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Introduction to Henry Fielding and His Work ‘Joseph Andrews’

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1 Introduction to Henry Fielding and His Work ‘Joseph Andrews’
Dr. Sarwet Rasul

2 Summary of the Previous Session
General Introduction to Novel Novel as a Genre English Novel Tracing the History of English Novel

3 This Session Introduction to Henry Fielding
His birth, life, education, career etc. Fielding’s Response to Pamela Tragic part of Fielding’s life Influence of Richardson Characters in Joseph Andrews Major Themes Introduction and analysis of PREFACE

4 Henry Fielding - Biography
Henry Fielding was born in 1707 into a family that was essentially aristocratic. As far as his place of birth is concerned, he was born near Glastonbury in Southern England, and grew up on his parents’ farm in Dorset. His father was a colonel (and later a general) in the army. His mother's father was a justice of the Queen's Bench, while his paternal grandfather was an archdeacon of Salisbury. These two men played a vital role in influencing Fielding to be interested in law, to have great love of learning, and above all to have a firm sense of Christian morality.

5 Cont… Henry Fielding - Biography
Fielding's father, Sir Edmund Fielding, a colonel of aristocratic descent, married Sarah Gould in As it was a "runaway" marriage, and the father of the girl excluded Sir Edmund from the estate which he left his daughter. When Sarah died in 1718, Fielding's father entered into a long battle with the maternal side of the family over the estate. Tom Jones, reflects a lot of influence of this episode in Fielding’s life. It also reflects the early death of Fielding's mother and the ensuing divisions in the family. Both his works (Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones) depict a young man on the move until he is brought to a secure standstill by the revelation of his true identity.

6 Fielding’s Education and Career
After attending Eton College, where he was exposed to the classical authors he developed interest in literature and writing. He joined his father in London and, in 1728, wrote his first play Almost thirty more plays were written by him in the next nine years. This was the period when the rake was to the fore in his character; the dismal account of Mr. Wilson's dissipations in London (Joseph Andrews, Book III, Chapter 3) represents a stern warning from an experienced Fielding about the dangers of city life. Before the city completely enveloped him, however, Fielding spent a short spell abroad at the University of Leiden in Holland.

7 Fielding’s Education and Career
He returned to London in the fall of 1729. It was not a time of great theatre, but there was much material for parody and satire. In this context Fielding used his potential for writing with such a vigour particularly in the political field, that in 1737 the harassed Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, introduced a Theatrical Licensing Act. Fielding wrote no more for the stage, but his experience as a playwright has affected his novels in a very positive way. It is due to his theatrical background that perfection of dialogue and authentic patterns of conversations are found in his novels. Again the incidents of burlesque humour in Joseph Andrews, are a reflection of his experience as a playwright.

8 Fielding’s Education and Career
Since Fielding had married Charlotte Craddock in 1734 ; and they were passing through a financial crisis. It was his need for job that made Fielding change his profession. He took up the study of law at the Middle Temple five months after the passage of Walpole's Licensing Act. As far as the influence of Charlotte on him is concerned, critics believe that she was almost certainly the model for Fielding's portraits of the ideal woman: Amelia, Sophia, and, from Joseph Andrews, possibly Fanny Goodwill and Mrs. Wilson are examples of it.

9 Fielding as a Journalist
From playwriting Fielding turned to journalism. As a journalist he worked with some newspapers. For example from 1739 to 1741 he edited a satirically political newspaper, The Champion. His job as an editor is quite admirable. This experience matured Fielding and we can see a more serious Fielding emerging as a writer as the issues of the day come under his scrutiny.

10 The Course of Fielding’s Life Changes
In 1740, Fielding was called to the Bar, but success as a magistrate was still something in far off future. Fate played an important role at this stage of his life. Chance joined hands with Fielding's rich experience as a dramatist and a journalist to change the course both of his own life and that of the novel. It was in 1740, Samuel Richardson published Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. The novel was an immediate success; however, Fielding criticized it.

11 Fielding’s Response to Pamela
Fielding objected to the discrepancy between the expressed morality of "virtue rewarded" and the sexual content in the novel. Perhaps because he was poor and was in a financial crisis, in order to provide bread for his two young children, he decided to try and make some money with a parody of Pamela. However, whatsoever the reason, in 1741, he published his riotous and bawdy An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews. In it, Shamela is a fortune hunter who uses her virtue in a thoroughly lecherous and mercenary way. As far as the theme of Shamela is concerned, it is of disguise and pretence. Just the same theme is continued in his next work Joseph Andrews, published in 1742.

12 The times when Joseph Andrews was published were hard times for Fielding. The death of his father in June 1741, left him sorrowful. His financial crisis increased and in March of 1742 his favourite daughter died. In June 1741, Fielding also severed his connection with The Champion; his disaffection with the Patriots, as they were called, is perhaps reflected in his comments on "patriotism" in Joseph Andrews (Book II, Chapter 9).

13 Tragic part of Fielding’s life
The kind of literary and political reputation he carried, it was difficult for Fielding to continue in the legal profession. His last two novels, Tom Jones and Amelia also mirror this. The natural result of financial problems created by this affected his family, and these novels show the suffering of a man who knows that he has brought problems and poverty to the woman he loves. Yet if Fielding could not get money by practicing law, he did use the subject of law in his writing his works. His Jonathan Wild, which was published in 1743, is filled with biting accounts of the grotesque malpractices in the system of criminal law. In 1744, Fielding's wife died and, for a time, Fielding's friends thought that he would lose his mind. But he took up his political pen again and wrote for the anti-Jacobite journal, The True Patriot.

14 In 1747, he married Mary Daniel, who had been a maid to his wife and had shared his grief when Charlotte died. From this time, his fortunes began to brighten. In 1748, he was appointed Justice of the Peace for Westminster and, subsequently, he was made magistrate of all Middlesex, and in 1749 Tom Jones appeared. The concept of good nature which played such an important part in Joseph Andrews is also central to this novel.

15 This optimism is hardly the case with Captain and Mrs
This optimism is hardly the case with Captain and Mrs. Booth in Amelia (1751). Fielding's health was not good; he was terribly overworked and, in the summer of 1754, he went by sea to Lisbon with his wife and daughter. Though the voyage resulted in a diary published posthumously as A Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon, the quest for good health was in vain; he died on October 8, 1754, at the age of forty-seven.

16 Influence of Richardson
Richardson’s controversial Pamela (1740) was one of the great popular phenomena of British literary history. It is the story of a teenage servant-girl, Pamela Andrews. She withstands the unwanted attentions of her Master, squire Mr. B., and maintains her purity against all the odds. Near the midpoint of the novel Mr. B. recognizes her moral worth, reforms himself, and marries her. The second half of the story presents Pamela’s triumphant acclimation to her new exalted condition, her conquering of the snobbish upper class by the sheer force of her goodness. Form and Structure of Pamela and its influence on Fielding’s Joseph Andrews: The entire novel comprises a series of letters and journal entries, a few of which (near the beginning) are written by other characters but the vast majority of which are the work of Pamela herself; this epistolary format is part of the Richardson’s revolutionary contribution to the development of the novel in English, for the first-person narration of events, in nearly real-time, allows the novelist to explore, quite naturalistically, the depths and nuances of Pamela’s psyche.

17 Characters in Joseph Andrews: Major Characters
Joseph Andrews A handsome young fellow who tries to safeguard his honour throughout the novel. Gaffar and Gammar Andrews Parents of Pamela and, it is believed, of Joseph. Mr. Booby The nephew of Sir Thomas Booby. Sir Thomas Booby The deceased husband of Lady Booby. Lady Booby A hot-blooded young widow who tries every way possible to seduce Joseph. Mrs. Slipslop A repulsive servant woman who also pursues Joseph. Peter Pounce The steward to Lady Booby. Mr. Abraham Adams A charitable curate. Frances (Fanny) Goodwill A beautiful young country girl; Joseph's beloved. The Wilsons The real parents of Joseph Andrews. Lady Tittle and Lady Tattle Two gossips. Plain Tim A good-hearted host.

