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Pamela

Pamela

Written by Samuel Richardson

Narrated by Clare Corbett and Full Cast


Pamela

Written by Samuel Richardson

Narrated by Clare Corbett and Full Cast

ratings:
3/5 (27 ratings)
Length:
21 hours
Released:
Aug 13, 2013
ISBN:
9781843797449
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Pamela, Samuel Richardson’s tale of a beautiful teenage servant-girl protecting her virtue from the amorous advances of her master, created a furore on its publication in 1740. The reading public was split into two factions: those who accepted the story as an encouragement to virtuous behaviour, and those who saw it as disguised pornography. Written in the form of a series of letters from Pamela to her parents, Pamela is a landmark in the development of the English novel.
Released:
Aug 13, 2013
ISBN:
9781843797449
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


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What people think about Pamela

3.1
27 ratings / 20 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (2/5)
    A classic novel that didn't live up to expectations.
  • (3/5)
    To read Pamela Andrews's's letters to her parents you have to surmise she is a really good girl. Who, as a fifteen year old maidservant, sends money home to his or her parents these days? Exactly. Keep in mind this was written in 1740.Back to Good Girl Pamela. The trouble doesn't really begin for Pamela until her mistress passes away and young Pamela is left deal with the grieving son...only he is not so distraught as one would think. As soon as his mother has passed, his advances while subtle are enough to cause Pamela's parents concern, especially for...you guessed it...her father. Some things haven't changed after all. Maybe dad is thinking as a man instead of a parent when he begins to urge his daughter to come home. Those urgings become more insistent the more Pamela tells them about her employer, Mr. B. After several assaults and an extended "kidnapping" and after Pamela repeatedly tries to return to the safety of her parents, Mr. B. reforms and finally wins Pamela's heart the proper way.
  • (4/5)
    This book is considered the first English novel. It was highly successful upon its publication in 1740. It is a morality tale, a classic romance, and clearly a precursor to many well known, other novels. A young woman is in service to a wealthy family and the profligate son becomes determined to possess her. In a series of letters from the young woman to her parents, her tale is told. While there are a few stylistic aspects I found frustrating, such as summarizing details from prior events enumerated in the letters, the story moved quickly and for the most part held my attention. In many ways a 3 star read, I gave it 4 because of its historical interest, and who doesn't love a good old, sexist romance?!
  • (4/5)
    A fascinating book, this tells the story of a young, poor woman, employed as a ladies maid, fighting off the advances of her employer's gentleman son, until, rather miraculously, they marry and are accepted in society. Written in the mid 1700s, the book was cited by Stephen Pinker as a milestone in the development of empathy and the ability to see the world from another's point of view. Pinker associates books such as Pamela as critical in the broader development of empathy, and contributing to the reduction in cruelty in punishments, and a reduction in violence more generally.The author's objectives were simpler - to set out a virtuous life and to show its rewards. In case the point has been missed by the reader, he helpfully sets out the key issues in numbered points on more than one occasion.The book is set in its own time, and may seem dated - but the Harvey Weinstein revelations suggest that men with power still take advantage of women without power. Maybe this universal will follow the Pinker rule and diminish as the world become more attuned to the impact of such behavior.So, long, didactic, but absolutely worth the time to read and enjoy.Read Nov 2017
  • (3/5)
    I did it!! It took me 4.5 weeks, but I READ PAMELA!

    I actually enjoyed the first half or so, as Pamela tried to find her new place in the household; and then as she tried to negotiate an escape. But the last 150 pages was just a slog. The book got too preachy (the rules, ugh!), and too dragged out as Pamela put off the marriage, and put off the marriage, and then had to slowly meet the neighbors, and then meet another set of neighbors at another house. And so on.

