Joseph Andrews

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With an essay by Mark Spilka.

'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?'

Henry Fielding's riotous tale of innocents in a corrupt world was one of the earliest English novels, blending bawdy slapstick, philosophical musing and pointed social satire to create a work of moral complexity and generous, life-affirming humanity. Published in 1742, it tells the story of the chaste servant Joseph Andrews who, after being sacked for spurning the advances of the lascivious Lady Booby, takes to the road, accompanied by his beloved Fanny Goodwill and the absent-minded, much put-upon Parson Adams. There they encounter robbers, tricksters, seducers, mishaps and strange twists of fortune, in a series of adventures filled with exuberant comedy.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

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About the author

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) started his career as a playwright until his outspoken satirical plays so annoyed Walpole's Government that a new Licensing Act was introduced to drive him from the stage. He turned to writing various 'comic epics in prose', including Shamela and Tom Jones. A master innovator, he is credited with creating the first modern novels in English. He was also a magistrate and co-founder of the Bow Street Runners, often dubbed as London's first professional police force.

Tom Jones is also published in the Penguin English Library.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin UK
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Published on
Jun 28, 2012
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780141974446
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Classics
Literary Criticism / Modern / 18th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In Making Love: Sentiment and Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century British Literature, Paul Kelleher revises the history of sexuality from the vantage point of the literary history of sentimentalism. Kelleher demonstrates how eighteenth-century British philosophers, essayists, and novelists fundamentally reconceived the relations among sentiment, sexuality, and moral virtue. It is his contention that sentimental discourse, both philosophical and literary, posited heterosexual desire as the precondition of moral feeling and conduct. The author further suggests that sentimental writers fashioned the ideal of conjugal love as an ideological antidote to the theories of self-love and self-interest found in the works of Thomas Hobbes and Bernard Mandeville. Heterosexual desire and its culmination in conjugal love, in other words, were represented as the privileged means for an individual to transcend self-love and to develop a moral sensibility attuned to the thoughts and feelings of others. At the same time, Kelleher suggests, other pleasures and desires—particularly those rooted in same-sex eroticism—were increasingly depicted as antithetical to conjugal love and, thus, were morally devalued and socially disenfranchised. Kelleher's argument unfolds through close readings of a variety of texts, including Shaftesbury’s Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele’s the Tatler and the Spectator, Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess, Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, and Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones. Although these texts embody diverse rhetorical strategies and thematic concerns, he shows how they collectively reinforce an overarching sentimental ideology: on the one hand, heterosexual desire and conjugal love become synonymous with sympathy, benevolence, and moral goodness, while on the other hand, same-sex desire is pathologized as a selfish withdrawal from procreation, domesticity, sociability, and ultimately, “humanity” itself.
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