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    Penguin Classics: Joseph Andrews: Shamela

    By: Henry Fielding

    Date Released

    Out of Print

    Henry Fielding (1707-54) turned to novel-writing when his outspoken satirical plays so annoyed Walpole's Government that a new Licensing Act was introduced to drive him from the stage. He began with Shamela (1741), a brilliant parody of Samuel Richardson's Pamela, in which a virtuous servant girl long resists her master's advances and is eventually 'rewarded' with marriage. Fielding's far more spirited and sexually honest heroine, by contrast, merely uses coyness and mock modesty as techniques to catch a rich husband. Joseph Andrews (1742), Fielding's first full-length novel, can also be seen as a response to Richardson, as the lascivious Lady Booby sets out to seduce her comically chaste servant Joseph. As in Tom Jones, Fielding takes a huge cast of characters out on the road and exposes them to many colourful and often hilarious adventures. Yet at the heart of the book is Parson Abraham Adams, a man often duped and humiliated by those more crafty than him, but still a model of Christian charity, learned, generous, friendly and brave.

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