The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, often known just as Tom Jones, is a comic novel by the English playwright and novelist Henry Fielding. The novel is both a Bildungsroman and a picaresque novel. First published on 28 February 1749 in London, Tom Jones is among the earliest English prose works describable as a novel, and is the earliest novel mentioned by W. Somerset Maugham in his 1948 book "Great Novelists and Their Novels" among the ten best novels of the world. Totaling 346,747 words, it is divided into 18 smaller books, each preceded by a discursive chapter, often on topics totally unrelated to the book itself. It is dedicated to George Lyttleton. This edition has been formatted for your reader, with an active table of contents. The work has also been annotated, with additional information about the book and Henry Fielding, including an overview, plot introduction, themes, plot summaries, characters, adaptations, biographical and bibliographical information.