The History of Tom Jones: A Foundling
Introduction and Notes by Doreen Roberts, Rutherford College, University of Kent at Canterbury.
Tom Jones is widely regarded as one of the first and most influential English novels. It is certainly the funniest. Tom Jones, the hero of the book, is introduced to the reader as the ward of a liberal Somerset squire. Tom is a generous but slightly wild and feckless country boy with a weakness for young women.
Misfortune, followed by many spirited adventures as he travels to London to seek his fortune, teach him a sort of wisdom to go with his essential good-heartedness.
This 'comic, epic poem in prose' will make the modern reader laugh as much as it did his forbears. Its biting satire finds an echo in today's society, for as Doris Lessing recently remarked 'This country becomes every day more like the eighteenth century, full of thieves and adventurers, rogues and a robust, unhypocritical savagery side-by-side with people lecturing others on morality'.
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rv The readers neck brought into danger by a description
vil Containing such grave matter that the reader cannot laugh
Containing many rules and some examples concerning
Which concludes the first book with an instance of ingratitude
Too short to need a preface
in What happened to Sophia during her confinement
vt In which Mrs Miller pays a visit to Sophia
tv Containing two letters in very different styles
Continuation of the history
A further continuation
xt The history draws nearer to a conclusion
THE LAST In which the history is concluded
NOTES TO THE TEXT
In which the history is obliged to look back