Henry Fielding (1707-54) turned to novel writing when his outspoken satirical play so annoyed Walpole's Government that a new Licensing Act was introduced to drive him from the stage. He began with Shamela (1741), a brilliant parody of Samuel Richardson's Pamela, in which a virtuous servant girl long resists her master's advances and is eventually 'rewarded' with marriage. Fielding's far more spirited and sexually honest heroine, by contrast, merely uses coyness and mock modesty as techniques to catch a rich husband. Joseph Andrews (1742), Fielding's first full length novel, can also be seen as a response to Richardson, as the lascivious Lady Booby sets out to seduce her comically chaste servant Joseph (himself in love with the much-put-upon Fanny Goodwill). As in Tom Jones, Fielding takes a huge cast of characters out on the road and exposes them to many colourful and often hilarious adventures. Yet at the heart of the book is Parson Abraham Adams, a man often duped and humiliated by those more crafty that he, but still a model of Christian charity, learned, generous, friendly, and brave.
Kissing, Joseph, is but a Prologue to a Play. Can I believe a young Fellow of your Age and Complexion will be content with Kissing?
Joseph Andrews, Henry Fieldings first full-length novel, depicts the many colourful and often hilarious adventures of a comically chaste servant. After being sacked for spurning the lascivious Lady Booby, Joseph takes to the road, accompanied by his beloved Fanny Goodwill, a much-put-upon foundling girl, and Parson Adams, a man often duped and humiliated, but still a model of Christian charity. In the boisterous short tale Shamela, a brilliant parody of Richardsons Pamela, the spirited and sexually honest heroine uses coyness and mock modesty to catch herself a rich husband. Together these works anticipate Fieldings great comic epic Tom Jones, with their amiable good humour and pointed social satire.
Judith Hawleys introduction compares the works of Fielding and Richardson, and discusses sex and class relations, and the literary and political world of the time. This volume also includes a chronology and suggestions for further reading.
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Henry Fielding (1707 - 54) started his career as a playwright until his outspoken satirical plays so annoyed Walpole's Government that a new Licensing Act was introduced to drive him from the stage. He turned to writing various 'comic epics in prose', including SHAMELA (1741), JOSEPH ANDREWS (1742) and TOM JONES (1749). A master innovator, he is credited with creating the first modern novels in English.
Judith Hawley is a lecturer in English at Royal Holloway, University of London.
"Hawley's introduction is a model of what such a thing should be (for an undergraduate audience): full of information, but not too pushy. She manages to touch on a truly remarkable number of important bases in just a few pagesan impressive accomplishment. The notes are good, too. This is the best edition out there for college students." Douglas Patey, Sophia Smith Professor of English, Smith College
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