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Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 7 Jun 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (7 Jun 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192829602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192829603
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 2.8 x 12.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 615,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Born in 1689, Samuel Richardson was the son of a London joiner. He received little formal education but went on to acheive great acclaim and popularity through his writing. He was married twice, had twelve children, and died in 1761.

M.A Doody is Professor of Literature at the University of Notre Dame, she has published widely on in literary criticism.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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I HAVE had inexpressible Pleasure in the Perusal of your PAMELA. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By T. Gambrell on 12 Jun 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a book that Eighteenth Century scholars have been waiting for for a long time. The Penguin edition (ed. Pater Sabor, 1980) is useful, but it reprints Richardson's heavily revised text. Here we now have the original 1740 edition which caused so much of a stir on its original publication. It is easy to see why Richardson revised the text, as it does come across as vaguely pornographic - or at least titilating - in places, rather defeating the portrayal of virtue recommended by the book as a whole. It is tedious, overlong, affected and melodramatic, but one cannot deny its place as a major creative step in the birth of the novel and that is why it is important to us today. Keymer's edition serves the original text well, with a suitably thorough introduction and explanatory notes. The appendices, as ever, are little gems in themselves and help to make the package more useful to the scholar, whilst also being of interest to the casual reader. This volume can be seen in many ways as the companion to Keymer's revised Oxford Classics edition of Henry Fielding's 'Joseph Andrews and Shamela'. The connection between the books and their authors is well documented, and it has to be said that one of the joys of getting through this book is to be able to pick up 'Shamela' and 'Joseph Andrews' afterwards - or even John Cleland's 'Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure' ('Fanny Hill') - and enjoy a good laugh at Richardson's expence. That's not to say that the novel doesn't have merits in its own right, though. A fine edition of an historic book and a brave read, but you can't help thinking there's a little something special going on at the same time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 10 Sep 2010
Format: Paperback
Pamela is one of those books that always has to appear on undergraduate courses on the history of the novel because it was so influential but it is undoubtedly a book which hasn't stood the tests of time well and which is a difficult book for us to read today. Told in epistolary form, it tells the story of Pamela, a servant girl, pursued obsessively by her master who hides in cupboards, gropes her and rapes her until they finally get married...!

So, ok, the story itself might be pretty offensive to us today and the method of telling is frequently repetitive, but it does tell us quite a lot about the culture, gender relations, and role of literature of the time in which it was written. Realism wasn't necessarily what Richardson was aiming for, and neither is the sort of psychological dimension which appears in the C19th alongside the growth of scientific pyschology.

So this is very much a book which you have to take on its own terms - it certainly won't be for everyone but does have a strange kind of vitality and energy of its own.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kate Saunders on 18 July 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pamela is a novel written in the form of letters and, as in the case of many other stories, is essentially about overwhelming good overcoming evil despite boundaries in class, strength and power.
Pamela is the heroine of the novel and the waffly chatterbox writer of these letters, an extraordinarily beautiful girl of 15, with maturity of mind, a humble heart and a good soul. Throughout the first half of the novel Pamela grapples with her Master known as Mr B, who, bewitched by her beauty, and visibly torn between his pride and dignity as a member of the upper class, and his infatuation with her, attempts to destroy her chastity, using all of his power and status to siege her. The second volume in the novel is more like a traditional romance.
The novel is surprisingly readable considering it's format, in letters, and it is easy to get emotionally caught up in the plot, feeling sympathy for Pamela who at times appears to be a damsel in distress without a trusty handsome prince to save her from her tormentors. Most of the other characters in the novel are very likeable too as Richardson does an excellent job in making his characters very human.
When reading the novel, at points, it felt like it would make a great television series, due to the fact that the movement is very slow throughout the novel and the action seems to occur in isolated incidents. However this can make this read less riveting as often you will need to work at reading this novel, and at over 500 pages long this novel can sometimes be a hard slog.
In Conclusion, however, this is well worth a read, with good morals, a feel-good plot and human, likeable characters, but do not expect this book to read itself. It needs some work, but it's a rewarding read.
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Format: Paperback
Pamela represents a journey into a completely different mind-set and value system to our own times. If you can suspend yourself in the mood of the times it is a tremendous trip and worth a visit. Highly recommended.
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20 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Jun 1998
Format: Paperback
This book should be admired for its innovative use of the epistolary format, however it is an extremely tedious read. Its main goal is to convince the reader that the main character is rewarded in the end of the novel for her adherence to her virtue, but she's so boring and unlikable that you really don't care what happens to her. Richardson's novel is repetitive and unecisarily long, this novel could have been one hundred pages at the longest. For a more interesting read check out Fanny Burney's book Evelina, with its similar theme but much better execution.
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