This Norton Critical Edition reprints the authoritative Wesleyan text of Joseph Andrews, edited by Martin Battestin.
The overall mentality is calvinist fatalism: 'We must submit to Providence', and 'no accident happens to us without the Divine permission ... the same power which made us, rules over us, and we are absolutely at his disposal, he may do with us what he pleases, nor have we any right to complain.'There is also a Malthusian accent: 'he shall not settle here, and bring a nest of beggars into the parish.'Christianity is only a tiny film of varnish: 'that it was possible in a country professing Christianity, for a wretch to starve in the midst of his fellow-creatures who abounded.'
Socially, the few wealthy rule over the many poor. 'The worst consequence of poverty is dependence on the great.'Another characteristic is the blatant misogyny, through its picture of the lewdness and vulgarity of women (in sharp contrast with Fanny's manners): 'I am no meat for a footman.'
This rich, lively, fresh and satirical text contains anti-novel sparks and many modern ingredients ('a set of jolly companions ... Their best conversation was nothing but noise.')But the novel as a whole is loosely built (no real plot) and sometimes too scholarly and boring. It ends in a pure Menander-style.Still, it is a worth-while read. "