    I found the most interesting things to be
    1) that Mr B's behavior in the first half of the book was acceptable--now I know that trying to seduce his young servant might actually have been unusual in that he did not just rape her or use his power over her job to seduce her. But kidnapping? Holding her against her and her parents' will?
    2) the slow pace of life. As Pamela is kept a prisoner for weeks, all she can do is write. Write and wait. Hope her letters get to her parents, hope they got her earlier letters. And what did she do all day? Just write? She was not working, nor exploring, nor reading. Just writing and sitting around? That must have been unusual--and boring--for a girl used to working, just as we today would have issues with all of the waiting to hear.

    Phew! I am so glad to be done, but I am also so glad to have read this.
  • (4/5)
    Was a bit nervous about starting this book cause I've heard of its reputation for being very long. But I'm glad I did because it surprisingly kept my attention. My library has it in two seperate volumes, and I finished all of the first one...normally I get bored with books like this and don't even get much past the first 50 pages. But I enjoyed this one very much! I don't know if it's because it was written from a woman's perspective or what but I liked it! I just wish 15 year old girls valued their virtue just as fiercely today as they did in the 1740's....
  • (3/5)
    Well, look, I wouldn't suggest anyone read this. It's feels even longer than it is, and he's not exactly Jane Austen with the style. But it's worth having read, I think; and I look forward to reading parodies of it (Fielding's Shamela, for instance) with the pain of having read this behind me.
  • (1/5)
    This was the worst book I have ever read. Pamela is a sick individual with the curse of unnecessary gab that easily bores the reader to tears and later infuriates when... spoiler alert... she goes Stockholm Syndrome on her captor after spending half the book hating him. Then, the remaining half of the book is pointless. It took me 4 months of dreading to read this book to finish. I hate this book. Ugh.
  • (5/5)
    If you're into BDSM you're going to love this novel. If your urges don't run that way then you'll probably not 'get' it. I loved it. Richardson re-wrote it three times in an attempt to make it less shocking. It's therefore worthwhile reading the first edition text, which is what the OUP edition contains.I had read Tom Jones and wanted to read Shamela & Joseph Andrews too but realising they depended on this, obtained a copy. If I’m honest I expected nothing more from this book than historical interest but what I got was an intellectual and emotional rollercoaster ride.I began reading in a state of extreme cynicism. How much of what Pamela writes should I believe? Who tells their parents the truth, after all? I later concluded you were by and large expected to believe her, but she doesn’t always tell you everything. I was also cynical of Richardson’s motives in writing the book. His manipulation of the press and later revisions to suit the taste of the public; these made me wonder if he was simply trying to make money. My opinion on this also changed as I realised he’s writing about matters that really do concern him.Everything in Pamela comes in pairs: good and evil; predator and prey; man and woman; straight and gay; master and slave. So I conceived a great respect for the book. Then I found myself horrified by the treatment Pamela is subjected to. Mr B’s really quite evil and those scenes where he bullies her are very well done.Now, I don’t want to give away to much, but if you’ve read the introduction at the front of this volume then you’ve already been helpfully informed of the entire plot...At the beginning Pamela can leave at any time. Later she uses the unfinished waistcoat as an excuse the stay. Then she pretends two cows are bulls so she cannot escape across the field. Finally she is presented with the opportunity of suicide and again she declines escape. I think it’s important to realise that Pamela is a willing slave. This is a relationship between two consenting adults. Is this the first English novel? Maybe. Is it the first BDSM novel? Certainly. The sequence concludes with Mr B granting Pamela her freedom and she returns of her own will. As soon as Mr B can be sure she is doing this willingly and she has shown her submission and faithfulness by enduring anything her master wishes to subject her to, she is rewarded by nice behaviour from him. Fantastic stuff. I am a Pamelist!Interestingly the introduction appears to consider the waistcoat in particular to be a flaw. Keymer has entirely misunderstood what’s going on. Maybe he's not into being chained up and whipped. I have to say though that the introduction does notice things that I had missed. I think this is perhaps one of the reasons why this is a Great Novel: it can be read in more than one way.
  • (3/5)
    I read it because it was a bestseller after it was published in 1740. I read it because it was the first novel of its kind. As a romance writer, I was curious about it. As a writer of historicals, I wanted to study the style of the language of that time.

