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Joseph Andrews (English Library) Mass Market Paperback – 30 Jun 1977

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; Reprint edition (30 Jun. 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140431144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140431148
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.8 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,529,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This edition is a model of useful scholarship." -- Bruce Stovel, University Of Alberta --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Paul A. Scanlon, Professor and Head of the Department of English at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, has written on Renaissance and eighteenth-century literature. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Jan. 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an incredible book about real friendship,chastity and honesty written in the most humorous fashion.Fielding brings out the true values of friendship beteween Parson Adams and Joseph and true love between the latter and Funny.He points out the sad but true "false" nature of the upper class and brings out questions about real life.I like this book because it encourages chastity and esteems honesty.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
An incredible book on real friendship ,chastity and honesty 14 Jan. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an incredible book about real friendship,chastity and honesty written in the most humorous fashion.Fielding brings out the true values of friendship beteween Parson Adams and Joseph and true love between the latter and Funny.He points out the sad but true "false" nature of the upper class and brings out questions about real life.I like this book because it encourages chastity and esteems honesty.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
wonderful read.. 7 July 2005
By Jennifer Giangrande - Published on
Format: Paperback
The prize of this novel is the ability of the author to actually poke fun at his own readers...Fielding encourages us to stop, take a break at each short chapter; at some points he even laments that certain passages aren't worth reading, and just skipping over them would lose nothing in the reader's understanding of the content. This of course, works for us in that it makes us more prone to envelop ourselves in every chapter, following the always clumsy journey and comic circumstance of Parson Adams and Joseph Andrews. The journey from country to city is a prevalent theme in the novel, and through these distinctions, we are able to pinpoint the nuanced comedy Fielding finds in living in his own time period. To understand this you must put yourself inside of the 18th century, and more helpful would be to read the novel that this book is a parody of, "Pamela". Fielding challenges the notions of love and chastity in his time in a hysterical way; that is, if you can follow the winding text and dated grammar..

..But what a great book. Really.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Most Intelligent and Hilarious Satire of Social Hypocrisy - Ever 4 Oct. 2009
By Douglas S. Wood - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
On Hypocrisy and Vanity 7 Mar. 2012
By B. VanPelt - Published on
Format: Paperback
Henry Fielding has written a very funny novel that attacks the hypocrisy and vanity of the times (around 1740's London). Just about every character in the novel suffers from one or both of these traits. The barbs the author throws at these characters are often hilarious. His writing style is a treasure, and his sentence structure is overloaded (lots of commas, semicolons, dashes, etc. in his sentences). Furthermore, the author quite readily goes off on very long tangents.

For example, the main characters Joseph Andrews, his friend Parson Adams, and Joseph's love Fanny, happen upon the home of a very noble gentleman. The book then goes and liberally describes the history of this man they met - which really has nothing to do with the novel (at least at the time it occurs). Now that I think about it, this wasn't an unnecessary tangent, as it has meaning at the very end of the novel.

Nonetheless, there are many instances in the novel where the main character happen upon someone, or someplace, and all of the sudden we are fully thrust into this direction that takes us away from the simple journey of these characters. This stream of consciousness is seen in the later novels of Thomas Pynchon - and this is important to me as Pynchon is one of my favorite authors. As I read the novel, I really felt a strong presence of Pynchon's novel "Mason and Dixon".

Now, Fielding writes in a very fluent, and complex dialogue which I found a little easier to read in a flowing way than I felt with Pynchon. His flowery wording perfectly describes scenes, people, and attitudes, and the laughs are much funnier with his writing style than if told straight up.

Everyone is exposed as a hypocrite or quite vain, except for Joseph Andrews himself. It's evident that the author uses him as a paradigm for how to behave in this world. Parson Adams comes a close second, but even he suffers from some of the things he preaches against. Fanny doesn't really do much but look pretty and serves primarily as Joseph's love interest - although I believe the author indicates that she is very virtuous.

