Samuel Richardson's epistolary novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, published in 1740, tells the story of a young woman's resistance to the desires of her predatory master. Pamela is determined to protect her virginity and remain a paragon of virtue; however, the heroine's moral principles only strengthen the resolve of Mr. B and Pamela soon finds herself imprisoned against her will. The young woman's affection for her captor gradually grows and she becomes aware of a love that combines eros and agape.
Richardson's classic novel created a sensation upon its publication: the novel's radical departure from the traditional comic plot violated convention and its portrayal of a young female servant daring to assert herself proved to be even more controversial. Clare Corbett and cast read from the original, unrevised text that left an indelible mark on the conscience of an entire nation.
Public Domain (P)2013 Naxos AudioBooks
"I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way." - Jane Austen
I love classic books, but I had a rough time with Pamela. I've always wanted to read it, and I'm ultimately glad I slogged through. However, be prepared for it to go on, and on, and on. The plot leaves something to be desired.
The modern woman revolts at Pamela's big "reward." Therefore, you'll have to try hard to appreciate this book in it's historical context.
I highly recommend reading Shamela by Henry Fielding for dessert!
I would recommend reading up until the part where there is a marriage that occurs, but then stop. The majority of the book is a daily listing of everything that happens, and what passes for plot or purpose ends at the aforementioned event. The rest is a didactic pies designed to teach comportment for all situations, and it drags on and on and on and really has no use in modern times. This was quite a let down. Other books from a similar time period have been much more interesting than this one.
"I feel sorry for the narrator"
Bless Clare Corbett, she is a wonderful narrator, but she has precious little to work with.
Pamela has barely enough plot or substance for a short story, but Richardson managed to stretch this out to a 600-page behemoth. The format of the novel - a series of letters from Pamela to her parents - seems interesting at first, but becomes unbearable when Richardson wants to impart some moral lesson on the reader (which is very often). As our narrator is a teenage girl of limited life experience, every time 'lofty' ideas are introduced Pamela first has a discussion with some wiser character and then draws up a convoluted bullet-point list of what it means to be a good wife, for example. Even with allowances for a different age and style, this is just dreadful writing.
The storyline itself is appalling. Pamela is subjected to physical and mental torture, including attempted rape, but her go-to response is to pray for everyone and (SPOILER) she marries her sadistic captor in the end, so that's all good, I guess.
Clare Corbett is a joy. She attempts to inject as much emotion and character as possible into a series of very similar and repetitive scenes and I wouldn't have made it to the end without her.
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