SHAMELA is a brilliant parody of Samuel Richardson's PAMELA, in which a virtuous servant girl long resists her master's advances and is eventually 'rewarded' with marriage. Fielding's far more spirited and sexually honest heroine, by contrast, merely uses coyness and mock modesty as techniques to catch a rich husband. JOSEPH ANDREWS, Fielding's first full-length novel, can also be seen as a response to Richardson, as the lascivious Lady Booby sets out to seduce her comically chaste servant Joseph, (himself in love with the much-put-upon Fanny Goodwill). As in Tom Jones, Fielding takes a huge cast of characters out on the road and exposes them to many colourful and often hilarious adventures.
Hawley's introduction is a model of what such a thing should be (for an undergraduate audience): full of information, but not too pushy. She manages to touch on a truly remarkable number of important bases in just a few pages--an impressive accomplishment. The notes are good, too. This is the best edition out there for college students. -- Douglas Patey, Sophia Smith Professor of English, Smith College