Tom Jones* is rightly regarded as Henry Fielding's greatest work, and one of the first and most influential of English novels. 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.
Amorous, high-spirited, and filled with what Fielding called the glorious lust of doing good, (but with a tendency toward dissolution), Tom Jones is one of the first characters in English fiction whose human virtues and vices are realistically depicted.
Published in the mid-18th century, it is a classic English novel that captures the spirit of its age and whose famous characters—Squire Western, Chaplain Thwackum, the scheming Blifil, seductive Molly Seagrim and Sophia, Tom's true love—have come to represent British society in all its turbulent, comic variety.
HENRY FIELDING (1707-1754) was an English novelist and dramatist known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess. His masterworks include the novels Tom Jones, The Life and Death of Jonathan Wild the Great, and An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews.
*Tom Jones is number 5 on The Guardian’s list of greatest novels of all time.