Joseph Andrews - (1742)

Joseph Andrews - (1742)

by Henry Fielding

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Overview

English Literature boasts three comic worthies - three great creations that will live for ever. Pickwick and Falstaff are better known, but Parson Adams, who bestrides Joseph Andrews like a colossus, is of the same company, the favourite of every reader who encounters him in these picaresque pages. He lives, and so do all the rest of the wonderful characters, for seldom was a novel so rich in incident and all round excellence. Says George Saintsbury: 'The hero and heroine are surprisingly human where most writers would have made them sticks. And the rest require no allowance. Lady Booby, few as are the strokes given to her, is not much less alive than Lady Bellaston. Mr. Trulliber, monster and not at all delicate monster as he is, is also a man, and when he lays it down that no one even in his own house shall drink when he "Caaled Vurst," one can but pay his maker the tribute of that silent shudder of admiration which hails the addition of one more everlasting entity to the world of thought and fancy. And Mr. Tow-wouse is real and Mrs Tow-wouse is more real still, and Betty is real and the coachman, and Miss Grave-airs and all the wonderful crew from first to last.'

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781406791808
Publisher: Pomona Press
Publication date: 01/01/2006
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

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Joseph Andrews 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
mbmackay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Written in 1742, this book is remarkably modern. Beautifully exaggerated caricatures of key players and Mrs Slipsop as a later Mrs Malaprop. Written as a send-up of Pamela, it still works long after the target has been forgotten. Read April 2009.
dougwood57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Second only to Voltaire's Candide: Or Optimism (Penguin Classics), Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews is the funniest, most intelligent, satirical commentary I've ever read. Actually, let's get rid of the qualifiers, Joseph Andrews is one of the two funniest books I've ever read. (I first read it in college and it introduced me to the idea that important old books could also be highly entertaining, interesting, and illuminating.)The book was first published in 1742 under the title "The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews, and of His Friend Mr. Abraham Adams" to some controversy. Fielding did not hesitate to poke merciless fun at just about everything 'respectable': religion, the law, lords and ladies, and sexual mores. Fielding attacked the moral hypocrisy of Joseph Richardson's popular Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded (Oxford World's Classics). (Fielding also wrote a short work, Shamela, that was a direct response to Pamela. Shamela is often sold together with Joseph Andrews See e.g., Joseph Andrews and Shamela (Penguin Classics).) Pamela created a huge literary controversy; Shamela and Joseph Andrews were just two of many mocking responses, although few others survive (see, e.g. Anti-Pamela and Shamela).Joseph (who is Pamela's brother!) is a genial but naïve rustic and a footman in the service of Lady Booby (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). When Joseph rejects her very direct and bawdy advances, Lady Booby sends him packing. Joseph then begins walking home from London to the country to seek out (and marry) Fanny Goodwill, his lifelong sweetheart. Along the way he meets his hometown friend the amiable and forgetful Parson Abraham Adams. Parson Adams is on his way to London to sell his sermons for publication. When Adams discovers he has forgotten to pack said sermons, he and Joseph decide to travel home together. The trip is the departure point for many adventures and mishaps that expose the society's hypocrisy and inequities. Along the way, the reader meets many colorful characters whose pretensions often land them in dire circumstances - furnishing much hilarity to us.Fielding purported to aim at nothing less the invention of a new literary form, the "comic epic-poem in prose". He says in his Preface, "it may not be improper to premise a few words concerning this kind of writing, which I do not remember to have seen hitherto attempted in our language." Fielding, however, was also known to write 'serio-comic', ironic introductions to his works, so some caution is in order. Nonetheless, the Preface accurately describes his "comic epic-poem in prose" as "differing from comedy, as the serious epic from tragedy: its action being more extended and comprehensive; containing a much larger circle of incidents, and introducing a greater variety of characters. It differs from the serious romance in its fable and action, in this: that as in the one these are grave and solemn, so in the other they are light and ridiculous; it differs in its characters, by introducing persons of inferiour rank, and consequently of inferiour manners, whereas the grave romance sets the highest before us; lastly in its sentiments and diction; by preserving the ludicrous instead of the sublime."Absolutely the highest possible recommendation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago