Joseph Andrews

Joseph Andrews

Joseph Andrews

“The authentic History with which I now present the public, is an Instance of the great Good that Book is likely to do and of the Prevalence of Example which I have just observed: since it will appear that it was by keeping the excellent Pattern of this Sister’s Virtues before his Eyes, that Mr. Joseph Andrews was chiefly enabled to preserve his Purity in the midst of such great Temptations”

~Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews


The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and of his friend Mr. Abraham Adams by Henry Fielding was one of the first full-length novels to be published in England. Written by Henry Fielding, the story is a ‘comic romance’ that follows the adventures of Joseph Andrews and Mr. Adams on their return home from England. Through a series of misadventures, the reader becomes privy to the intricacies of each character. Fielding’s character development shows a wide range of personalities. Joseph Andrews is created to be a very simple character; he can be described as a deeply virtuous and faithful young man. The Parson Adams is a more developed and complex character. He is a religious figure with a variety of vices, an affable and scatter-brained older man and a wise and philosophical soul. While Fielding uses his literary repertoire to showcase a variety of characters he also uses satire to show faults with all levels of English society from the country lawyer to the aristocratic mistress and criticize social injustices. He uses the novel as a source of examination on literature and contemporary problems, incorporating thematic structure and religious undertones. Contemporary responses ranged from the highly negative to the highly positive. His use of satire in a full-length novel was exalted, but its application to certain persons, such as clergyman, was frowned upon. His novel was an overall success and is considered one of the premier examples of literature in line with the Age of Satire.

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Links to Joseph Andrews pages:

Religious Issues in Joseph Andrews
Themes of Joseph Andrews and Modern Times
Critical Responses to Joseph Andrews

Diane Aiken