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The History Of Tom Jones, A Foundling
by Henry Fielding
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Tom Jones isn't a bad guy, but boys just want to have fun. Nearly two and a half centuries after its publication, the adventures of the rambunctious and randy Tom Jones still makes for great reading. I'm not in the habit of using words like bawdy or rollicking, but if you look them up in the dictionary, you should see a picture of this book.
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up-A full caste dramatization brings to life this romp through 18th century England.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Second only to the language of Shakespeare, the English language of the eighteenth century possesses delightful sonorities, lusty vigor and incredible expressive power--qualities to which Fielding adds rich characterization, intriguing plot twists, delicious bawdiness and satiric humor. In an unaffected Midlands accent, John Sessions gives us a rich, virile, fully voiced interpretation that the author himself would chuckle through. So expressive is he that all the antiquated turns of phrase sound as contemporary as this morning. Moreover, he has fun with the text, giving his imagination full sway, especially in his delivery of dialogue, without ever letting it clash or overwhelm the material. Even this reviewer, who has read the book, seen the film, watched the recent TV serialization, and auditioned two other audiobook versions, found this abridgment fresh and delightful. Y.R. An AUDIOFILE Earphones Award winner (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
Audiofile, Oct/Nov. 1998
Winner of the Earphones Award. Second only to the language of Shakespeare, the English language of the eighteenth century possesses delightful sonorities, lusty vigor and incredible expressive powerqualities to which Fielding adds rich characterization, intriguing plot twists, delicious bawdiness and satiric humor. In an unaffected Midlands accent, John Sessions gives us a rich, virile, fully voiced interpretation that the author himself would chuckle through. So expressive is he that all the antiquated turns of phrase sound as contemporary as this morning. Moreover, he has fun with the text, giving his imagination full sway, especially in his delivery of dialogue, without ever letting it clash or overwhelm the material. Even this reviewer, who has read the book, seen the film, watch the recent TV serialization, and auditioned two other audiobook versions, found this abridgment fresh and delightful [brought to you by HighBridge Audio].
One of the great comic novels in the English language, Tom Jones was an instant success when it was published in 1749: Ten thousand copies were sold in its first year. A foundling, Tom is discovered one evening by the benevolent Squire Allworthy and his sister Bridget and brought up as a son in their household until it is time for him to set out in search of both his fortune and his true identity.
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 fiction to display legitimate sides of human virtue and vice. "Upon my word, I think Tom Jones is one of the most perfect plots ever planned," said Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Now, Tom Jones has been brought to television in a magnificent new co-production from A&E Network and BBC television. Max Beesley stars as Tom, with Samantha Morton (who appeared in A&E's Emma and Jane Eyre) as Sophia. The cast also includes Benjamin Whitrow, Brian Blessed, Frances De La Tour, and John Sessions. Tom Jones is directed by Metin Huseyin, produced by Suzan Harrison, with a screenplay by Simon Burke.
The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hard-bound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau-gurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
(in full The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling) Comic novel by Henry Fielding, published in 1749. Tom Jones, like its predecessor, Joseph Andrews, is constructed around a romance plot. Squire Allworthy suspects that the infant whom he adopts and names Tom Jones is the illegitimate child of his servant Jenny Jones. When Tom is a young man, he falls in love with Sophia Western, his beautiful and virtuous neighbor. In the end his true identity is revealed and he wins Sophia's hand, but numerous obstacles have to be overcome, and in the course of the action the various sets of characters pursue each other from one part of the country to another, giving Fielding an opportunity to paint an incomparably vivid picture of England in the mid-18th century.
From the Publisher
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 trim. 1 facs. Map. LC 83-10633
Inside Flap Copy
Often considered the first, and one of the greatest, of all English novels and here presented in an exclusive BBC recording, Tom Jones is an unforgettable listening experience. Bawdy, witty, sharply observant of society and human nature, it's a romp through eighteenth-century England with one of the most companionable and delightful fictional characters ever created.
Fielding chronicles the picaresque adventures of Tom, an illegitimate foundling who, despite a generous heart, has a naive inability to resist a pretty face and is banished from the Squire's house. But when the girl he really loves, Sophia, runs away to escape her arranged marriage to his rival, the despicable Blifil, Tom pursues her to London, embarking on a series of riotous and frequently amorous adventures involving a wonderfully engaging gallery of characters.
His travels take us into a rich and often immoral society, filled with amorous encounters, narrow escapes, and colorful, larger-than-life characters who offer a realistic, if often satirical, look at the bustling England of the times. Not so much a rake's progress as the exploits of an innocent abroad, Tom Jones is a splendidly funny and often touching odyssey in which good ultimately triumphs over the corruption of the human spirit.
This lavish production, originally conceived for BBC broadcast and produced by the world's foremost creators of radio entertainment, combines a full cast of more than 30 actors with stirring originally composed music and sound effects to bring Henry Fielding's novel to vivid life.
From the Back Cover
When London shook in 1750, some blamed Fielding's scandalous story of a lovable moral reprobate, Tom Jones. In this paramount picaresque novel, Tom Jones blunders past the backdrop of the Jacobite rebellion, encountering corruption, passion and incest. He waits for his hidden virtue to be rewarded in the form of his marvelous Sophia; but the greatest triumph is of Fielding's matchless style.
About the Author
Fredson Bowers was a professor of literature at the University of Virginia for more than forty years and a preeminent textual critic.
Martin C. Battestin is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English at the University of Virginia and a leading scholar on Henry Fielding. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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