Tom Jones is widely regarded as one of the first and most influential novels. It is certainly one of the funniest. The eponymous hero ? ?an accomplished blackguard?, wrote Lord Byron, in recognition of his literary counterpart ? is discovered as a baby in the bed of the kindly Mr. Allworthy, an enlightened Somerset squire. This good man adopts Tom, giving him the surname of his supposed mother, a former housemaid. Tom grows up to be a generous-hearted and handsome young man whose chief weakness is his partiality to young women. In spite of other local dalliances, tom?s true love is the divine Sophia ? Allworthy is refined. However, Western intends Sophia for Blifil, Allworthy?s Nephew and heir, and Blifil, a treacherous young prig, succeeds in achieving Tom?s disgrace and banishment.