In January 1749, three years after the surreptitious publication of The Female Husband, what would be known as Henry Fielding’s masterpiece filled the shelves of Andrew Millar’s bookshop in the Strand in London. 1 If sales numbers are a good indication of popularity, the 10,000 copies of Tom Jones that were printed and sold over the course of a year say much about the warm reception that this novel met at the time. 2 Its full title, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, is also highly revealing about Fielding’s ambition of respectability and playfully suggestive of a literary heritage he aimed to subvert. As has been explored at length, by titling it a “history”—and providing his own theory of history within the work itself—he aimed to elevate his endeavour as a writer and to increase the cultural capital of his novel, something he made explicit in his famous prefatory chapters. 3 The appositive “a Foundling” connects the story of Tom ironically with the world of romance, a genre on which Fielding draws while taking pains to disassociate from it even more emphatically than he did in Joseph Andrews and Jonathan Wild. 4