, Sterne's Widow Wadman, Smollett's Tabitha Bramble, and other mature female characters who experience and express sexual desire became comic fodder for playwrights and novelists.
in Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews is another notable example:
is hard to consider as anything but a caricature as she tries to fill some interesting niches of her own with the wrong words, so Hazlitt's Pitt seems to have been pushed over the verge of caricature by the preposterous size of his ministerial deceit" (113).
This technique is very similar to one common in Fielding's novels, first pointed out in his doctoral dissertation by Wilhelm Fuger, one of the doyens of German narratology: "But we will be more courteous to our reader than he [the coachman] was to Mrs Slipslop
, and leaving the coach and its company to pursue their journey, we will carry our reader on after Parson Adams [...]" (Joseph Andrews 2.7).
These dynamics are best studied in historical and textual particulars, rather than in the abstractions that for so long have enabled out-of-hand dismissals of the Shakespeare Gallery--from the romantic-period painter James Northcote, who derided the collection as "such a collection of slipslop
imbecility as it was dreadful to look at," to W.
How far this description differs from the characterization of other women in the novel may be told by a study of the acquisitive nature of Lady B, the voracity of Mrs Slipslop
, the bawdy of Betty, the chambermaid, and the termagant wrath of the innkeeper's wife Mrs Tow-Wouse.
The tales enlist a wide range of characters--across class lines, from the well-bred Lady to Slipslop; across gender lines, from Mrs.
This social bridge or levelling induced by narrative--which encodes the cross-class bond of narrative, or more exactly effaces the effect of class--is especially striking given the exchange between Slipslop and Mrs.