18 Minor Characters Postillion A generous person who offers Joseph an overcoat to cover his nakedness. Mr. Tow-wouse A bumbling, good-natured innkeeper. Mrs. Tow-wouse The greedy wife of the innkeeper. Betty A warm-hearted chambermaid who helps Joseph in the inn. Barnabas A punch-drinking clergyman. Tom Suckbribe The constable. Leonora A silly young girl. Horatio A suitor who has no money but much love for Leonora. Bellarmine A suitor who has little love for Leonora but who hopes to inherit her father's fortune. Lindamira A gossip. Mrs. Grave-airs A prude. Parson Trulliber A hypocritical country parson. The Pedlar (peddler) The man who reveals the secret of Joseph's parentage. Lawyer Scout An unscrupulous lawyer. Mrs. Adams Parson Adams' disagreeable wife.

19 Major Themes Duality of Goodness
Goodness as a theme has always been prevalent in literature. Fielding presents the Vulnerability and Power of goodness at the same time. In the context of eighteenth century literature we can say that age in which worldly authority was largely unaccountable and tended to be corrupt, Fielding seems to have judged that temporal power was not compatible with goodness. In his novels, most of the squires, magistrates, fashionable persons, and petty capitalists are either morally ambiguous or corrupt. Joseph Andrews as a novel is an example of it. On the other hand he presents characters from low class as symbols of good. For example his paragon of benevolence, Parson Adams, is quite poor and utterly dependent for his income on the patronage of squires.

20 Interestingly Fielding shows that Adams's extreme goodness, one ingredient of which is ingenuous expectation of goodness in others, makes him vulnerable and weak in the face of odds, and he is exploited by unscrupulous worldly and money minded characters . Fielding seems to enjoy humiliating his clergyman, however, Adams remains a transcendently vital presence whose temporal weakness does not invalidate his moral power. It is important to notice that if his naïve good nature is no antidote to the evils of hypocrisy and unprincipled self-interest, that is precisely because those evils are so pervasive. The impracticality of Adam’s laudable principles is not a criticism or judgment on Adams or on (his) goodness rather it mirrors the corruption of the world.

21 Major Themes Charity and Religion
Fielding’s novels are full of clergymen, and we find them in Joseph Andrews as well. Many of them are less than exemplary; in the contrast between the benevolent Adams and his more self-interested brethren, Fielding draws the distinction between the mere formal profession of Christian doctrines and that active charity which he considers true Christianity. Fielding projects the idea of religious duty in everyday life, and emphasises its importance in daily human interaction. Fielding’s concept of religion is different. For him religion focuses on morality and ethics rather than on theology or forms of worship. For example Adams as a mouth piece of Fielding says to the greedy and uncharitable Parson Trulliber, “Whoever therefore is void of Charity, I make no scruple of pronouncing that he is no Christian.”

22 Major Themes Role of Providence
If Fielding is skeptical about the efficacy of human goodness in the corrupt world, he is nevertheless determined that it should always be recompensed; When the "good" characters of Adams, Joseph, and Fanny are helpless to engineer their own happiness, Fielding takes care to engineer it for them. He as an omniscient and omnipresent writer acts as a god to make things work out. Fielding's overtly stylized plots and characterizations work to call attention to his designing hand. Fielding's authorly concern for his characters, then, is not meant to encourage his readers in their everyday lives to wait on the favor of a divine author; it should rather encourage them to make an art out of the business of living by advancing and perfecting the work of providence, that is, by living according to the true Christian principles of active benevolence.

