Friday, July 15, 2011

Jospeh* (for Joseph*)

Not everyone was a fan of Samuel Richardson's Pamela or its far weightier companion, Clarissa (published in 1748 and considered to be the longest novel in the English language), but fellow novelist Henry Fielding did something about it. In both the satirical "pamphlet" Shamela as well as the novel Joseph Andrews, he pokes furious fun at what Wikipedia calls "the stylistic failings and moral hypocrisy that Fielding saw in Richardson’s Pamela." The eponymous Joseph is Pamela's brother and male doppelgänger, forced to fend off the aggressive advances of the opposite sex until he finally receives his own romantic reward. Fielding took some inspiration from Cervantes' Don Quixote and termed his novel a "comic epic-poem in prose." We found 209 cases of Jospeh* in OhioLINK and over 3,000 in WorldCat, making today's typo one of very "high probability" on the Ballard list.

(Frontispiece etching of Henry Fielding from a 1920 edition of The History of the Life of the Late Mr Jonathan Wild the Great and A Journey from this World to the Next, by William Hogarth, first published in 1762, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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