1700s - Georgian Era

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The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling (1749)

Henry Fielding 

Summary: The story covers the adventures of the foundling Tom Jones, raised by a worthy country squire and the hurdles he must overcome to win his love, Sophia.

I've always stayed away from this book for some reason, perhaps because it is always described as "bawdy", and I worried it would be too vulgar for my delicate tastes. However I found it to be absolutely charming and extremely witty, with parts that made me laugh out loud. There's not much to offend someone of today in what would cause a young lady to blush in the 18th century, so I had no need to worry. There is a sort of dry humour that is also compassionate of human foibles in Fielding's writings that is very appealing. This will probably turn out over time to be one of my favorite books.

Interestingly, Fielding was also involved in many significant social and economic developments such as the founding of the Bow Street Runners, London's first police force.