Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded (Oxford World's Classics)
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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.
Based on the original text of 1740, from which Richardson later retreated in a series of defensive revisions, this edition makes available the version of Pamela that aroused such widespread controversy on its first appearance.
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would not look, as if either I confided too much in my own Strength, or would tempt my Ruin? And as if I was not in earnest to wish myself safe and out of Danger?—And then, how long am I to stay? And to what Purpose? And in what Light must I appear to the World? Would not that censure me, altho’ I might be innocent? And you will allow, Sir, that if there be any thing valuable or exemplary in a good Name, or fair Reputation, one must not despise the World’s Censure, if one can avoid it. Well,
eighteenth-century taste. Passing reference has already been made to the muting of both social protest and non-standard language in early editions of John Clare, and the more recent project of restoring to view the strident, unpunctuated dialect of Clare’s manuscript poems is a relevant instance of the gains to be made by recognizing the textual authority, warts and all, of an author’s primary utterance.58 Analogies with Clare will go only so far, but other cases too show the value of restoring
Let no thwarting Accident, no cross Fortune, (for we must not expect to be exempt from such, happy as we now are in each other!) deprive this sweet Face of this its principal Grace: And when any thing unpleasing happens, in a quarter of an Hour, at farthest, begin to mistrust yourself, and apply to your Glass; and if you see a Gloom arising, or arisen, banish it instantly, smooth your dear Countenance, resume your former Composure; and then, my Dearest, whose Heart must always be seen in her
not think of leaving my Service; for, says she, in all Likelihood, you behav’d so virtuously, that he will be asham’d of what he has done, and never offer the like to you again: Tho’, my dear Pamela, said she, I fear more for your Prettiness than for any thing else; because the best Man in the Land might love you; so she was pleased to say. She said she wished it was in her Power to live independent; that then she would take a little private House, and I should live with her like her Daughter.
was writing, he said, Let me have a Word or two with you, my sweet little Mistress (for so these two good old Gentlemen often call me; for I believe they love me dearly): I hear bad News; that we are going to lose you: I hope it is not true. Yes, it is, Sir, said I; but I was in Hopes it would not be known till I went away. What a D—l, said he, ails our Master of late! I never saw such an Alteration in any Man in my Life! He is pleas’d with nobody, as I see; and by what Mr. Jonathan tells me