05 October 2015

Review: The History of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

Happy Monday, humans! Take a look at my review of Series 4 of the 1960s audio spy drama Counter Measures (or, if you're my editor, Counter-Measures) over at Unreality SF.

Trade paperback, 911 pages
Published 1968 (originally 1749)
Acquired October 2008
Read September 2015
The History of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

I read tons of nineteenth-century novels these days, and have pretty much totally adapted to their style of storytelling. Apparently that does not extend back to the eighteenth century, because I found this allegedly humorous book tedious in the extreme. It just goes on and on and on but nothing ever seems to actually happen. If someone told you what happened in this book, you would laugh, but actually reading it, you do not. Maybe this makes me a Philistine, but if so, then I'm a Philistine who loves Adam Bede, and I'm content with that.

There are two things I did like: Fielding's chapter titles ("Containing curious, but not unprecedented Matter", "A little Chapter, in which is contained a little Incident", "Short and sweet") and Fielding's prologues to each of the eighteen books, where he lays out his theories on critics, drama, comedy, and even prologues (that one was, of course, my favorite).

The endnotes of my Penguin English Library edition (apparently back in the 1960s, "Penguin Classics" were only works in translation, i.e., actual classics, so this series contained their editions of English literature) would have been much more useful if they'd been marked in text.

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