The primary plot of the novel involves a journey by Joseph and Parson Adams, and the adventures they get into along the way. Near the end of the novel, it shifts focus to some elderly ladies who fancy Joseph to the degree that they lose all sense of propriety in trying to have him. Additionally, the supposed gentlemen of their relation desire to have Fanny. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say the author is indicating that the only people who are good enough for either Fanny or Joseph are Joseph and Fanny, as they seem to be the only ones lacking in either vanity or hypocrisy. Additionally, each of those two hold onto their virginity, waiting for their impending marriage (which is not a sure thing as the novel shows).

The ending of the novel allows for what the author promises at the beginning of the novel, and that is in the realm of the ridiculous. This part of the novel - I don't want to say much - had to be the inspiration for some of our situational comedies of today.

Please read this novel, if for no other reason, because it can be screamingly funny in parts - I laughed out loud in several places.

As a last note, the themes addressed by Fielding are very relevant today, so this novel has a certain timelessness to it - but just know that it does occur in the 1740's, so there will be some things common to that time which are unusual to someone not acquainted with London in that time period. But the writing is so good and easy to understand, that I don't think it will be much of a problem.
A fun read and enoyable book 3 April 2008
By John Martin - Published on
Format: Paperback
Henry Fielding wrote one of the great comic novels in Tom Jones. Joseph Andrews is similar in nature but falls far short of Fielding's, masterpiece. The book starts out well enough. A handsome, viral young man of low birth (Andrews) is placed in the family of Lord and Lady Booby. The mistress takes a fancy to Andrews and makes him her footman. Lord Booby dies and the lady tries to force her affections on poor Joseph. Being virtuous, as well as attractive to the opposite sex, he refuses her advances and is promptly dismissed. Joseph then sets out to London to meet his true love, Fanny, and along the way joins up with his mentor, Parson Adams, a kind of Don Quixote character complete with a stumbling horse. Before too long Fanny joins the retinue. A good start.

But Fielding gets into trouble because he can't seem to make up his mind as to who his protagonist is. As Joseph begins his journey he is set upon by a group of robbers, beaten, and left naked in a ditch. A coach comes by and the passengers debate whether or not to save him. At last, persuaded that if they did not try they might be liable to be sued for his death they agree to take him up. But a "lady" riding inside the coach refuses to allow a naked man to be placed beside her. There then ensues a debate over who will give their coat to cover Joseph. This depiction is both humorous and a telling commentary of British values in the first half of the eighteenth century. But Andrews it seems is too staid and pure to be the target of the kind low slapstick comedy that Fielding has in mind, thus much of the remainder of the book focuses on the adventures and foibles of the good parson. Joseph is reduced to the role of defender of Fanny and the parson from various assaults on their person and character.

Fielding also goes off on tangents such as the story of Leonora, Mr. Wilson's life history and the tale told by the parson's son toward the end of the book. Fielding's intent is to display some aspects of the social mores of the times, but these asides distract from the flow of the story. At the end of the book Mr. Wilson's history does, in fact, come to play an important part in the story, but the others are mere sidebars to the action. One interesting diversion does occur when Fielding, as an author talking directly to the reader, interjects into the story to provide a rationale for why books are divided into chapters.

Finally, after a series of humorous and often outrageous adventures Joseph, Fanny and Parson Adams return home and face a new series of problems when Lady Booby re-enters the picture and continues her pursuit of Joseph. At his point other characters including Joseph's sister, Pamela and her husband, Mr. Booby (Lady Booby's nephew), a pedlar, an obsequious character, Beau Didapper who lusts after Fanny, the elder Mr. and Mrs. Andrews and finally Mr. and Mrs. Wilson add to the complications. This section of the book is filled with rollicking humor (including a wonderful scene where Parson Adams mistakes Mrs. Slipslop for a man and battles with her in bed and then wanders into Fanny's bed where he is discovered by Joseph), mystery, and problematic situations (including the possibility that Joseph and Fanny are really brother and sister!), until after a tortuous series of events all ends well with even Lady Booby finding love, or at least lust.

I give the book four stars because it really is not on a par with the great comic novels. But it is a fun and enjoyable read. Joseph Andrews is a humorous book and Fielding provides a look at the foibles and character of various English types in his era. The book is well worth reading even though it falls short of the great pieces of satire and humorous literature.
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