Jospeh Andrews as Comic Epic in Prose

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Joseph Andrews
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the novel. For the former Liberal Member of Parliament, see Joseph Andrews (politician). Joseph Andrews

Author(s)Henry Fielding

Original titleThe History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and His Friend, Mr. Abraham Adams CountryBritain


Publication date1742
Media typeprint
Preceded byShamela, or An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews(1741)

Followed byThe Life and Death of Johnathan Wild, the Great (1743)

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 indeed among the first novels in the English language. Published in 1742 and defined by Fielding as a ‘comic epic poem in prose’, it is the story of a good-natured footman's adventures on the road home from London with his friend and mentor, the absent-minded parson Abraham Adams. The novel represents the coming together of the two competing aesthetics of eighteenth-century literature: the mock-heroic and neoclassical (and, by extension, aristocratic) approach ofAugustans such as Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift; and the popular, domestic prose fiction of novelists such as Daniel Defoe and Samuel Richardson. The novel draws on a variety of inspirations. Written "in imitation of the manner of Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote" (see title page on right), the work owes much of its humour to the techniques developed by Cervantes, and its subject-matter to the seemingly loose arrangement of events,digressions and lower-class characters to the genre of writing known as picaresque. In deference to the literary tastes and recurring tropes of the period, it relies on bawdy humour, an impendingmarriage and a mystery surrounding unknown parentage, but conversely is rich in philosophicaldigressions, classical erudition and social purpose....
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