Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*London. Largest city both in England and in Europe, where the novel opens. London serves as a metaphor for vice and sham. The innocent Joseph later writes to his sister that “London is a bad Place.” London’s Hyde Park, former preserve of royalty, is a symbolic place associated with vanity, where people parade to be seen. Hyde Park is also the place where the vain widow Lady Booby walks with her handsome footman, Joseph.

Booby Hall

Booby Hall. Country house of Sir Thomas and Lady Booby that is the setting for Lady Booby’s and Mrs. Slipslop’s attempted seductions of the innocent Joseph. Each woman masks a lascivious passion for Joseph with feigned modesty. High-born widow and low-born housekeeper, they are Fielding’s opening examples showing that hypocrisy and self-interest infect all social classes.

*Somerset road

*Somerset road. Route that Joseph follows to return to his Somerset home in the sequence that makes up the bulk of the narrative. Joseph’s journey becomes a parody of Homer’s ninth century b.c.e. epic Odyssey. Like Homer’s Odysseus, Joseph must overcome obstacles and various symbolic monsters—people such as the robbers who beat him soundly and leave him lying naked and half dead in a ditch on his first night out from London. After a passing coach stops to help when its passengers hear his cries, he is taken to a nearby inn, where he...

(The entire section is 497 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Battestin, Martin C. The Moral Basis of Fielding’s Art: A Study of “Joseph Andrews.” Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1959. Battestin examines the corrective nature of satire in the novel. A particularly useful chapter examines the quest theme in relationship to the novel’s structure.

Dircks, Richard J. Henry Fielding. Boston: Twayne, 1983. Offers a general introduction to the author’s life and work. The third chapter, “Experiments in Prose Fiction,” includes a detailed discussion of themes, characterization, and structure in Joseph Andrews.

Mack, Maynard. “Joseph Andrews and Pamela.” In Fielding: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Ronald Paulson. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962. Mack examines Fielding’s use of Richardson’s novel Pamela, which inspired Joseph Andrews, noting ways in which Fielding uses the comic mode and his training as a dramatist to create a novel that is far more than a mere parody of Pamela.

Spilka, Mark. “Comic Resolution in Joseph Andrews.” In Henry Fielding: Modern Critical Views, edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Spilka shows how Fielding ties the farcical events at Booby Hall to his themes of vanity and hypocrisy to create an artistic whole.

Wright, Andrew. Henry Fielding: Mask and Feast. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966. In three chapters, Wright discusses Fielding’s conscious artistry in the narrative of Joseph Andrews, the novel’s relationship to the epic, and Fielding’s use of characterization.