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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rambling, funny and good-natured C18th tale
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...
Published on 22 April 2011 by Roman Clodia

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts
I love to be lost in long books. But this book took all the patience I had. HF has all the hallmarks of a great writer and for that I stuck at it. The story as it stood would better told in half the pages. His constant preambles had to be skipped after a while, he unfortunately feels the constant need to expunge his vast knowledge on all subjects which became very off...
Published 5 months ago by mark m


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rambling, funny and good-natured C18th tale, 22 April 2011
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 18 Aug 2011
Rather than go into a long analysis of the story, characters and style of writing, I'll just say that this has always been on of my favourite novels, and to be able to get a free copy for my Kindle was a very pleasant surprise.

I'm very pleased to see that so much great literature from around the world is available on the Kindle at no charge, and hope this will encourage people to read more.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Surely a man may speak truth with a smiling countenance!", 23 July 2006
By 
M. Witcombe "Slazey" (Southampton) - See all my reviews
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'Tom Jones' is one of those lucky few- a book whose length is comparable in extent to its reader's enjoyment. 'Tom Jones' is a wonderfully dark, elaborately comic and utterly compelling account of the experiences of a young man as he pursues love, honour and fortune across 18th-Century England. Unlike many other novels and plays regarded as 'comic classics', Tom Jones is also genuinely funny. Seriously.

'Tom Jones' is enjoyable in and of itself- the characters and adventures are accessible, entertaining and varied. Despite this, one of the most interesting aspects of the novel is the introductory chapters to the novel's 18 'books'- short, usually amusing essays concerning theoretical aspects involved in the book. If you're pushed for time, you can skip them- but, much like the comic acts in certain Shakespeare plays, some of the best moments in the novel are contained in what can appear unneccessary literary 'padding'.

So don't be put off by its length, its age, its love for diversions and its complicated web of human relationships; Tom Jones is simply a fantastic read. Particularly for anyone acquainted with the historical environment the novel was written in, Tom Jones can be read as a satire on the hypocrisy of notions of honour; the scathing attack on those who marry for fortune rather than love has a peculiarly appealing modern resonance.

In the end, what's most revealing about Tom Jones is not how far the novel as a form has developed, but how little societal trends change over time. Fielding's world is one in which treachery and deceit are frequently the motives for acts of apparent benevolence, a world as hilarious as it is dangerous. If you've got a couple of weeks to spare, and a patient disposition, you could do a lot worse than to give 'Tom Jones' a try- for this price, you'd have to have a pretty good excuse not to!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Godfather of the novel, 7 Sep 2009
This review is from: Tom Jones (Paperback)
It is odd to think that among Henry Fielding's original motives for selecting the novel as his chosen literary form was his outrage at what he saw as deficiencies in the work of his contemporary, Samuel Richardson. Richardson's `Pamela' was a popularly received work of fiction telling the story of a poor, humble and crucially, chaste, young woman sent to work in the house of a wealthy, arrogant, highly libidinous man. His attempts to rid her of her maidenhoodd and her attempts to defend it account for the action of the entire book. Ultimately, Pamela's determination prevails and she is rewarded by becoming her master's wife. Fielding took issue with the idea that Pamela's virtue was effectively portrayed as a commodity which could ultimately be bought and also with the tedious minutiae of Richardson's work as attempt after attempt on Pamela's virginity are described in achingly dull detail.

He wrote two scathing parodies of Richardson's work before attempting an entirely original work of his own in Tom Jones. The plot of this huge novel is fundamentally little more than a simple love-story which takes its protagonists meandering around southern England and finally to London where everything is finally resolved, via two or three last minute unexpected twists. It has been acclaimed as one of the first great English novels and justifiably so. Whilst the characters are largely fairly one-dimensional they are nonetheless skilfully drawn and highly engaging, particularly the eponymous Tom who's infectious joie de vivre and apparently unquenchable libido render him both extremely entertaining and highly likeable. His struggle to do the right thing and ultimately prove himself worthy of Sophia provides the novel's central dramatic tension and very much endears him to the reader.

And yet there is much more to the novel than just this simple story. Fielding enjoyed satire and took a keen interest in contemporary politics and society. Each book of the novel begins with a chapter in which Fielding directly addresses the reader, usually to mock or berate fellow authors or the likes of literary critics and journalists. There are many other occasions throughout the novel where Fielding breaks the 'fourth wall' and speaks directly to his reader. He clearly had some fun with the concept of the omniscient narrator who controls the universe he creates. Often he pretends to be entirely ignorant of events and pieces of information, at other times he claims to know every specific thought in each character's head and other times again he slowly reveals the truth of a situation, expertly building up the tension as he does so, as in the dramatic revelation of Tom's real parenthood. In reality of course, all authors do all these things and Fielding, in this very early novel, simply cleverly and playfully exposes them.

Dramatically the strongest sections of the book are the early chapters in Somerset which set the scene and introduce the characters, gently mocking unrefined country attitudes and behaviours in the process and the latter chapters in London which bring matters dramatically to a conclusion, wonderfully satirising the arrogance and hypocrisy of city life as they do so. The middle sections, which are truly episodic in nature as Tom journeys from one town to another encountering a whole range of people and stories, sag a little by comparison and perhaps meander too far from the central characters and plot.

