‘Kissing, Joseph, is but a Prologue to a Play. Can I believe a young Fellow of your Age and Complexion will be content with Kissing?’
Joseph Andrews, Henry Fielding’s first full-length novel, depicts the many colourful and often hilarious adventures of a comically chaste servant. After being sacked for spurning the lascivious Lady Booby, Joseph takes to the road, accompanied by his beloved Fanny Goodwill, a much-put-upon foundling girl, and Parson Adams, a man often duped and humiliated, but still a model of Christian charity. In the boisterous short tale Shamela, a brilliant parody of Richardson’s Pamela, the spirited and sexually honest heroine uses coyness and mock modesty to catch herself a rich husband. Together these works anticipate Fielding’s great comic epic Tom Jones, with their amiable good humour and pointed social satire.
Judith Hawley’s introduction compares the works of Fielding and Richardson, and discusses sex and class relations, and the literary and political world of the time. This volume also includes a chronology and suggestions for further reading.