23 Major Themes Town and Country
Fielding did not choose the direction and destination of his hero’s travels at random Joseph moves from the country to the town and then from the town to the country in order to illustrate, in the words of Martin C. Battestin, “a moral pilgrimage from the vanity and corruption of the Great City to the relative naturalness and simplicity of the country.” Joseph develops morally by leaving the city, site of vanity and superficial pleasures, for the country, site of virtuous retirement and contented domesticity. Fielding did not have any utopian illusions about the countryside as we can see through the presentation of bad characters in countryside setting. His claim for rural life derives from the pragmatic judgment that, away from the bustle, crime, and financial pressures of the city, there are more chances of the development of goodness.

24 Major Themes Affectation, Vanity, and Hypocrisy
Fielding’s Preface declares that the target of his satire is the ridiculous, that “the only Source of the true Ridiculous” is affectation, and that “Affectation proceeds from one of these two Causes, Vanity, or Hypocrisy.” Hypocrisy, being the dissimulation of true motives, is the more dangerous of these causes: whereas the vain man merely considers himself better than he is, the hypocrite pretends to be other than he is. Thus, Mr. Adams is vain about his learning, his sermons, and his pedagogy, but while this vanity may occasionally make him ridiculous, it remains entirely or virtually harmless. By contrast, Lady Booby and Mrs. Slipslop counterfeit virtue in order to prey on Joseph.

25 Major Themes Chastity Fielding has a fundamentally positive attitude towards chastity. To him people’s sexual conduct be in accordance with what they owe to God, each other, and themselves. In the mutual attraction of Joseph and Fanny there is nothing licentious or exploitative, and they demonstrate the virtuousness of their love in their eagerness to undertake a lifetime commitment.

26 Major Themes Social Class Differences
Joseph Andrews is full of class distinctions and concerns about high and low birth, but Fielding is probably less interested in class difference per se than in the vices it can lead towards. In this regard he aims at pointing out various vices such as corruption and affectation. Naturally, he disapproves of those who pride themselves on their class status to the point of degrading or exploiting those of lower birth. Mrs. Grave-airs, who turns her nose up at Joseph is an example of this . Fielding does not consider class privileges to be evil in themselves; rather, he seems to advocate that some people deserve social ascendancy while others do not. This view of class difference is evident in his use of the romance convention whereby the plot turns on the revelation of the hero’s true birth and ancestry, which is more prestigious than everyone had thought.

27 Introduction to Fielding’s Preface
Fielding has written a preface for various reasons: To introduce the work To explain what it is about To define the type and genre To justify his work

28 Text from Preface First Paragraph: TEXT: “AS IT IS POSSIBLE the mere English reader may have a different idea of romance from the author of these little volumes, and may consequently expect a kind of entertainment not to be found, nor which was even intended, in the following pages, it may not be improper to premise a few words concerning this kind of writing, which I do not remember to have seen hitherto attempted in our language.”

29 Cont… Preface Fielding sets out to define his terms and to differentiate Joseph Andrews from the "productions of romance writers on the one hand, and burlesque writers on the other." He admits that he has included some elements of burlesque in his "comic epic-poem in prose," but excludes them from the sentiments and the characters because burlesque in writing, like "Caricatura" in painting, exhibits "monsters, not men.

30 Text from Preface “Now, a comic romance is a comic epic poem in prose; differing from comedy, as the serious epic from tragedy: its action being more extended and comprehensive; containing a much larger circle of incidents, and introducing a greater variety of characters. It differs from the serious romance in its fable and action, in this; that as in the one these are grave and solemn, so in the other they are light and ridiculous: it differs in its characters by introducing persons of inferior rank, and consequently, of inferior manners, whereas the grave romance sets the highest before us: lastly, in its sentiments and diction; by preserving the ludicrous instead of the sublime. In the diction, I think, burlesque itself may be sometimes admitted; of which many instances will occur in this work, as in the description of the battles, and some other places, not necessary to be pointed out to the classical reader, for whose entertainment those parodies or burlesque imitations are chiefly calculated.”