There is no question that some readers will find this book hard -going. It is very long by modern standards and the mid-18th century language takes a considerable amount of getting used to. However, it is well worth persevering. Fielding is always witty and his willingness and ability to entertainingly describe his protagonist's sexual liaisons set him apart from many of his contemporaries and indeed from most of the huge body of 19th Century literature which was to follow. If you are interested in the history of the novel as a literary format and, perhaps more importantly, if you enjoy an entertaining, racy, well-told story, then this book is definitely for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourites, 24 Jan 2007
By 
E. Burden - See all my reviews
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This book is fantastic, a great, long, indulgent read which carries you on a journey around eighteenth century England. Tom Jones, a good-hearted, though misunderstood and spirited foundling is cast out of the home of Squire Allworthy and left to fend for himself in the world. At the same time, his childhood sweetheart runs away from home in order to avoid a marriage to Mr Blifil, Tom's childhood companion and Squire Allworthy's nephew. The story charts the two young people's journey around the country, with plenty of moments of near meetings and reconciliations. Coincidences aplenty and Henry Fielding's dry wit make this novel both satisfying and tremendously funny. Perhaps not for the easily offended since it's pretty bawdy! (In the eighteenth century it was blamed for causing earthquakes in London and Dr Johnson was 'ashamed' to hear that a friend had read it)! Certainly different to most eighteenth century writers, Fielding has produced his masterpiece in Tom Jones. Enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good-natured and rambling C18th tale, 10 Sep 2010
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 18 Oct 2007
By 
Didier (Ghent, Belgium) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tom Jones (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
"Tom Jones" is deservedly a classic in English literature. The book is sheer fun, bursting with hilarious scenes, and Tom himself is such an extremely likeable character you cannot help but sympathize with him. It's a feast from beginning to end, not least because of the beautiful language, and the incredible story-telling talent Fielding displays here for all of us to enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Piece, 21 Jun 2013
By 
Nom de Plume "Nom" (Accrington, England) - See all my reviews
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One of the most significant works of English Lit well presented. It does take patience to read the book, as it is not written in modern prose, but it is certainly easy to understand. A major satire.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb humour and wit, 6 Jun 2013
By 
A. G. Lockhart (Northants, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tom Jones (Kindle Edition)
TOM JONES
by Henry Fielding

Published in the 1740s, `Tom Jones' is one of the first works of fiction to be properly called a novel. It has a classic plot: boy meets girl; boy falls in love with girl; they are separated; boy gets up to all sorts of trouble; they are reunited. Thus `Tom Jones' may be considered as a prototype for the many thousands of similarly-plotted novels that have followed during the two and a half centuries since it first appeared.
Sure, it's a love story, but it's also a comedy and quite a bawdy one at that, though the bawdiness is somewhat disguised by the euphemistic language of its day. It is not an easy book to read. But persevere and come to terms with the eighteenth century vocabulary and idiom, and it is real fun.
We first meet Tom as an infant whom a wealthy gentleman, Squire Allworthy, finds in his bed when he returns from a business trip. So who exactly is Tom Jones? Who has put him in the squire's bed and why? Many clues and red herrings are dropped throughout the story but it is only at the very end that we discover the whole truth.
Allworthy, a character who is perhaps a bit too good to be true, adopts Tom and brings him up as his own son. Tom's behaviour as a youth often tests the squire's patience and, to put it mildly, the patience of just about everyone in the neighbourhood. He forms a romantic attachment with the lovely Sophia Western, daughter of a near neighbour. Squire Western, who is b.t.w. a loudmouthed sot, though one of Fielding's most endearing characters, loves his daughter (he says). Yet, when she shows signs of reciprocating Jones's attentions, he forbids her to have anything to do with a `bastard'.
Eventually, Jones is set up by Allworthy's scheming and spiteful nephew, Blifil, and the squire casts him out to make his own way in the world. Sophia, whom Western has tried to confine to her room, runs away to stay with a relative in London.
Even half way through the novel, we know that Tom and Sophia are going to find one another in the end. However, the action takes a very convoluted path towards that goal, involving both characters in adventures and coincidences that are mostly comic and occasionally farcical. Never truly far apart - their paths even cross a couple of times before the end - their stories are quite different as befit a hero and heroine of different birth and social class (as we are led to believe).
Most of Tom's involve country inns, wenches, bedrooms, closets and mistaken identities. He takes a while to get to London but once there he makes good use of his good looks and personality by selling himself to a lady of fashion, with whom it just happens that Sophia is staying!
Squire Western eventually catches up with his daughter and locks her up in her room, while Tom, victim of another conspiracy, is arrested for murder.
Of course, he is saved from the gallows at the last moment, is found to be really Squire Allworthy's nephew, and is reconciled with his uncle. He is reunited with Sophia and all ends happily.
Fielding, a classical scholar, peppers his narrative with Latin tags, which would be annoying in a modern novel, but he tells his tale with such superb good humour and wit that they are easily ignored.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse of the times., 26 Feb 2013
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Although Fielding has a tendency to ramble I admit that I have a special place in my heart for this book. It gives an insight of the times in which Fielding lived, and the fact that Dr Johnstone disliked the book only commends it the more.
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Tom Jones (Oxford World's Classics)
Tom Jones (Oxford World's Classics) by Henry Fielding (Paperback - 18 Jun 1998)
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