My page linked in my previous post has a section on reading html mail. Yes, you can read them. You can edit /etc/mailcap or make a file .mailcap in your home directory.
Then add one of the text/html lines. For example, in Fedora I have
text/html: w3m -dump -T text/html %s
As mentioned in the article, I use Getmail, so can't help with the fetchmail questions.