    I can't say this book was easy to read. The characters and the plot are too contrived. The hero was such a rat, I had a tough time believing he would ever turn around. Since the story is told through letters Pamela has written to her parents, it is also difficult to believe she had so much time to write everything down, in minute detail, including conversations. Pamela does go through quite an ordeal and her firm moral beliefs and religious faith buoy her up through her hardships.

    For the book's historical significance, this was an intriguing read, a look backward into time, and for that reason I recommend it.
  • (1/5)
    When I read classics, it's not all about just reading them. I'm also really trying to discover what's made them classics. I want to know why people like them so much. And I can usually figure something out; that's why I end up with so many five star reviews. But this? This piece of shit escapes me.

    The first half is entertaining enough, as the vaguely-named Mr. B---- kidnaps a servant and tries to steal her titular virtue. There are dastardly schemes and narrow escapes, and he makes a good villain, as does the vile Mrs. Jewkes, his accomplice.

    Around halfway through, as plots and threats have failed to pierce Pamela's iron hymen, he changes his strategy: the carrot instead of the stick, so to speak. And Richardson has laid enough clues to make us suspect the wolf can't change his ways, so there's some suspense as we wait to see what new depths he's sunk to, and whether Pamela will escape with her virtue intact. (Not that the title leaves us much in doubt.) But then...

    nothing happens. It turns out he actually has changed his ways, and the last 300 pages of the book is nothing but them batting their eyes at each other. "Oh sir, you are so kind and pleasant, I shall never grow tired of you!" "But it's only your dear, sweet virtue, my beloved, that has made me into this paragon of spousely excellence!" "Oh, but it's only your excellence that makes me love you with such virtue!" "But if it weren't for your virtue, I fear I should never have become such a prince of love!" Leave aside the fact that his prior behavior has been so criminal that it's utterly impossible to feel anything but horror that she ends up marrying him; the bigger problem is how fucking tedious it is.

    Don't misunderstand me here: nothing else happens. Nothing. That's it, on and on, for hundreds of awful pages. There are parts of Atlas Shrugged that are better than the latter half of this book. It sucks so hard, man. I'm so sad that I read it.

    So why is Pamela on every list of 18th century British novels that's more than three books long? One theory is that I'm the peanut gallery and the book is good. Another is this: Richardson was a rich and influential printer, and he engineered a media blitz (this did happen); the result was such a blockbuster that future generations have just kept assuming the prior ones must have seen something in it. (Yes, that implies that your great-grandchildren will study Avatar in their History of American Cinema classes, despite Avatar being a fucking stupid movie.) All I can do is promise you that this vicious cycle ends with me.

