship to examine how Tom Jones exemplifies the role of the novel in the emerging eighteenth-century public sphere. - ;Fielding's comic masterpiece of 1749 was immediately attacked as `A motley history of bastardism, fornication, and adultery'. Indeed, his populous novel overflows with a marvellous assortment of prudes, whores, libertines, bumpkins, misanthropes, hypocrites, scoundrels, virgins, and all too fallible humanitarians. At the centre of one of the most ingenious plots in English fiction stands a hero whose actions were, in 1749, as shocking as they are funny today. Expelled from Mr
Allworthy's country estate for his wild temper and sexual conquests, the good-hearted foundling Tom Jones loses his money, joins the army, and pursues his beloved across Britain to London, where he becomes a kept lover and confronts the possibility of incest. Tom Jones is rightly regarded as Fielding's
greatest work, and one of the first and most influential of English novels.

This carefully modernized edition is based on Fielding's emended fourth edition text and offers the most thorough notes, maps, and bibliography. The introduction uses the latest scholarship to examine how Tom Jones exemplifies the role of the novel in the emerging eighteenth-century public sphere. -

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2405 KB
  • Print Length: 963 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0199536996
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, UK (18 Jun 1998)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005RBUBHO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #226,392 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a good yoga brick 2 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback
I've seen a lot of people telling writers to build a platform. I disagree. What they should be building is a personality.

Writing experts drone on about an author's voice. They're not wrong. But your voice is just a means to express your personality.

Misled by writers of genius like T.S. Eliot and Flaubert, some authorities stress revision. They force you to focus on smoothness of style. They want you to rewrite everything until your personality completely disappears.

That's okay if you have been writing 1,000 words a day every day for years and want to hone your technique. But first you have to discover what is in you. You have to learn how to be yourself, to cast off artifice and be completely natural.
That is very hard.

If you're not sure what a personality looks like when it's poured into a novel, you could read Tom Jones. Even if it doesn't make you a better writer, it will make you a better person.

Moral education should always be like this: ribald, riotous and fun. It's huge but it's masterly, it hits all the right spots, it teases, stimulates and satisfies. After you've reached the climax you'll want it all over again.

In case you hadn't guessed, I love it. Henry Fielding wasn't handsome but he had a big personality. This book is his platform and when you've finished reading it, it makes a good yoga brick.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great early comic novel 10 Sep 2010
By Roman Clodia TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In Tom Jones, Fielding hangs a huge and rambling tale on the life and travels of a foundling. Often cited alongside Richardson's Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded (Oxford World's Classics) as the first great novels of English literature (however innacurate that label might be), this works very differently stylistically.

Fielding breaks the cardinal rule of novel-writing ("show, don't tell") and pulls it off magisterially. Tom is a lad with a good heart but that doesn't stop him falling into all manner of bawdy situations with a combination of gusto and innocence. As a precursor to Dickens, Fielding manages to cram in a whole social panorama, and controls his story precisely.

A great C18th classic that's also a very easy, immensely good-natured, and very funny read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Kindle book. 25 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I chose it because I had just acquired a Kindle and it was a classic which I had
never read. Found it amusing and well written despite the fact that he was
extremely long winded when discussing philosophical topics.
Made my laugh out loud.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly fun read 20 Dec 2010
By Tim Lieder - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There are a great deal of very big books that aren't worth the effort. Actually there are a great deal of short books that aren't worth the effort. This book is not only huge, it's also a very slow read. The first few hundred pages alone are a bit of a slog as Fielding feels the need to explain every single attitude and scandal that went into the creation of Tom Jones - adopted son of the rather obviously named Allworthy.

HOwever, the slowness becomes a virtue as you want to live in Fielding's world after a time. Tom Jones is in love with Sophia, the neighboring squire's daughter and since he's the bastard son of a vanished serving girl he doesn't have a chance. So in true double standard, he charms and seduces women throughout the countryside, all the while trying to get with Sophia who is fleeing from an arranged marriage with Jones' adopted cousin.

