The History of Tom Jones, by FIELDING, Henry (1707-1754).

FIELDING, Henry (1707-1754).

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. Abridged from the Works of Henry Fielding, Esq. London, E. Newbery, 1784.

First Elizabeth Newbery edition. 16mo (116 x 70 mm), engraved frontispiece signed ‘J. Lodge sculp.’ and pp. [vi], 194, [13] advertisements, with five extra engraved plates, some browning in text, in the original Dutch floral boards, the spine partly chipped away but the central section holding, the last leaf of advertisements used as final pastedown.

A delightful illustrated juvenile edition of Fielding’s Tom Jones published by Elizabeth Newbery. This abridged text was first published by Francis Newbery in 1769 and then in 1771. This is the first edition under Elizabeth’s name; another followed in 1795. This is an excellent example of the middle ground of children’s literature, where juvenile fiction intersects with and borrows from mainstream literature. Charmingly illustrated with six copper-engraved plates by John Lodge, this edition has very much the feel of a book: it is chunky, but it fits easily into a pocket, and, crucially, is bound in Dutch floral boards, the trademark binding of younger juveniles. The final section of bookseller’s advertisements also bridges the gap. Addressed first ‘to Parents, Guardians, and Governesses’, it lists 23 titles for children (of which this is no. 19), ‘published for the advantage of the rising Generation’. Following this is given a shorter list of books ‘in plain or elegant bindings’, for the more sophisticated reader, including such works as The Complete Eglish Farmer, Franklin’s Experiments and Observations on Electricity, a couple of editions of Shakespeare and A New and Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences.
The Newbery editions of Tom Jones are all scarce: ESTC lists the 1769 edition (n66415) at Toronto and the National Library of Wales; the 1771 edition (n17172) at Morgan only; 1778 edition (not in ESTC, OCLC lists Yale and Princeton); this apparently first edition under the Elizabeth Newbery imprint (see below) and the 1795 Elizabeth Newbery edition (n493395) at Bodleian only.

ESTC n2592, at Bodleian, UCLA and Morgan (2 copies) only; OCLC adds Leiden.

Roscoe J132 (2); not in the Osborne catalogue.

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