Joseph Andrews Study Guide

Joseph Andrews Study Guide

Original title:
The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and his Friend, Mr. Abraham Abrams

Joseph Andrews is called an epic poem and is often compared to Don Quixote by Cervantes. But, unlike Cervantes’ work, the humor in this poem is much more kind and light, though still portraying the people from their best and worst sides simultaneously. This poem was a satire, a sincere comedy and a protest against the moral and technical limitations of literature of Fielding’s time. This also was a brilliant parody to his rival Richardson, he mocked over and over with his earlier works such as Shamela (as a parody to Richardson’s Pamela that Fielding found incredibly hypocritical).

The story of Joseph Andrews is quite simple and classical: he is a young servant of a rich couple, where the husband soon dies and Lady Booby - the widow - becomes overly obsessed with Joseph. He loses his job and tries to get back from London to his village and his fiancée. This journey is explicitly described in the poem of epic length, with all the details some of which the readers would be more than willing to omit.

The adventures of Joseph and his fellow pastor are funny and thrilling at the same time. Despite light-hearted portrayal, they meet some very serious challenges like getting back home without any money, avoid being robbed on the road and save Joseph’s fiancée from the advances of a local rich landlord.

The hilarious mishaps that the party meets on their way and the comical and almost cartoonish villain of the story - scorned Lady Booby, who tries to spoil the marriage of Joseph and his beloved Fanny - create the atmosphere of the comedies by Shakespeare. We are laughing at the characters’ misfortunes, we are almost certain that everything will end well, but still we are intrigued until the very end of the poem. Surely, it was soon adapted for stage play and then for movies, letting us fully experience the unique humor of this story.

New Essays

James Boswell

Notice that the final punctuation comes within the quotation marks that emphasize "lifelike," not outside. Periods and commas are formatted in this way; formatting around question marks and exclamation points depends on whether the point is part of the original quotation. The following does not...

Joseph Andrews Quotes with Page Number

“It is a trite but true observation, that examples work more forcibly on the mind than precepts.” — — “Adams dealt him so sound a Compliment over his Face with his Fist, that the Blood immediately gushed out of his Nose in a Stream. The Host being unwilling to be outdone in Courtesy, especially by...

Joseph Andrews as a Picaresque Novel

Joseph Andrews as a Picaresque Novel Joseph Andrews as a Picaresque Novel Joseph Andrews, or The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and of his Friend Mr. Abraham Adams, was the first published full-length novel of the English author and magistrate Henry Fielding and among the first novels...

Hypocrisy and Vanity in Joseph Andrews

?In his novel, Joseph Andrews, Henry Fielding uses various type characters to create a satire on the vices of men, finding that, “The only source of the true Ridiculous…is affectation,” which “proceeds from one of these two causes, vanity or hypocrisy…” (Fielding 10). These two chief vices reveal...

See all essays