The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
Cruikshank, George. Hard Cover. London: James Cochrane and Co., 1831. Near Fine.
Two volumes. Illustrated by George Cruikshank. First edition thus [first edition 1749]. Finely bound in three-quarter tan calf and tan cloth by Bayntun, with five raised bands to the spine, contrasting black and green title labels to the spine, lettered and decorated in gilt, top edge gilt, pale beige marbled endpapers. Near fine, with some light soiling to the boards, otherwise fresh bindings, light toning and faint spotting to the illustrated plates, Vol. I with a faded ownership inscription to the title page, otherwise bright and clean pages. A fresh set in a fine binding. First published in 1749, Tom Jones is widely considered both one of the best comic novels in English history and Fielding's masterpiece. Specifically, it tells the story of Tom Jones, an orphan born out of wedlock who is subsequently raised by the respectable Squire Allworthy. Notably, Tom's sexual promiscuity and strident behavior caused scandal among the novel's readers, but, nonetheless, Tom Jones quickly became an acclaimed novel, largely due to the effectiveness with which Fielding captured mid-18th century English society.