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Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded (Penguin Classics)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

One of the most spectacular successes of the flourishing literary marketplace of eighteenth-century London, Pamela also marked a defining moment in the emergence of the modern novel. In the words of... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

7 ratings

Tedious and Unlikely Plot

I love literature from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. This book was so horrid, not at all what I expected. I love stories that encourage good principles but this story has no merit. Perhaps that explains why it was controversial in its day. I can’t even try to describe what I disliked most so I won’t say anything except that I cannot recommend this novel.

Condition description inaccurate/misleading

Purchased used with "like new" description. This should have been listed at best "good" as there are notes on several pages. This is distracting & I would not have purchased if the description was accurate.

Early Classic of the Novel

This is one of those books that people should take some time to read solely for it's historical significance, since it truly is a touchstone in the development of the novel as a distinct literary form. Released in 1740, it created a tidal wave of what we would now characterize as "media attention" and "popularity." Pamela was the right book at the right time and this confluence of time/place/text adds importance to the book itself. The author, Samuel Richardson, was a commoner, without the aristocratic background of his rival, Henry Fielding or contemporary Tobias Smolett: UNLIKE his great contemporary and rival, Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson could boast of no connection, however remote, with an aristocratichouse. He himself has informed us that he came of a family " of middling note," in the county of Surrey, from which we may conjecture that his ancestors were small landed gentry or respectable yeomen. (Samuel Richardson By Clara Linklater Thomson) Thomson's biography mentions that in the 1740's, people were still a tad fuzzy on the concept of a fictional story, "Richardson was at once overwhelmed with letters from eager readers who longed to know whether the story was true." (Thomson, Samuel Richardson) It is against this back drop that you need to consider the development of the english novel as a real step forward in terms of the cultural sophistication of the readers. You can literally see the human mind moving away from the simplicity of the middle ages (and its literary forms.) I think it's fair to say that the contribution of Pamela, in a nut shell, is the depth of psychological complexity of the characters. That is what the novel is all about: adding psychological depth to the depiction of character. And so it is that the reader finds himself/herself relating to these characters, written three hundred plus years ago. Pamela tells the story of Pamela Edwards, a serving girl of 16. Her mistress dies and his son takes over the estate. The son has a thing for Pamela, so after she rejects a couple clumsy advances, he does what any 18th century nobleman would do: Has her kidnapped and imprisoned at his remote estate. Now, anyone reading the above will understand that the activities depicted aren't in any way contemporary, but the depiction of character is. What we are witnessing in Pamela is the birth of literary consciousness of self and identity. It's interesting to read about but at the same time at 500 pages Pamela turns into a slog at time. You can see where it is an EARLY version of the novel as literary form- sine there is a resolution/climax half way through the book, followed by 200 pages of material that would no doubt not reach print these days.

A very different time and place!

A deep read, the story gives insite into a whole different era and way of life. I came across Pamela accidentaly while browsing through the classics. As she shares my name, I was immediately intrigued and had to read the novel. As a Jane Austin fan, I had hoped Pamela would be as fun a read. I found it to be very different, but delightful just the same. In the end, I do think she "mastered" the master.

The Queen of 18th Century romps

Three of my girlfriends and I have a sort of 18th century book club. Pamela is one of our favorite novels. It's racy, sexy and fun. It opens a window into what was worn, eaten and done for amusement in the middle of the 1700's in England. It's the ultimate social climber fantasy, wherein the pampered and over educated lady's companion eventually obtains title to the estate on which she was born and hooks the attractive rogue who would be her master and seducer. The vanity of both young people, their cluelessness as to their growing attraction, the machinations involved in their somewhat unpleasant romance all adds to the humanness of the story. My personal theory, Richardson loved putting himself into the consciousness of a pretty, clever and virtuous young girl and excercised this impulse by writing his novels mainly from the female point of view. (Note how lovingly he dwells on Pamela's possession of a tiny waist.) Most of the time this sort of thing annoys me, but Richardson does it so nicely that I can forgive him. After reading Pamela, if you enjoy it, try to obtain a copy of The History of Sir Charles Grandison, wherein Richardson provides the antidote to the less than ethical Mr. B. in the awesomely gentlemanly Sir Charles. Richardson books are not fast reads, unless you love immersing yourself in 18 century culture. If you do, you're sorry when the 1,600 pages (Of Sir Charles Grandison) are over. I notice that people who only reluctantly endorse the book are appalled by the sexism and sexuality portrayed. But the book must be taken in the context of the times. Richardson really did paint colorful and wonderful female characters, not models of propriety of that or the current era. I think he created characters he would have liked to have known and loved. No modern woman I have given Richardson to has felt offended by his prose, but rather has been both amused and intrigued. For a counterbalancing treat, first read Richardson, then read the complete memoirs of Casanova. Two different points of view, both stuffed with the vibrancy and adventure of 18th century Europe and both delightful.

A Wonderful Literature Piece

This has become one of the best novels of literature I have read in along time. The impact which this story has on the reader, the beautiful language in which it is written, and the underlying symbolism that pops out in every page makes this story a captivating piece of literature that keeps the reader turning the pages and yearning to read as the story develops. Some individuals might find this work a bit dull and slow, bur that only depends on the kind of book that you're interested in. For my case, dullness did not describe any part of the book. I found it very touching and I find Pamela to be one of the best literary characters in English literature. It is the story of a young maid who is pursued by her young master. At all costs she defends her virtue refusing to give in to her master. As the story develops we see the intense feelings, emotions, and confusion that wraps the characters along with the reader. I truly reccommend this book to anybody.

Where the Novel STARTED

This is where it all started. Richardson gives this fast moving epistolary story a fun and predictable story of cat and mouse. The story is simple and short. Maiden is beautiful and is the center of attention by the rich aristocratic master. Retaining her virtue, she places her sentimentiality ahead of possible riches if she gives into the master's advances. Truely a common element of seduction in the Eighteenth century. In all respects, the reason to pick up this novel is Richardson's use of language and sentiments. This novel produces a great deal of reader participation. For one, the reader must decide which side he or she will side with. Siding with one or the other would produce a different outcome to the ending. This novel reads fast and is filled with great eighteenth-century vernacular language. Lots of insults and name calling are also included which are extremely funny. Calling this novel a "preview" to Richardson's masterpiece Clarissa is unjust. This is a masterpiece on its own and it will not disappoint with the first, second, or third reading.
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