    Do not read this book.
  • (2/5)
    What better way to spend your time than reading the fictional letters of a self-pitying beacon of supposed morality that marries her potential rapist? Finishing this book made me feel like I had accomplished something massive.
  • (5/5)
    I had to read this book for my British Novel Class and I enjoyed it. Pamela is a sweet overly dramatic character that at times she makes you want to strangle her and other times she has you busting your gut open because your laughing so hard. Pamela is a long read and I had to read it in a week and had to go back and read it later to get the parts I missed. I recommend this book for any one who likes the classics.
  • (1/5)
    Good lord, this book goes on and on and on. I mean, the plot is at least mildly interesting while it's going on, but then it abruptly ends halfway through! And then, for the next 300 PAGES, all you get is Pamela and Mr. B's constant purrs of "You're the greatest!", "No, YOU'RE the greatest!", "No, you!", "YOU!". And of course, who can forget the the whole absurd Stockholm syndrome Pamela ends up exhibiting when she decides that after being nearly raped half a dozen times, kidnapped, spirited away from her loving, doting parents, beaten and censored on behalf of her "kind master's" orders, she decides she can't live without him and goes back! Because, what - he was rich and handsome enough that when he repented of (and I can't stress this enough) REPEATEDLY TRYING TO RAPE HER, and nearly succeeding, to the point that he showed up half-naked in her bed and her paroxysm of fright was the only thing that protected her oft-mentioned maidenhead, he's instantly redeemed and she loves him for it! It's just ridiculous.
  • (3/5)
    The first time I read Pamela, I disliked it intensely. The second time I read it, I was able to focus less on the plot and more on everything else. I think if you go into it not expecting to like the protagonist or the main male character (I hesitate to call him a protagonist or hero as he's definitely not a good guy), then you can enjoy the rest.I found myself thinking about the style, the voice, the period, and the fact that this book could be accepted in this period (though it was also satirized).A good read if you're looking for something different, historical, and a bit slow/frustrating. Otherwise, I'd avoid both Pamela and Clarissa, and try The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless by Eliza Haywood or Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe for more engaging and less annoying/depressing stories about young women in the period.
  • (4/5)
    Pamela MUST be read with an eye on the historical context of the novel. It has no appeal to the modern reader aside from the comical and farcical ways in which Pamela and her master dance around one another. The plot is paper thin yet the book is the size of Yellow Pages. What is Richardson trying to tell the readers? The answer is evident in the subtitle "Virtue Rewarded". Again, context and history is everything to this book. The character of Pamela infuriated me at times but in the end I just had to laugh. I'm inclined to think Richardson knew exactly what he was doing.
  • (3/5)
    A pretty interesting glimpse into the standards and values of a certain time period. I was interested enough in the story to keep reading when I should have been eating, sleeping, or otherwise; but the moral it teaches and the "happy ending" are difficult to swallow as well. So again, an interesting look at a different culture than ours!
  • (4/5)
    Pamela Andrews is often seen as the ultimate goody-goody and the label is not without some merit. Obsessively pursued by her employer Mr. B, Pamela loudly and constantly proclaims that she'd rather die and then usually lectures him on Christian values and his responsibilities. But she can be witty and satirical in her journal, as well as melodramatic and hypocritical. Pamela is quite contradictory at times, especially in her insane marriage to the guilty-of-attempted-rape Mr. B. Everyone else thinks it's insane as well but not for the same reasons.Richardson's epistolary novel starts out as the correspondence between Pamela and her parents, then continues with her journal entries. While the author mostly stands back and lets Pamela do the narrating, simply asserting that the letters are true - they obviously aren't. She's able to exactly detail what goes on and even copies entire letters into her journal. Later on, they actually take on a life of their own when she sends/is prevented from sending them, hides her writing and finally they end up affecting the story when Mr. B reads her writing and feels guilty for causing so much suffering on Pamela's part. Powerless in her role as a servant far from her family, Pamela is able to assert herself in her writing. Her journals and letters finally make Mr. B change his behavior towards her, which no amount of protesting would do before. In a sense, her writing is turning her tumult inward, but in a way that is accessible to others. Readers can recognize Mr. B's reprehensible actions, but he can't, not until he also reads them. After all, he's done stuff like this before - one time described in the book, but probably many other times, so why should Pamela be any different? Reading her thoughts is the uncomfortable catalyst in this case.At the opening of the book, Pamela's benefactor - Mr. B's mother - has died but her keeps her on. She writes about the attention he shows her, which she appreciates at first. Then it becomes clear that he has only one