Henry Fielding’s first major success, was Shamela (1741), an “anonymous” parody of Samuel Richardson’s melodramatic novel, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. Shamela was followed by The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and his Friend Mr. Abraham Adams (1742) In this novel Fielding attacked Pamela inventing an imaginary brother to Pamela, Joseph, who has to defend his virtue and chastity (= castità) against the advances of his mistress, Lady Booby. Joseph is accompanied in his adventures by the comic and lovable Parson Adams, a Quixotic figure of an ingenuous and optimistic idealist.
Fielding’s debut as a serious novelist was The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great (1743) almost certainly began before Shamela and Joseph Andrews. It is a satire of
(Horace Walpole, Britich Prime Minister) that draws a parallel between Walpole and Jonathan Wild, the infamous gang leader and highwayman (outlaw= fuorilegge). He implicitly compares the Whig party in Parliament with a gang of thieves (robbers = ladri), being run (directed = comandati) by Walpole Walpole, whose constant desire to be a “Great Man” (a common epithet for ) should culminate only in the apotheosis of greatness: being hanged (=impiccati). Walpole
This success was followed by The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749), a picaresque novel about foundling come into a fortune (=un trovatello che riceve una fortuna).
In 1963 the novel was adapated into a film directed by Tony Richradson, screenplay by John Osborne.
Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews are picaresque, comic and sometimes farcical novels, told by an omniscient and intrusive narrator.
Fielding mainly used third person omniscient narrator to appear more detached from the events he narrated with irony and humour. This form of narration also permitted him the use of digressions which put him in contact with the reader and permitted to explain his choices and exigencies as a novel writer.
Fielding’s tone is serious, humorous and mock-epic . He gives a complete portrait of society as the heroes meet a lot of characters representing different classes and social types and he combines his sense of moral values with his pungent satirical spirit. His three acknowledged (=riconosciuti) masters were Lucian, Swift and Cervantes. He broke away from the epistolary methods of his contemporaries and started a comic epics in prose, leading the way (= strada che sarà seguita da) to Dickens and Thackeray.