A foundling of mysterious parentage brought up by Mr Allworthy on his country estate, Tom Jones is deeply in love with the seemingly unattainable Sophia Western, the beautiful daughter of the neighbouring squire - though he sometimes succumbs to the charms of the local girls. But when his amorous escapades earn the disapproval of his benefactor, Tom is banished to make his own fortune. Sophia, meanwhile, is determined to avoid an arranged marriage to Allworthy's scheming nephew and escapes from her rambunctious father to follow Tom to London.
Henry Fielding's vivid Hogarthian panorama of eighteenth-century life is spiced with danger and intrigue, bawdy exuberance and good-natured authorial interjections.
The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
Henry Fielding (1707-1754) started his career as a playwright until his outspoken satirical plays so annoyed Walpole's government that a new Licensing Act was introduced to drive him from the stage. He turned to writing various 'comic epics in prose', including Joseph Andrews and Shamela. A master innovator, he is credited with creating the first modern novels in English. He was also a magistrate and co-founder of the Bow Street Runners, London's first professional police force.
Joseph Andrews is also published in the Penguin English Library.
Edith Grossman's definitive English translation of the Spanish masterpiece, in an expanded P.S. edition
Widely regarded as one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the adventures of the self-created knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. You haven't experienced Don Quixote in English until you've read this masterful translation.
This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
Now seen as one of the great English comic novels, ‘Tristram Shandy’ caused a stir on publication in polite 18th-century English society. The novel broke with conventions of form and structure, foreshadowing postmodern authors by 200 years, and scandalized with bawdy descriptions and rambling prose. Hugely influenced by Francis Bacon, Rabelais and Jonathan Swift, clergyman Lawrence Sterne manages to both eloquently champion the literary and scientific views of the day, and to satirize those same idols in the next outrageous breath.
The questionable ‘hero’ and narrator of the novel, the eponymous Tristram Shandy, attempts to tell the reader his life story, but as he digresses ever further on everything from sexual practices, the importance of a name, obstetrics, linguistics, weaponry and philosophy, the reader quickly learns that the path won’t be a linear one, and gets wrapped up in the author’s exuberance and wit – as Tristram’s ill-fated conception and birth don’t even enter the story until Volume III. Encompassing a humorously memorable cast of misfits, including his eccentric father Walter, obsessive Uncle Toby, accident-prone mother Susannah, pastor Yorick, and a gaggle of other characters, Tristram Shandy’s restless energy and modern-seeming wit explain why Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Schopenhauer, Michael Winterbottom, and Michael Nyman count among its numerous fans.