There is a lot to recommend about this book but one of the most interesting ones is the relative standards of morality. Fielding takes a very modern view of morality in that the priests and the philosophers and the openly virtuous characters are hypocrites and creeps, whereas the randy and seducing Tom Jones is held up as the moral paradigm due to his sweet nature and ability to go out of his way for a friend or comrade. This would prove to be a controversial standard in Fielding's time and one wonders what the Victorians would have made of it, but in this era when we are almost certain that the examplars of morality (be they preachers or radical vegetarians) are actually truly horrible people (Falwell's sermons, Morrissey's animal-rights motivated racism, Catholic priest molesters,etc.) this book is almost too appropriate in speaking to our notions of decency and morality. Even though this book has an Allworthy who is truly an epitome of morality, most of the other moral characters are jerks. The anglican priest is a toady and the philsopher is an atheist moralist with just as much of a hypocritical view of the world (until he's revealed to be sleeping with a minor character and then he gets over himself and stops being such a creep).

All in all, this is a fine slow book that is truly worth the effort and the time. Call it the English equivalent of Don Quixote or the anti-The Da Vinci Code (which is a short book that isn't worth the hour or two it takes to read)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The book itself is five stars! 21 Sep 2013
By Barbara Vaughan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a review of the Oxford Classic Kindle edition.

The book itself is one of the greatest novels ever written; this is maybe the third time I've read it. Fielding is a master of irony, by which I mean genuine irony, not the mean sarcasm that often passes for irony these days. Fielding is never mean-spirited. His irony is generous and his humor is benevolent. His characters are three-dimensional, never all good or all bad. Before reading this, I had been re-reading several Dickens novels, and the contrast is enormous. A Dickens villain is a villain to the core, and his heroes (and especially his heroines) are saints. Tom instead is a young man with many faults, but a great heart. Sophia, his beloved, is a genuinely good person, but she's got a certain fiery spirit, and has her moments of doubt and remorse.

I advise you to read every word of this novel. It's divided into books, and the first chapter of each book is an address to the reader, expounding Fielding's theories on literature and on human nature. An impatient reader might be tempted to skip these, but that would mean missing a lot of worthwhile and enjoyable reading.

I have some quibbles with the Kindle edition. There were some mistakes in the passage from print to pixels, but they were not excessive. The biggest problem is that the excellent notes often have a reference to another note, with the page number, e.g., a note might be only "See note on page 85." As the book proceeds, more and more of the notes are references to earlier notes. However, there is never a link to these earlier notes, and when reading a Kindle, finding the note on page 85 is not an easy matter. Other than that, the Kindle edition is a pleasure to read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bawdy, witty and wise..A Wonderous Sprawl. 10 Mar 2014
By Laurence R. Bachmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Henry Fielding's Tom Jones is an absolute delight, and a bit of a miracle. It is a chock-a-block history, romance, philosophic muse and satire poured into the fledgling genre we call the novel. Fielding is thankfully unlike a few of his more off-putting contemporaries-- the rather dour Daniel Dafoe or the priggish Samuel Richardson. His story is bursting with folk both virtuous and vile; saintly and slimy. And yes it is a very big book. But complaining about Tom Jones' length is like saying the Grand Canyon is too big. Size is one of the things that makes both Grand.

One of my first observations was the unrestrained nature of fiction before the Victorians got their hands on it. Unwed mothers, adulterers of both sexes, attempted rapists, kidnappers, hypocrites and robbers abound. Firecrackers that keep the plot popping colorfully along. Equally apparent is how generous and uncritical Fielding is of human failing--this is no tongue-clucking, finger-wagging scold who is too good for the sorry lot we call humanity. Indeed, rogues and scoundrels are punished lightly, if at all. And while Fielding always distinguishes the bad from the good, he fully expects mankind to spend more time with the former than the latter.

Above all, Tom Jones is great fun. Tom, Sophia, Mr. Western, Squire Allworthy, Partridge, Lady Belaston, Blifil, Thwackum and Square: a gloriously motley crew, gamboling across hundreds of pages. I lost count of the number of times I laughed out loud at some observation or characterization. In the end I found myself wanting more, not less of this very, very, very big book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always Already 17 Nov 2013
By VMDoland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Tom Jones" has always been a favorite of mine. In fact, there was even a chapter on it in my dissertation. When I reread it again for my 18th century Satire class, I have been enjoying it all over again. It is, as always, a masterfully put together work, but I have fallen in love again with the author's wit and common sense.
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtue, vice, and the whole damn thing 5 Feb 2014
By Paul Vitols - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This romantic farce holds the mirror up to human nature, and in the maelstrom of passion, folly, vice, and also virtue, we see that while manners have changed (a little) since 1749, the animal who adopts them has not.

