And this Example, I am confident, will be imitated by all our Cloth in the Country: For besides speaking well of a Brother, in the Character of the Reverend Mr. Williams, the useful and truly religious Doctrine of Grace is every where inculcated.
This Book is the “Soul of Religion, Good-Breeding, Discretion, Good-Nature, Wit, Fancy, Fine Thought, and Morality. There is an Ease, a natural Air, a dignified Simplicity, and Measured Fullnessin it, that resembling Life, out-glows it. The Author hath reconciled the pleasing to the proper; the Thought is every where exactly cloathed by the Expression; and becomes its Dress as roundly and as close as Pamela her Country Habit; or as she doth her no Habit, when modest Beauty seeks to hide itself, by casting off the Pride of Ornament, and displays itself without any Covering;” which it frequently doth in this admirable Work, and presents Images to the Reader, which the coldest Zealot cannot read without Emotion.
For my own Part (and, I believe, I may say the same of all the Clergy of my Acquaintance) “I have done nothing but read it to others, and hear others again read it to me, ever since it came into my Hands; and I find I am like to do nothing else, for I know not how long yet to come: because if I lay the Book down it comes after me. When it has dwelt all Day long upon the Ear, it takes Possession all Night of the Fancy. It hath Witchcraft in every Page of it.——Oh! I feel an Emotion even while I am relating this: Methinks I see Pamela at this Instant, with all the Pride of Ornament cast off.
“Little Book, charming Pamela, get thee gone; face the World, in which thou wilt find nothing like thyself.” Happy would it be for Mankind, if all other Books were burnt, that we might do nothing but read thee all Day, and dream of thee all Night. Thou alone art sufficient to teach us as much Morality as we want. Dost thou not teach us to pray, to sing Psalms, and to honour the Clergy? Are not these the whole Duty of Man? Forgive me, O Author of Pamela, mentioning the Name of a Book so unequal to thine: But, now I think of it, who is the Author, where is he, what is he, that hath hitherto been able to hide such an encircling, all-mastering Spirit, “he possesses every Quality that Art could have charm'd by: yet hath lent it to and concealed it in Nature. The Comprehensiveness of his Imagination must be truly prodigious! It has stretched out this diminutive mere Grain of Mustard-seed (a poor Girl's little,&c.) into a Resemblance of that Heaven, which the best of good Books has compared it to.”
Pamela opens in England, with a young maidservant who works for a noblewoman, Lady B. When Lady B suddenly dies, her son becomes infatuated with the young Pamela and tries to seduce her into becoming his mistress. When Pamela refuses, Mr B kidnaps her and locks her away in his country cottage. There the clever Pamela tries to escape, but Mr B has other plans ...
A best-selling and influential novel of its time, Pamela is an endearing story of misguided lust transformed into love, no matter the obstacles.
Pamela is part of Momentum's Classic Romance collection.
This edition includes the text of the play itself and the text of the extraordinary notes (by Fielding’s pseudonym “H. Scriblerus Secundus”), appearing in facing page layout; extensive explanatory notes for the modern reader appear at the bottom of the page. Also included are a substantial introduction and a wide range of background materials that set the work in the context of its time. These contextual materials include contemporary reviews, excerpts from the plays that Fielding’s parody most frequently targeted, and selections from works that provided inspiration for The Tragedy of Tragedies—from contemporary versions of the “Tom Thumb” folktale to satirical writing by authors such as Alexander Pope, John Gay, and George Villiers.