Since most publishers ofPamelahave preferred to print Richardson’s table of contents from the sixth edition, his complete introduction (his preface, together with letters to the editor and comments) is missing even from some of our best collections. Occasionally one finds the preface and the first two letters, but only four publishers since Richardson have attempted to reprint the full introduction. Harrison (London, 1785) -- who omits the first letter -- and Cooke (London, 1802-3) both follow Richardson’s eighth edition; Ballantyne (Edinburgh, 1824) uses the fourth; the Shakespeare Head (Oxford, 1929), the third. And even these printings leave one dissatisfied. The Shakespeare Head gives the fullest text, but naturally omits Richardson’s revisions; Cooke gives the introduction in its final form, but one misses the full text which accompanied the book in its heyday; and rarely are both Cooke and Shakespeare Head to be found in the same library.
Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded is an epistolary novel by Samuel Richardson. It tells the story of a beautiful 15-year old maidservant named Pamela Andrews, whose country landowner master, Mr. B, makes unwanted advances towards her after the death of his mother, whose maid Pamela had been since age 12. Mr. B is infatuated with her, first by her looks and then her innocence and intelligence, but his high rank hinders him from proposing marriage. He abducts her, locks her up in one of his estates, and attempts to seduce and rape her. She rejects him continually, but starts to realise that she is falling in love with him. He intercepts her letters to her parents; reading them, he becomes even more enamored by her innocence, intelligence, and continuous escape attempts. Her virtue is eventually rewarded when he sincerely proposes an equitable marriage to her. In the novel's second part, Pamela attempts to build a successful relationship with him and to acclimatise to upper class society. The story, a best-seller of its time, was very widely read but criticised for its perceived licentiousness.
Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded is an epistolary novel by Samuel Richardson, first published in 1740. It tells the story of a beautiful 15-year-old maidservant named Pamela Andrews, whose country landowner master, Mr. B, makes unwanted advances towards her after the death of his mother. After attempting unsuccessfully to seduce and rape her, her virtue is eventually rewarded when he sincerely proposes an equitable marriage to her. In the novel's second part, Pamela marries Mr. B and tries to acclimatise to upper-class society. The story, a best-seller of its time, was very widely read but was also criticized for its perceived licentiousness.
Pamela Andrews is a pious, innocent fifteen-year-old who works as Lady B's maidservant in Bedfordshire. The novel starts after Lady B has died, when her son, the squire Mr. B, begins to pay Pamela more attention, first giving her his mother's clothes, then trying to seduce her in the Summer House. When he wants to pay her to keep the attempt secret, she refuses and tells Mrs. Jervis, the housekeeper, her best friend at the house. Undaunted, he hides in her closet and pops out and tries to kiss her as she undresses for bed. Pamela debates returning to her impoverished parents to preserve her innocence, but remains undecided.
Mr. B claims that he plans to marry her to Mr. Williams, his chaplain in Lincolnshire, and gives money to her parents in case she will let him take advantage of her. She refuses and decides to go back to her parents, but Mr. B intercepts her letters to her parents and tells them that she is having a love affair with a poor clergyman and that he will send her to a safe place to preserve her honour. Pamela is then driven to Lincolnshire Estate and begins a journal, hoping it will be sent to her parents one day. The Lincolnshire Estate housekeeper, Mrs. Jewkes, is no Mrs. Jervis: she is a rude, "odious", "unwomanly" woman who is devoted to Mr. B; Pamela suspects that she might even be "an atheist!". Mrs. Jewkes constrains Pamela to be her bedfellow. Mr. B promises that he won't approach her without her leave, and then in fact stays away from Lincolnshire for a long time.
Pamela meets Mr. Williams and they agree to communicate by putting letters under a sunflower in the garden. Mrs. Jewkes continues to maltreat Pamela, even beating her after she calls her a "Jezebel". Mr. Williams asks the village gentry for help; though they pity Pamela, none will help her because of Mr. B's social position. Sir Simon even argues that no one will hurt her, and no family name will be tarnished since Pamela belongs to the poor Andrews family. Mr. Williams proposes marriage to her to escape Mr. B's wickedness.
Mr. Williams is attacked and beaten by robbers. Pamela wants to escape when Mrs. Jewkes is away, but is terrified by two nearby cows that she thinks are bulls. Mr. Williams accidentally reveals his correspondence with Pamela to Mrs. Jewkes; Mr. B jealously says that he hates Pamela, as he has claimed before. He has Mr. Williams arrested and plots to marry Pamela to one of his servants. Desperate, Pamela thinks of running away and making them believe she has drowned in the pond. She tries unsuccessfully to climb a wall, and, when she is injured, she gives up.
Mr. B returns and sends Pamela a list of articles that would rule their partnership; she refuses because it means she would be his mistress. With Mrs. Jewkes' complicity, Mr. B gets into bed with Pamela disguised as the housemaid Nan, but, when Pamela falls into a fit and seems like to die, he seems to repent and is kinder in his seduction attempts. She implores him to stop altogether. In the garden he implicitly says he loves her but can't marry her because of the social gap.
One of the first great British novels, Samuel Richardson’s classic tale became a legend to his own age and remains so today.
Defying her parents’ desire for her to marry a loathsome man for his wealth, the virtuous Clarissa escapes into the dangerous arms of the charming rogue Lovelace, whose intentions are much less than honorable. This thought-provoking work, written entirely in intimate letters, exposes the delicacy and complexity of affairs of the human heart. The fatal attraction between villain and victim builds and unfolds into a relationship that haunts the imagination as fully as that of Romeo and Juliet or Tristan and Isolde.
Abridged and with an Introduction by Sheila Ortiz-Taylor and a New Afterword by Lynn Shepherd
You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.
eReaders and other devices
To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.