Joseph Andrews | Study Guide

Henry Fielding

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In text

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Course Hero. "Joseph Andrews Study Guide." August 30, 2019. Accessed September 25, 2022.


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Henry Fielding

Year Published





Comedy, Romance, Satire

Perspective and Narrator

The narrator of Joseph Andrews mostly employs third-person omniscient narration but sometimes interrupts his story in first person (in his persona as author). Occasionally, he uses second person to directly address the reader.


The novel Joseph Andrews is written mostly in the past tense, with the present tense sometimes used when the author makes observations directly addressed to the reader.

About the Title

The full title, The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and of His Friend Mr. Abraham Adams, provides a straightforward indication of what will follow—a tale of the adventures of Joseph Andrews and Mr. Abraham Adams. While some critics have said that Mr. (Parson) Adams is the moral center of the story, it is perhaps more accurate to say that the moral center is a circle encompassing both Parson Adams and Joseph Andrews. The parson has more time on the page and more dialogue, but Joseph Andrews is equally important as a character, so the novel has two protagonists. The novel is written in the picaresque, episodic style (based on brief units of action) made famous by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) in his Don Quixote (1605, 1615). In fact, the original title page of Joseph Andrews has a subtitle of sorts, which reads: "Written in Imitation of The Manner of Cervantes, Author of Don Quixote." This tale, like Don Quixote, features two companions sharing the road—Parson Adams (the idealist) and Joseph Andrews (the realist)—which has some equivalence with the hero Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza in Cervantes's novel.


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