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افتراضي ...Joseph Andrews as a Comic Epic in Prose...

 


...Joseph andrews as a comic epic in Prose...



Fielding wanted Joseph andrews to be accepted as a comic epic in prose. He believed that a comic epic in prose was quite a new genre and he was keen to explore its possibilities. He also tried to expound a well-defined theory about it. Combining these ideas of the comic epic and the prose epic, Fielding evolved a
new genre-comic epic in prose.


In his preface to Joseph Andrews, Fielding has differentiated his comic epic in prose from both comicromance and a serious romance; now, a comic romance is a comic epic poem in prose: differing from comedy, as the serious epic from tragedy; its action being more extended and comprehensive; containing a much larger circle of incidents, and introducing a greater variety of characters. It differs from the serious romance in its fabls and action in this; that as in the one these are grave and solemn, so in the other they are light and ridiculous; it differs in its characters by introducing persons of inferior rank, and consequently of inferior manners, where as the grave romance set the highest before us: lastly in its sentiments and diction by preserving the ludicrous instead of the sublime.


Fielding also tells us that like an epic, his comic epic in prose embraces dignity and solemnity of prose.
The comic epic may also be differentiated from the burlesque. The comic is strictly confined to the just imitation of nature which to an accurate observer is sufficiently ridiculous. In the comic epic, while the charater and sentiments must always be prefectly natural, a certain burlesque drollery in style is premissible in the narrative or descriptive part.
The comic epic in prose chiefly promises a variety of characters involved in a very comprehensive action. The novelist's tone is light, even frivolous, and he gives a mildly satirical, ironical exposition of the ridicuious. It is not history for it is not superficial study of events, nor is it a burlesque , for a burlesque distorts while it doesn't. Behind the frivolvus tone of the novelist, there is a strict moral responsibility which he shares with the writers of the serious epics. What Fielling was attempting was an entirely new species of literature.


Having discussed Fielding's theory about a comic epic in prose, we are now in position to discuss how far Joseph andrews conforms to this theory.
1-A comic epic promises a variety of character involved in a comprehensive action on an epical scale. Joseph andrews does take us form the countyside to London, and form there back to the countryside. But we don't have any comprehensive picture of life either in the countryside or in London.
At both the palces the action in confined to the personal involoement of a handful of charaters. The action along the roadside has a more comprehensive sweep. It represents a miniature picture of the city life as well. But everything is on small scle.


2-In numerous other ways also, Joseph Andrews, tries to follow the principles of epic structure. We can take the example of the famous battle between Joseph and Parson Adms on the one side and the bounds on the other. The battle is described in terms of broad comdy, but with the
form of a serious conflict in which our sympathies are engaged. At one point, Parson Adams fiees.
3-The interpolation of the irrelevant-looking tales like the story of Leonara is according to the traditional epic formula. This device is common to all narrative of the time, but it also enjoys the sanction of the epic usage.


4-Fielding makes use of the formula of Discovery as outlined by Aristotle and made much of in the work of the epic theories. In the scene in which the mystery of Joseph's and Fanny's parentage is being straightened out, Fielding makes use of this sort of discovery. Joseph is recognised as the child of Mr- Willson by the strawberry mark which he bears on his chest.



Fielding takes the exposition of ridiculous as his special field in his comic epic. In his preface, he says that the only true source of the ridiculous is affectation, or pretence. And this affectation arises form one of two causes, vanity and hypocrisy. Fielding observes that it is form the disconvery of the affectation striking the reader with surprise and pleasure, that the ridiculous emerges; thus hypocrisy provides a stronger swprise than vanity, and is more ridiculous, or we might say funnier.


There is a good deal of vanity and hypocrisy exposed in Joseph Andrews. In fact even Parson Adams is not free from vanity. A very interesting vanity exists in him about the great value of his sermons. In fact the important scene in the novel, the selduction scene , is a fine example of hypocrisy and vanity in the character of Pamela , Parson Barnabas , Parson Trulliber , Peter Pounce ,The Squire of False Promises, The Squire of Floos , Mr. Tow-wouse , Mrs. Tow-wouse , the surgeon , the lawyer , the justice of peace , are either vain or hypocritical and they all contribute to the comedy in Joseph andrews .



As a realist attempting to comic epic he found prose with a comic turn given to its phrase a very suitable medium for himself.



To conclusion , thus , in Joseph andrews , Fielding applies all the rules of the comic epic. Fielding is a great artist. The formal principles give unity to his materials without our being aware of them. Here is the which conceals art but is the art of a conscious artist.


 

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andrews , comic , epic , joseph , prose


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