An Abstract on “Joseph Andrews” The full title of Henry Fielding’s first novel is The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews, and of his friend Mr. Abraham Adams and it was published in 1742, two years after Richardson’s Pamela. It partly in the fact that Fielding’s financial circumstances were not too comfortable—he chose to write a novel for material gain. At the same time, it was also prompted by a desire to present a new point of view on the art of writing a novel. Fielding’s views differed radically from Richardson’s. and Joseph Andrews was, in a way, a consequence of Richardson’s Pamela. Elements of parody in “Joseph Andrews” Some critics have categorically declared that Joseph Andrews began as a parody of Pamela, and that Fielding later abandoned the idea of parody because it held no further possibilities, Such a view is prompted by the fact that, in the first ten chapters of Joseph Andrews, we have rather clear and unmistakable parallels to Pamela, rendered in a ridiculous light. The hero, Joseph, is supposed to be a brother of Pamela. He is a servant in the household of Lady Booby whom Fielding makes an aunt of Richardson’s Squire B. Lady Booby makes an attempt on Joseph’s “virtue” in the best traditions of Richardson’s SquireB. Parody subsumed in Fielding’s larger purpose After the first ten chapters elements of parody disappear, though they reappear in the last chapters of the novel with the entrance of Pamela herself and her newly acquired wealthy and gentle husband. It would not be quite correct to say that Fielding began with parody but soon quite forgot himself in the world he had created. Nor would it do to say that Fielding abandoned parody; because he realized that he had exhausted its potential. “Joseph Andrews” a comic epic in prose Fielding claimed that he was writing a new type of literature—“a comic epic in prose”. The preface to Joseph Andrews is significant in that it endeavours to expound a theory of the novel. According to Fielding, the new type of novel would combine the state and serious purpose of the epic with the realism and humor of come writing, Burlesque, he categorically states, would enter the style and not the characters or purpose. Fielding’s theory of the “Ridiculous” : related to his moral vision The purpose behind Joseph Andrews was not primarily parody, but an exposition of Fielding’s own concept of morality. A “comic epic in prose” would give him the necessary means to expose human folly to ridicule. Fielding considers that the true source of the ridiculous was affectation, which in turn sprang from hypocrisy or vanity. If he ridiculed Pamela, it was not because he was amused by virtue, but because he found her smugness hypocritical. “Joseph Andrews” : picaresque elements and parody of romantic plots Joseph Andrews, says Fielding in a subtitle, is written in imitation of the manner of Cervantes the author of Don Quixote. Indeed, after the initial ten chapters, the hero along with Parson Adams, is cast onto the roads of English to encounter a series of misadventures before they reach their destination.
The p: caresque mode helps Fielding in the development of his comic theory------ that of ridiculing the affectations of human beings. It is natural that a large section of the society and a variety of people can be met on the long journey from London to the countryside. “Joseph Andrews” is successful in spite of its loose structure: its genial comic tone Though admittedly loose in structure, Joseph Andrews is unified by theme. All its incidents and characters project the theme of discrepancy between appearance and reality, affectation and truth, hypocrisy and inherent goodness. Fielding makes good use of his ability ( learnt to some extent from Cervantes) of exploring the relation between the privately good and the publicly ridiculous, Great comic characters One of the main attractions of Joseph Andrews is its characterization. As one critic declares, the novel “lives by virtue of the extraordinary vitality of its characters and the picture it gives of the manners of early eighteenth century England.” The comic approach precluded a profound psychological probing into an individual character’s mind, for such presentation might lead to an identification with the character--- undesirable in a comic writer who demands ‘attachment for the better appreciation of the ridiculous aspects of humanity. Mock-heroic style used to advantage The comic tone of the novel is enhanced by the mock-heroic style, for Fielding admitted burlesque in the diction. It achieves the necessary abject in comic writing of separating the author from his characters. It is instrumental in heightening the ridiculous nature of situation and affectations. Conclusion Joseph Andrews, then, cannot be dismissed as “ an epic of the highway full of adventures, horseplay and not too decent fun.” It certainly displays these attributes but the novel embodies much more than is evident in the statement . To endorse such a statement would mean ignoring the healthy and realistic moral vision of Fielding which project itself all through the novel. It would exclude a consideration of the genial comic tone, the humorous satire and ironic style which mark the work, and above all, it ignores the remarkably alive comic figures which people the pages of the novel. Joseph Andrews is a “comic-moral novel” in which Fielding gives a sense of the colour .Its a model novel.