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Pamela (Everyman's library, ed. by Ernest Rhys. Fiction. [no. 683-684]) Unknown Binding – 1933

3.3 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: E.P. Dutton & co., inc (1933)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006ANW1I
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Product Description

Pamela (Everyman's library, ed. by Ernest Rhys. Fiction. [no. 683-684])

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
One of the hardest books I've ever read - not because of difficult content or language, but sheer length and the inability to end!

My edition was 450 pages of minuscule type, no chapter breaks, thin paper. A mountain of a book to conquer, but I was determined I would finish this and be able to SAY I'd finished this.

It is worth it, such a famous and trend-setting novel. But it is frustrating for a modern reader to put themselves through.

In epistolary (letter) form, servant Pamela writes to her poverty-stricken parents of her trials beating of the advances of her (dead) mistress's son, her master, who takes a shine to the teenage employee.

Her faith, her pride, her horror of dishonour all conjoin in her letters to show us a determined young lady. Her master tries every trick in the book (outright physical assault, hiding in Pamela's room, through to kidnap!) but fainting, arguing and pleas for mercy fend off his attempts. Can Pamela's charms and determination outlast his ardour?

I did like this, but it DOES go on forever. It's hard to believe just what 'Mr B' tries in order to seduce/force himself on Pamela. And that she's successful for so long.

The story takes a turn partway and the pair emerge into a new relationship, one very much of another era, which is fascinating as much as it is hard to understand in this day and age. There are instances where I could see the influences on both Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, with lines, characters and plot-lines that their authors could have taken from Richardson's work.

The religion is hard to swallow for a modern non-believer, with one particular line about atheists both hilarious and offensive.
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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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