Thursday 13 February 2020

Joseph Andrews as a Comic Epic In Prose or comic element in Joseph Andrews English Literature notes

Discuss Joseph Andrews as a “Comic” Epic in prose comment on the epic and comic element in Joseph Andrews

Comic epic in prose , comic elements in Joseph andrews notes estudent-corner

Joseph Andrews Comic epic in prose Notes

Henry Fielding wanted Joseph Andrews to be accepted as a comic epic in prose. He believed that a "Comic epic in prose" is quite a new genre and he was keen to explore its possibilities. He also tried to expound a well-defined theory about it. Homer had long ago produced a comic epic inverse of course which according to Aristotle bore some relation to comedy as the Illiad and the Odyssey did to tragedy. Combining the idea of prose epic and as an epic poem, Fielding evolves a new genre-comic epic in prose.


In his preface to Joseph Andrews, Fielding has differentiated his comic epic in prose from both a comic romance and a serious romance. He tells us that like an epic, his comic epic in prose embraces dignity and solemnity of purpose. The comic epic in prose chiefly promises a variety of characters involved in a very comprehensive action. The novelists' tone is light even frivolous and he gives mildly satirical, ironical exposition of the ridiculous. It is epical in scale and it is comic. Since it is highly down to art realistic, it is nor history for or it is not a superficial study of events nor it is a burlesque for a burlesque distort while it doesn't behind the frivolous tone of the novelist there is a strict moral responsibility which he shares with the writer of the serious epics.

Having discussed Fielding's theory about the comic epic in prose. We are now in a position to discuss how far Joseph Andrews conforms to this theory. A comic epic promises a variety of characters involved in a comprehensive action on an epical scale. Joseph Andrews does take us from the countryside to London and from there back to the countryside via an odyssey of the roadside. But we do not have any comprehensive picture of life either in the countryside or in London. At both the places, the action is confined to the personal involvements of a handful of characters with a force sprinkling of the countryside, rusticity or the genteel vices of London to give the narrative a peculiar coloring. The action along the roadside has a more comprehensive sweep. In the form of two digressions, the story of Leonara and the history of Mr.Wilson presents a miniature picture of city life as well. But everything is on a small scale in a way it can say that in Joseph Andrews  Fielding sketches in the outlines of his theory about the new genre which he was creating but elaborated it in TomJones.


In numerous other ways also Joseph Andrews tries to follow the principle of the epic structure. We can take an example of the famous battle between Joseph and Parson Adams, of the one side and the hounds on the other side. The Battle is described in terms of broad comedy but with the form of a serious conflict in which our sympathies are engaged, on one point Parson Adams flees. In other words, Fielding virtually states that he had adopted a great scene from the Illiad and the Aeneid to the purposes of his comic epic. The interesting thing, of course, is that though it is clear enough that he has the epic formula in mind he has so completely mastered the material that the form is but a perfect way of revealing and one is scarcely aware of the formula. Finally, Fielding makes use of the formula of discovery as outlined by Aristotle and made much of it in the works of the epic theorist. In the scene in which the mystery of Joseph and fanny parentage is been strengthened out, Fielding makes use of this sought of discovery. Joseph is recognized as the child of Mr. Wilson by the strawberry mark which he beers on his chest. At this point in the story Fielding professes specifically to Oedipus under similar circumstances they failed perhaps little less anxiety in this interval than Oedipus himself while his faith was being. The author revealed The author has the Greek sources of these practices clearly in mind. When he makes use of a very old device for bringing about the reversal of fortune.

Fielding takes the exposition of the "Ridiculous" as his special field in a comic epic. In this prefaces, he says that only true source of the ridiculous is an affectation on the pretense and this affectation arises from one of two causes -vanity or hypocrisy Fielding observes it is from the discovery of affectation, striking the reader with surprise and pleasure, that the ridiculous emerges. Thus the hypocrisy provides a stranges surprise than vanity and is more ridiculous or we might say funnies.

There is a good deal of vanity and hypocrisy expose in joseph Andrews even Joseph Andrews is not free from vanity. A very interesting vanity exists in him about the great value of his sermons. One stage in the novel, Mr. Wilson gives a strong dissertation on the vanity. There is similar comedy scattered everywhere in the book. The first important scene in the novel the seduction scene is a fine example of hypocrisy. There is both hypocrisy and vanity. parson Barnabus, including the surgeon, lawyer and the justice of the piece are either vain or hypocritical and they all contribute the comedy in Joseph Andrews.

Fielding called his novel an epic also on account of the very high notion he had of the purpose of the novel. He never thought that a novel was merely a source of entitlement he considered in a very serious form of literature embodied with at serious a moral purpose as an epic. Joseph Andrews does manage to be successful to attract on Hypocrisy and vanity. In prose it is not merely a tag to fill out a phrase "Comic epic in prose" but it was a well-known belief that poetry is appropriate to the expression of the more elevated thoughts and the celebration of great actions, as a realist attempting a comic epic, he found prose with comic turn given to its phrase a very suitable medium for himself.

Thus in Joseph Andrews, fielding applies all the rules of the comic epic. Thornbury points out that we are not conscious at the rule as we are in the work of the French writers of epics in the 17th century but these arise from the fact fielding is a great artist." what fielding was attempting was an entirely new species of literature. In his language and he was right to claim this kind of writing I do not remember to have seen hitherto attempted to our language.


Joseph Andrews as a picaresque novel, the picaresque tradition of Joseph Andrews

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