Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding; Martin C. Battestin (ed.)

By Henry Fielding; Martin C. Battestin (ed.)

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Sample text

Wilson's attention to one of its chief perfections, its adherence to the principle of artistic unity which Adams terms Harmotton, the correlation of structure and meaning. Though it is the warm breath of laughter that animates Joseph Andrews that cheerful, sunshiny, breezy spirit that Coleridge remarked it is Fielding's moral vision that gives the book both meaning and a coherent pattern. Against "the true Ridiculous," follow: Cervantes' clearly a — — the vain of all ranks and regions of society.

Like that Booth in Amelia, it is essentially a tale of moral education and regeneration. At the start of his London career, Mr. Wilson assumes the foppish ways of vanity and plunges deeper into spiritual degradation, repudiating religion in his flirtation with the atheistical "Rule of Right" club and finally, in the symbolic purchase of the lottery ticket, abandoning Providence altogether to place his trust in Fortune. But, sunk in debtor's prison in a nadir of despair, he is rescued, providentially, by the love and charity of his future wife and with her flees the realm of vanity to adopt a way of life according to the classical its significance; of Captain which, ideal, not edenic (the brutal incursion of the squire world.

As the vigor of his love-making to Fanny attests, Joseph Andrews is no very cold-blooded young man; but with good sense, reinforced by the good advice and good example of Parson Adams, he keeps his love chaste and clean for Fanny's sake, and for his own, just as he tieasures Fanny's gold coin, which means only cash profits to Mrs. Tow-wouse, but which signifies a different order of values to Joseph. At times, admittedly, his virtue is a little hard to bear; but it nevertheless sei-ves as a wholesome alternative to the predatory and selfdestructive appetites of Lady Booby, Mrs.

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