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Joseph Andrews: And, Shamela (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 25 Mar 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (25 Mar. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140433864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140433869
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"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 pages--an 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

About the Author

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Madam, It will be naturally expected, that when I write the Life of Shamela, I should dedicate it to some young Lady, whose Wit and Beauty might be the proper Subject of a Comparison with the Heroine of my Piece. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 18 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
Written in 1742, seven years before Fielding's better known Tom Jones, Joseph Andrews is a good-natured and rambling prequel which shares many of the qualities of the later book. Initially inspired by Richardson's Pamela, who is the sister to Fielding's eponymous hero, the novel takes off on a Cervantean picaresque road adventure full of mock-epic heroics and bawdy humour, but with a solid moral core.

Unlike the later Tom Jones, Joseph is chaste and, it must be said, little more than a cipher, but his love for Fanny, which drives some of the plotting, is charming in a pastoral way. The centre of the book really belongs to Parson Adams, an innocent abroad, ever-forgetful, shocked by the immorality of the world - and our guiding compass.

Overall Fielding is an optimistic writer, and even his castigation of human nature is witty rather than disgusted, though some of the villains in the book deserve their punishments. Putting Joseph Andrews back into its social context of political ferment and ethical considerations reveals it as a text with a more serious aim than the easy, comic tone might initially suggest.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jean on 19 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The pages were badly discoloured and a page fell out when i opened it. It was a xmas present for my daughter-in-law but i can't give it to her in that state. Had better books from charity shops.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By richard on 2 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
Received as described
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Joseph Andrews and Shamela 8 April 2000
By Chris Dunsmore - Published on
Format: Paperback
Romping good fun and sharply satirical. Fielding has none of the puritanical prejudices of his contemporary and rival Samuel Richardson.Rather he gives a graphic, humourous and insightful glimpse of eighteenth century rural shannanigans. Both stories are to some extent a response to Richardson's goodie goodie novel Pamela or Virtue Rewarded, Shamela in fact so much so- mimicking then epistulatory narrative and burlesquing the characters and style of the original novel- that you'll miss most of the jokes unless you've read Richardson first. Jospeh Andrews is far more substantial and rewarding containing the full range both of Fielding's humour and social concerns. Vividly presenting the self-serving cynicism of English society his particular speciality lies in puncturing pomposity by comically abrupt opposistions between what his characters preach and practise. Detached, sarcastic and well-read Fielding somehow manages to mix slapstick with Homer, blend eupheimism with innuendo and mangle anyone that he has a grudge against. A novel of the road- if you liked this, you'll love Tom Jones.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Joseph Andrews--Like Kerouac--Goes On The Road 17 Aug. 2006
By Martin Asiner - Published on
Format: Paperback
When readers come to JOSEPH ANDREWS--at least outside of a class on the 18th century novel, they usually have heard that this novel by Henry Fielding is funny, sort of an early Keruoac's On The Road. And while it is funny--a closer analogy might be to Hope and Crosby's On the Road films--its less obvious humor lies in its sharp satire, an understanding of which requires a bit of understanding how to place this book in its proper historical and cultural milieu.

To begin with, Fielding wrote JOSEPH ANDREWS when novel writing was still very nearly a brand new genre. The only models he had were from classical antiquity and a few more recent innovators like Swift and Samuel Richardson. Fielding felt that his efforts were so new that he had to justify them, which he did in the often overlooked and unread "Preface" to the book. Reading this preface sheds some much needed light on the genesis of his novel. Fielding notes here that he wrote JOSEPH ANDREWS according to what he saw as the models first used by the classic ancient poetry writers. They wrote mostly poems and epic poems. What Fielding was writing was a genre unknown to them: prose fiction. Fielding thus tries to draw an analogy between what he was writing and what these ancients had written: "Now, a comic romance is a comic epic-poem in prose." Since Fielding clearly saw JOSEPH ANDREWS as a comic romance, it made sense to him that he should follow the strict unities of time and place that the ancients followed in their epic poems. But one often overlooked irony is that this stern self-reminder from his own preface he then abandoned wildly, often, and at the drop of a hat. Thus, for his contemporary audience who had more than a passing acquaintance with classical training, Fielding gets his JOSEPH ANDREWS off with a satirical bang.

