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The Doing and Undoing of Fiction

A Study of Joseph Andrews


Helen Bartschi

Joseph Andrews is almost unanimously considered Fielding's apprentice piece in the art of novel-writing. Though specific features of the book have won its author wide acclaim, the work as a whole has often been called a failure. This study aims at a reassessment of Fielding's most «surrealist» novel. It focusses on its experimental mood, which relates it to Tristram Shandy and A Tale of a Tub, and to modern texts such as Alice in Wonderland and Joyce's Ulysses. Marking the dawn of realistic fiction Joseph Andrews betrays an awareness of its own textuality which has come to be considered characteristic of modernist texts of the twentieth century.
Contents: Textuality versus Fiction (The Narrator's Voices) - Transparence and Intertextuality (Characters' Speeches) - The Rhetoric of Indirection (Social Satire).