An accurate text of Shamela (Fielding's satire of Samuel Richardson's Pamela, the most popular epistolary novel of the eighteenth century) as well as An Essay on the Knowledge of the Characters of Men, selections from The Champion, and the Preface to The Adventures of David Simple are also included. All of the texts are fully annotated. "Backgrounds" contains generous extracts from works that Fielding satirized-Pamela and Conyer Middleton's Dedication to the Life of Cicero-and emulated-Gil Blas and selections from Don Quixote, the Roman Comique, and Le Paysan Parvenu. The section concludes with a general explanation of the political and religious contexts in which Joseph Andrews was written. "Criticism" offers a broad range of responses to the novel. Contemporary assessments include selected letters of Thomas Gray, William Shenstone, Samuel Richardson, and others as well as commentary from The Student, or Oxford and Cambridge Monthly Miscellany, by William Hazlitt, James Beattie, and Sarah Fielding and Jane Collier. Modern assessments are by Mark Spilka, Dick Taylor, Jr., Martin Battestin, Sheldon Sacks, Morris Golden, Brian McCrea, and Homer Goldberg. A Selected Bibliography is also included.