I might never have read this book if it were not for the Britannica Great Books of the Western World series, a whole set of which I acquired in 2010 from a lady farmer in Minnesota. The 54-volume set contains just eight novels (the other seven are Gargantua and Pantagruel, Don Quixote, Gulliver’s Travels, Tristram Shandy, Moby-Dick, War and Peace, and The Brothers Karamazov), so it’s intriguing to think of how the editors of the series selected them.

The editors refer to the Great Books as the Great Conversation, and as the best conversation is about ideas, the novels in the set are novels of ideas. Tom Jones is divided into 18 books, the first chapter of each of these being a short humorous essay on some aspect of the work; in book 1, chapter 1, page 1, Fielding, likening himself to a restaurateur, posts his bill of fare, and it is a single dish: Human Nature. While acknowledging that other authors set out to offer the same thing, Fielding asserts that it’s all about how the meal is cooked and presented. And for this reader, as for the editors of the Britannica Great Books, he has here shown himself to be a master chef.

The book is long and composed of a complex interweaving of incidents, but in brief, it’s the story of how a bastard baby boy is discovered right in the very bed of an upright country gentleman named Mr. Allworthy, and how this Mr. Allworthy, a childless widower, decides to raise the boy as his own. The boy, who comes to be named Tom Jones, is raised as a gentleman, and grows to be a handsome, passionate, and exceptionally good-natured young man. He comes to love a beautiful and similarly good-natured girl named Sophia, daughter of the squire of a neighboring estate, but Tom’s status as a bastard precludes marriage with a woman of such quality. That’s a pity, for Sophia herself falls passionately in love with Tom.

Through the machinations of a step-cousin named Blifil, who is concerned about how much of Mr. Allworthy’s estate Tom is destined to receive, Mr. Allworthy is turned against Tom, so much so that he ejects and disinherits poor Tom, who must now make his own way in the world. Indeed, due to the dishonesty and opportunism of the people around him, including some whom Tom has done great favors for, Tom is stripped of the few resources he has, and his reputation with his family is completely and falsely blackened. With barely the shirt on his back and a few coins in his pocket he must seek his fortune.

A series of adventures ensues with a diverse array of colorful, well-observed characters, many of whom recur in surprising and unpredictable contexts. The story is an intricate clockwork of improbable coincidences, with Tom’s heart remaining devoted to Sophia, even as his good looks and passionate nature bring other women into his path who find him much too good to pass up. Sophia, meanwhile, is under siege by her own family to marry Blifil, whom she detests.

The action eventually converges on London, where, among fashionable society, people are even more hypocritical and cynical.

I was continually surprised by the behavior of characters in this book. The dominant human traits that I perceived were selfishness, fickleness, and opportunism. Mixed in with these, though, were generosity, love, and honor. The narrator takes pains at several points to caution the reader not to judge people too harshly, which is an excellent tip, and not just for reading his novel. It got me thinking about my own behavior, my own motives. How selfish am I? How fickle? How opportunistic? I think about a great scene in the TV adaptation of Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet, in which Major Merrick yells at an effeminate sergeant who is nonetheless battle decorated: “So which is it? Are you a hero, or a goddamned pansy?” The sergeant replies, “Quite honestly, major, I think that’s a question we don’t want to be asking ourselves.” Well, I found that Tom Jones got me asking myself questions.

Fielding’s narrator is arch, ironic, and does not hesitate to patronize the reader outright. He attacks literary critics repeatedly and mercilessly. And yet he also shows a becoming if ironic humility, and I get the feeling that his capacity for love was great. Fielding is explicit that he modeled Sophia after his own late wife Charlotte, and the biographical note at the beginning of the volume states that Fielding’s friends remarked on the intensity of his grief when Charlotte died after 10 years of marriage. I can’t help but feel that this novel is in some way a love-letter to her, and that the honorable, lion-hearted bastard Tom Jones was Fielding as he wished he could have been for her sake.
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