thing on the mind, and Pamela decides to leave. However, 'leaving' takes a while because she finds various reasons to delay. First, she thinks maybe he's learned his lesson, then she want to finish work she's been doing with the housekeeper Mrs. Jervis, then she can't get a ride home. This list probably helped fuel the idea that Pamela is a conniving mercenary out to trap Mr. B in a marriage.She finally leaves, but Mr. B diverts her to another of his estates. Pamela makes several attempts to escape while maintaining her sanity through writing. Mr. B comes back and somehow or another they end up married. Later, she comes up against another rage-filled member of the family, Mr. B's sister Lady Davers.The subtitle of the novel is Virtue Rewarded, but it doesn't seem like Pamela's marriage was much of a reward. Unless, of course, she was mercenary - then it wouldn't matter what her husband was like as long as he had money. Both Mr. B and Pamela expect that she'll be the good one in their life together - she has to make allowances for him and can try to help him, but not in a way that hurts his pride. The pair has some dated ideas about class. Pamela is overly conscious of her lowly position and has an intense fear of offending. She thinks that she is 'beneath' Mr. B and that he lowers himself by pursuing her (yeah, that does sound bad). However, some ideas of Christian equality and virtue are always uppermost in her mind. Pamela argues that Mr. B doesn't have a right over her. One time she argues that if she were a wealthy, noble lady, she'd never marry Mr. B after the way her treated her. Since she does, it's hard to say whether she just gave in to emotion or thinks it's okay because of her status. Mr. B has another mixed view of the class system. He defies society (prob due to a combination of obsessive lust and recognition of Pamela's virtues) and marries her. Still, when challenged by his sister, he says that SHE could never marry below her class since only the husband's status determines their position. Also, if the book is intended to teach a lesson, all women would have to faint on command - Pamela prevents Mr. B from raping her when she faints and scares him. But this doesn't seem plausible - you'd have to pretend to faint. Also, who would want to faint if a rapist is lurking around? The epistolary format allows for greater psychological development of the main character, especially in contrast to some 18th c. novels like Moll Flanders, which was all plot no development. Fielding's novels more notable for the entertaining picaresque plot, humor and his great rambling tangents. Also great to read Fielding's Shamela and Joseph Andrews after reading Pamela.
  • (4/5)
    I bought this book because the title was my first name and the author had the same last name. I had absolutely no expectations and I loved it...I was so glad I ran across it!
  • (1/5)
    It honestly shocks me that this was a best seller at the time and it caused a storm with the eighteenth century audience. Were they brain dead? It reminds me how the audience now went crazy over the Da Vinci Code, but really, it's just a load of rubbish. Granted, it was different at the time. 'Robinson Crusoe' was also madly popular, and the public wanted more of this new 'novel' form. This book is mainly an epistolary novel (pioneering attribute in the novel) that tries to convince its readership that there is truth in the words, and that the readers should go away and think about what a good girl Pamela was, and how she was rewarded in the end. So, ladies of the eighteenth century, did you get that? Be pathetic, a lap dog and worship and love those that try to rape you and kidnap you, and you will be rewarded by marrying your kidnapper! Great one! What is terrible about this book is the character of Pamela, who is overly pure and perfect, who takes everything that is thrown her way, is tormented by Mr B constantly, but then decides, that in fact, she loves him! So she goes back, and takes torment from his sister instead! Very good. The character is immensely unbelievable and serves only as a message to the women of the time to obey their men and be like Pamela (which they wouldn't and couldn't have been; no human being can be like Pamela). The worst part of this novel isn't even the issues or morals it sends out, rather, it's the form and style of story telling that it uses. There is no denying that it started the epistolary trend and gave yet more forms of narrating for novel writers, but the context in which it is written in makes the story laughable. Pamela is constantly writing letters. That's right. She writes letters even when she knows no one will read them, and she writes letters as things are happening. She must be writing 20 hours a day. How does she have time to be raped and kidnapped? It's a wonder. It's just common sense. It astonishes me that an author in the time where novel writing was highly looked down upon, and so tried to make their novels seem real, adopted the very narrative that made his book ridiculous. There is hope, however; not all eighteenth century readers were duped by this. If you do get yourself through this awful, dull and boring novel (which is about 500 pages long of nothing), you must reward yourself (you deserve to be rewarded when you torture yourself, remember?!) and read the humorous 'Shamela' and 'Joseph Andrews' by Henry Fielding who took 'Pamela' for what it was: a novel that lacked any credibility. If you have to read this book to find out the roots of the novel, the roots of the novel are simply not worth knowing about.