If Samuel Richardson wrote about how the good should behave, Henry Fielding wrote about how the good do, in fact, behave.
Fielding knew that no one is perfect, that even those with the best intentions stumble, that a person may do wrong by following what they think is right and that one person’s misfortune is another’s gain.
Tom Jones is a book for all ages because it a book which takes humanity as it is as its model, describing our many imperfections as readily as our momentary perfections.
Bold, bawdy and boisterous in one moment, wise, subtle and endearing in the next, Tom Jones, by way of its many excellences, defies classification and critique.
I foolishly put off reading Tom Jones because I believed it was difficult to read. I was wrong. Tom Jones is accessible, true to life, funny, exciting, relevant, extraordinarily wise and really is a book we should all one day read. I advise that you make ‘one day’ today.
I loved this book.
There is a set of religious, or rather moral, writings which teach that virtue is the certain road to happiness, and vice to misery in this world. A very wholesome and comfortable doctrine, and to which we have but one objection, namely, that it is not true.
From Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.