31 Cont… Preface While defining and defending his chosen genre, the comic epic, or “comic Epic-Poem in Prose” he claims the lost work of Homer as precedence. He explains that the comic epic differs from comedy in having more “comprehensive” action and a greater variety of incidents and characters; it differs from the “serious Romance” in having lower-class characters and favouring, in “Sentiments and Diction,” the ridiculous over the sublime.

32 Cont… Preface Fielding is particularly concerned to differentiate the comic epic, and comedy generally, from burlesque: “no two Species of Writing can differ more widely than the Comic and the Burlesque,” for while the writer of burlesque depicts “the monstrous,” the writer of comedy depicts “the ridiculous.” He further claims that “The Ridiculous only falls within my Province in the present Work,” and accordingly goes on to define the framework of his novel.

33 Cont… Preface Sources of Ridicule:
“The only Source of the true Ridiculous (as it appears to me) is Affectation,” to which Fielding assigns two possible causes, “Vanity, or Hypocrisy.” He further defines them that vanity is affecting to be better than one is: the vain man either lacks the virtue or quality he claims to have, or else he claims to possess it in a greater degree than he actually does. On the other hand, hypocrisy is affecting to be other than one is: the hypocritical man “is the very Reverse of what he would seem to be,” . To explain his idea Fielding gives the example of a greedy man pretending to be generous. The ridiculous arises from the discovery of affectation, and as hypocrisy is a more severe form of affectation than is vanity, so, according to Fielding, the sense of the ridiculous arising from its discovery will be stronger than in the case of vanity.

34 Comments on Preface In Fielding's analysis, the outstanding moral fault of his times which is consequently the outstanding preoccupation of Fielding's writing is "Affectation,“ that, to him, the "only source of the true Ridiculous." In this novel Fielding seeks to oppose the forces of affectation by making vain and hypocritical people seem ridiculous, and for doing so in the novel he uses a kind humour that encourages solidarity among readers, who are implicitly assumed to be on Fielding's side. In inspiring readers to laugh at affected people, Fielding insinuates that society breaks down into two camps, the affected and the genuine, and his moralizing humour supplies readers with incentives, mainly a string of jokes and a sense of moral superiority, to join (or remain on) the side of the genuine.

35 Finally, Fielding addresses the characters of the novel, claiming that all are drawn from life and that he has made certain alterations in order to hide their true identities. Fielding also conciliates his clerical readers by emphasizing that the curate Adams, though he participates in a number of low incidents, is a credit to the cloth due to his great simplicity and benevolence. TEXT “They will therefore excuse me, notwithstanding the low adventures in which he is engaged, that I have made him a clergyman; since no other office could have given him so many opportunities of displaying his worthy inclinations.”

36 Critical comment on Preface
The existence of the preface, the careful definition of terms, the reference to painting and to the "circle of incidents," and the promise of a happy outcome all indicate the extent to which Fielding is in control of his novel. The characters may can have their own lives but it is the essence of humanity, viewed through the lenses of Fielding's own vision, which is presented to the reader. He asserts: "I describe not men, but manners; not an individual, but a species" (Book III, Chapter 1). Already we are aware of his acute discernments, his breadth of vision, his firm sense of organization, and his belief in the essential goodness of human nature. The vices for which he apologizes in the preface are more than balanced by the character of Adams and by the fact that they are "accidental consequences of some human frailty or foible."

37 Summary of the Lesson Introduction to Henry Fielding
His birth, life, education, career etc. Fielding’s Response to Pamela Tragic part of Fielding’s life Influence of Richardson Characters in Joseph Andrews Major Themes Introduction and analysis of PREFACE

38 Reference list of sources

39 Thank you very much!

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