The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

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The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling  (1749) 
by Henry Fielding

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (often known simply as Tom Jones) is a comic novel first published in 1749. Tom Jones is considered one of the first prose works describable as a novel. The novel is divided into 18 smaller books.

Tom Jones is a foundling discovered on the property of a very kind, wealthy landowner, Squire Allworthy. Tom grows into a vigorous and lusty, yet honest and kind-hearted, youth. He develops affection for his neighbor's daughter, Sophia Western. On one hand, their love reflects the romantic comedy genre popular in 18th century England. However, Tom's status as a bastard causes Sophia's father and Allworthy to oppose their love; this criticism of class friction in society acted as a biting social commentary. The inclusion of prostitution and sexual promiscuity in the plot was also original for its time, and also acted as the foundation for criticism of the book's "lowness."

Excerpted from The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling.

In Six Volumes.

By Henry Fielding, Esq;

Mores hominum multorum vidit.


  • Dedication
  • Book I — Containing As Much Of The Birth Of The Foundling As Is Necessary Or Proper To Acquaint The Reader With In The Beginning Of This History
  • Book II — Containing Scenes Of Matrimonial Felicity In Different Degrees Of Life; And Various Other Transactions During The First Two Years After The Marriage Between Captain Blifil And Miss Bridget Allworthy
  • Book III — Containing The Most Memorable Transactions Which Passed In The Family Of Mr. Allworthy, From The Time When Tommy Jones Arrived At The Age Of Fourteen, Till He Attained The Age Of Nineteen. In This Book The Reader May Pick Up Some Hints Concerning The Education Of Children
  • Book IV — Containing The Time Of A Year
  • Book V — Containing A Portion Of Time Somewhat Longer Than Half A Year
  • Book VI — Containing About Three Weeks
  • Book VII — Containing Three Days
  • Book VIII — Containing About Two Days
  • Book IX — Containing Twelve Hours
  • Book X — In Which The History Goes Forward About Twelve Hours
  • Book XI — Containing About Three Days
  • Book XII — Containing The Same Individual Time With The Former
  • Book XIII — Containing The Space Of Twelve Days
  • Book XIV — Containing Two Days
  • Book XV — In Which The History Advances About Two Days
  • Book XVI — Containing The Space Of Five Days
  • Book XVII — Containing Three Days
  • Book XVIII — Containing About Six Days

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.