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Joseph Andrews was the first published full-length novel of the English author and magistrate Henry Fielding, and indeed among the first novels in the English language. Published in 1742 and defined by Fielding as a "comic epic poem in prose", it is the story of a good-natured footman's adventures on the road home from London with his friend and mentor, the absent-minded parson Abraham Adams.And, indeed, it is not fanciful to perceive in each book a somewhat different presentment of the author's genius; though in no one of the four is any one of his masterly qualities absent. There is tenderness even in Jonathan Wild; there are touches in Joseph Andrews of that irony of the Preacher, the last echo of which is heard amid the kindly resignation of the Journey to Lisbon, in the sentence, "Whereas envy of all things most exposes us to danger from others, so contempt of all things best secures us from them." But on the whole it is safe to say that Joseph Andrews best presents Fielding's mischievous and playful wit; Jonathan Wild his half-Lucianic half-Swiftian irony; Tom Jones his unerring knowledge of human nature and his constructive faculty; Amelia his tenderness, his mitis sapientia, his observation of the details of life. And first of the first.
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