Novel Joseph Andrewa writting by Henry fielding
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Fielding’s Preface declares that the target of his satire is the ridiculous, that “the only Source of the true Ridiculous” is affectation, and that “Affectation proceeds from one of these two Causes, Vanity, or Hypocrisy.” Hypocrisy, being the dissimulation of true motives, is the more dangerous of these causes: whereas the vain man merely considers himself better than he is, the hypocrite pretends to be other than he is. Thus, Mr. Adams is vain about his learning, his sermons, and his pedagogy, but while this vanity may occasionally make him ridiculous, it remains entirely or virtually harmless. By contrast, Lady Booby and Mrs. Slipslop counterfeit virtue in order to prey on Joseph, Parson Trulliber counterfeits moral authority in order to keep his parish in awe, Peter Pounce counterfeits contented poverty in order to exploit the financial vulnerabilities of other servants, and so on. Fielding chose to combat these two forms of affectation, the harmless and the less harmless, by poking fun at them, on the theory that humor is more likely than invective to encourage people to remedy their flaws.