Fifteen-year-old Pamela Andrews, alone and unprotected, is relentlessly pursued by her dead mistress's son. Although she is attracted to young Mr B., she holds out against his demands and threats of abduction and rape, determined to defend her virginity and abide by her own moral standards. Psychologically acute in its investigations of sex, freedom and power Richardson's first novel caused a sensation when it was first published, with its depiction of a servant heroine who dares to assert herself. Richly comic and full of lively scenes and descriptions, Pamela contains of diverse cast of characters, ranging from the vulgar and malevolent Mrs Jewkes to the aggressive but awkward country squire who serves this unusual love story as both its villain and its hero.
This edition incorporates all the revisions made by Richardson in his lifetime. Margaret A. Doody's introduction discusses the genre of epistolary novels, and examines characterisation, the role of women and class differences in Pamela.
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.
Considering that it was first published more than 250 years ago, Pamela is still a shocking book. Written by a man, it is a strong denunciation of a man's abuse of his power over a woman. Pamela is a 14-year-old maid whose mistress, Lady B, has just died. Her young master takes a fancy to Pamela, but his social status naturally means that he can't make honourable advances to her. In a series of letters to her parents, and later in a private journal, Pamela recounts the attempts Mr B makes on her virtue, and her own staunch resistance. Her master eventually abducts Pamela to another house, where she is kept prisoner by the frightful Mrs Jewkes. The outcome is as unlikely as it is satisfactory. For the modern reader, Pamela has strong elements of the ludicrous. The heroine spends most of the book with her apron over her face, bawling her eyes out. And Mr B is an unconvincing villain. His attempts at rape are rather too easily discouraged, and when thwarted he sulks and stamps his feet like a child. The strength of the book, though, is its basic premise: that no human being has the right to exercise power over another to their detriment, whatever their status. (Kirkus UK)
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 544
Published: 26th February 1981
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.38
Edition Number: 1