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Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones – delicious as a peach


Albert Finney in Tom Jones
Image: Woodfall / The Kobal Collection

The New York Sun reports that the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade theater will show 14 British films in a retrospective series called "Leading the Charge: Woodfall Film Productions and the Revolution in '60's British Cinema."

One of these films is Tom Jones, directed by Tony Richardson. The photo conveys the energy of the movie and Richardson's documentary technique. (And also how gorgeous a man could look in 18th century British dress.)

The film is based on Henry Fielding’s 1749 sunny tour de force. Fielding says he wrote Tom Jones so that “virtue becomes, as it were, an object of sight, and strikes us with an idea of that loveliness which Plato asserts there is in her naked charms.” Wonderfully, Fielding pulls this off. Goodness glows through the book's wit, romance, psychological insights, and adventurous mishaps.

As delicious as a peach, Tom Jones includes chapters on the craft of writing. These are matters which may "surprize the reader". They are the peach's stone, which planted grew into the fruitful tree of the English novel.