New Stories for Old: Biblical Patterns in the Novel by Harold Fisch (auth.)

By Harold Fisch (auth.)

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But before that consummation is reached there are additional episodes, especially concerning the divesting and reinvesting of Joseph, which bear on the analogy. In Book IV, Chapters iv and v Joseph and Fanny are about to be committed to Bridewell through Lady Booby’s machinations (Potiphar’s wife all over again) when unexpectedly Joseph is raised to eminent social rank through the discovery that he is now directly related to Lady Booby through the marriage of his sister Pamela to her nephew. In this dramatic change of status, special emphasis is given to the matter of clothing.

17 The Bible words now seem to flow easily, together with a certain enlightened selfinterest. Of course, there is also the danger of self-betrayal. At one point, ironically, we find Robinson, the hero of the faith, the Christian pilgrim of Part I, being pursued as a thief on a stolen ship. It is only his resourcefulness which prevents him from ending his life in ignominy. In Part II there are also renewed references to that Original Sin of wandering which sent him off to sea in the first place.

His life bears witness to the notion that goodness will prevail and that it is the business of fiction to see that it does. Fielding’s novel is thus a kind of “Pilgrim’s Progress” but unlike 48 New Stories for Old Bunyan’s masterpiece it develops its moral fable in terms of everyday choices in the world we know. Bunyan’s heroes only seem to have adventures on the road – that road is really a mystic path leading to the heavenly Jerusalem. ” But these images are employed as trope, divorced from their physical and historical setting.

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