The book's plot itself defies explanation. It involves lost heirs, children stolen at birth, secret birthmarks, beatings that somehow leave no bruises: and all these occur fairly early on. The events are so convoluted and over the top that it is difficult to read them or remember them in their listed sequence. Yet, Fielding had good reason to believe that these wildly unbelievable events were precisely what his audiences wanted, since both Swift and Pope were still living and their respective satires much read and appreciated. Fielding chose to write on the book's title page that JOSEPH ANDREWS was "written in imitation of the manner of Cervantes, author of Don Quixote." With that subtle hint, Fielding feels free to allow his hero to go off tilting at every object in his path but windmills. This tilting results in the kind of slapstick humor that most readers mean when they talk about how "funny" the book is. Yet, Fielding knew that humor could and should have a more serious aspect, which he saw as sober satire. For him, as for Swift, satire meant holding society up to a crooked mirror--sort of the kind that one sees at fun houses--and exposing by crooked exaggeration the misdeeds of that society. This concept of sober satire is hinted at in the person of Parson Adams, who also figures prominently right there on the title page with that little note about Cervantes. Parson Adams is Don Quixote reborn. He does ridiculous things for which the reader rightfully laughs at for that. Yet, Parson Adams has a more reflective side too. Though he is betrayed, he forgives. Though he is injured, he holds on to his innocence. And though he is hurt, he laughs. Compare his actions to the half dozen other parsons and what emerges is that these other parsons are licentuous, venal, and downright corrupt. Fielding was concerned with the same worry of every writer from Chaucer to himself: what can the ordinary man hope for when his supposed exemplars of virtue--the clergy--are unvirtuous? Well, in the satirical world of JOSEPH ANDREWS there was a little bit of an otherwise evil world that was evil free. When Fielding's readers laughed at the foibles of Andrews and Adams, their laughter was tempered by the realization that their funny universe was only a hairsbreath away from one was that tragic too.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
One of the funniest books I've ever read! 3 Jan. 2007
By silversurf - Published on
Format: Paperback
This fast-paced comic novel was written as a parody of another 18th century classic, the immensely popular Pamela. Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, was a best selling novel by Fielding's comtemporary, Samuel Richardson. (Please see my other reviews for more about this). Although the language and social customs have changed in the 200 plus years since this book was written, there is enough universality to the comedy that modern readers won't mind missing a few of the jokes.

Although having read Pamela first will help you get some of the inside humor, Joseph Andrews can be read on its own as well. Fielding uses Richardson's more serious morality tale as a jumping-off point for a pretended sequel, in which Pamela has a brother who encounters many of the same situations as his more famous sister. While Pamela was pursued by an amorous and unscrupulous landowner, Joseph is chased by lecherous females who can't believe that he is serious about saving himself for marriage to his childhood sweetheart. The humor comes from the gender reversal, and from Fielding's no-holds-barred spoof of the manners (and lack thereof) of the fashionable upper classes. Joseph is a clear-headed, intelligent young man of the servant class, whose social superiors just can't stop being ridiculous at every opportunity. I won't go into plot details-they are mostly of the standard farce variety anyway. But the scenes and dialog are often so hilarious that it doesn't matter what the pretext is, you just have to suspend all critical judgement and laugh.

P.S. Shamela is included in this edition. It's a shorter spoof of Pamela, written as a bawdy series of letters in which the supposedly chaste and innocent heroine reveals her darker side. Not on a par with Joseph Andrews, but still pretty funny.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great Classic Humorous Novel 29 Nov. 2005
By Dennis Mitton - Published on
Format: Paperback
My sense of humor might be a bit off from the norm (my kids' opinion) so you may not find this mid-eighteenth century novel as funny as I do. I think it's just about the funniest book I've ever read. Not only is it funny but Fielding points a sharply satirical finger at just about everyone living in England at the time. One of the things that I love about the older books is their insight into history: though it's an obvious satire (much like the work of Cervantes) there's so much history here. Yet you see yourself and your neighbors here as well. We're still surrounded by people who are petty, pompous, flirtatious, morose - what have you - while we remain paragons of virtue. In a sense this is Joseph's problem: he's a good kid trying to make it in a crazy world (still a modern story). He's simple and kind and believes others around him to be the same. He's continually amazed when they prove otherwise. Really a good book.
A delight 19 Jan. 2012
By K.M. Weiland, Author of Historical and Speculative Fiction - Published on
Format: Paperback
A smart, good-hearted story that is a delight to read even centuries later. Fielding knew what he was doing, which I find slightly astonishing in that he was essentially inventing the novel form as he went. Characters are well drawn and engaging, dialogue is snappy and realistic, and the pacing is a tour de force despite the necessarily episodic nature of the plot. Three and a half stars.
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