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.
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.
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 trim. 1 facs. Map. LC 83-10633
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