Date of Award
Master's Essay - Restricted
Master of Arts (MA)
William Hazlitt admired Fielding's profound knowledge of human nature; Charlotte Bronte disliked his coarse view of human nature and life. Samuel Johnson remarked with an air of superiority, "I indeed never read Joseph Andrews."1 Joseph Warton said of Fielding, "I find he values, as he justly may, his Joseph Andrews above all his writings."2 Most readers and critics find themselves someplace between those extreme positions. Tending to react negatively to the narrator's clumsy presence in the story, the long digressions having little apparent connection with it, the bawdiness that at times seems to be there for its own sake, modern readers hardly share the delight Coleridge and Scott found in Fielding. However, like all well-written novels Joseph Andrews resists a cursory reading more than careful study. There are currents tat shape the book as comic satire. These I shall touch on and also a few basic methods that the author uses to establish the proper tone. From Don Quixote, Pamela, and the author's preface to Joseph Andrews the structure and purpose of the novel evolve; by use of ironic contrast in plot and character, and burlesque in diction the tone is created. It is a tone, not of bitter satire but of good humor and tolerance.
Kaiser, Alice, "Joseph Andrews: The Forming Currents and Method of its Satire" (1968). Master's Essays (1922 - ). 1257.