Sunday 9 October 2016

Book Review: Pamela by Samuel Richardson

Title: Pamela
Author: Samuel Richardson
Publisher: Oxford World Classics
Publication Date: 2008 (1740)

Pages: 546
Format: Paperback
Genre: Classic Fiction
Source: Gift

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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.(Goodreads Synopsis)

Pamela is a book which I loved at first but grew less enthused about as it went on. I think the problem is that I liked it when the Master tormented Pamela; however, I lost interest once he mended his ways. I imagine I will prefer Clarissa when I get around to reading that. I've already seen a TV adaptation of Clarissa, so I know it's much gloomier. I do enjoy the 18th century epistolary-style novels, though, and Pamela is a good example of that. It was simply the plot, and not the prose, that made me lose interest about two thirds through.

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