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.
For a fascinating glimpse into eighteenth-century morals and values, take a look at Samuel Richardson's Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. A blockbuster of a bestseller in its day, Pamela recounts the tribulations of a poor housekeeper who is forced constantly to fend off the prurient advances of her employer. Her reward? Pamela is offered -- and accepts -- her lustful master's hand in marriage and is thrust into upper-class society.
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
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 one contemporary, it divided the world "into two different Parties, Pamelists and Anti-pamelists," even eclipsing the sensational factional politics of the day. Preached for its morality, and denounced as pornography in disguise, it vividly describes a young servant's long resistance to the attempts of her predatory master to seduce her. Written in the voice of its low-born heroine, Pamela is not only a work of pioneering psychological complexity, but also a compelling and provocative study of power and its abuse.
In a series of letters to her parents, 15-year-old Pamela Andrews recounts her tribulations as a servant in the house of Mr. B. The infatuated master's repeated attempts at seduction―foiled again and again by the quick-witted maid―lead to Pamela's abduction and imprisonment in a remote country house, where the unlikely couple truly come to know one another. Samuel Richardson, one of England's early novelists, published Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded anonymously in 1740. The first bestseller in English fiction, Pamela excited a storm of controversy, in which it was both denounced as thinly veiled pornography and praised for setting an example of righteous conduct. Its publication marks a defining moment in the development of the modern novel, in which the genre suddenly and irrevocably developed the potential for moral seriousness. Three centuries later, Richardson's novel remains an engaging tale of psychological complexity.
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