Joseph Andrews, first published in 1742, is in part a parody of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela. But whereas Richardson’s novel is marked by the virtues of female chastity and the triumph of steadfast morality, Fielding’s Joseph Andrews is peopled with lascivious women, thieves, hypocrites, and general fools. As we follow the characters in their travels, what unfolds is a lively panoramic satire of mid-Georgian England.
“Paul Scanlon’s edition of Fielding’s first novel—and the first comic novel in English—amounts to a complete kit: a student-friendly text (with capitals and italics normalized), brief and illuminating footnotes, a comprehensive, lucid Introduction, a seven-page Bibliography, and a 113-page treasure-house of appendices containing generous samples of Richardson’s Pamela and Fielding’s Shamela, excerpts from Fielding’s comic models (such as the Maritornes passage from Don Quixote) and from Fielding’s other writings (including essay-chapters from Tom Jones), and fascinating sections on the novel’s publication history, contemporary responses to it, and “A Social History of the Times” dealing with dress, eating and drinking habits, servants, stagecoaches and inns, laws and courts, education, and the like. This edition is a model of useful scholarship.” — Bruce Stovel, University Of Alberta
“This edition of Joseph Andrews is an excellent introduction to Fielding as well as a fine edition of his first novel. … The substantial extracts from Shamela and Fielding’s other writings are supported by an invaluable section on social history and by passages from influential contemporaries.” — Jim Mclaverty, Keele University