Pamela. Samuel Richardson
Hailed as the world's first novel, «Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded» by Samuel Richardson is a gripping tale about a beautiful young maidservant in mid-1700's England. After her employer dies, the employer's son begins making advances toward her. The virtuous girl tries to stave off his advances, but Mr. B's desperation eventually causes him to kidnap her in a misguided attempt to try and make her understand how much he loves her. When he realizes that Pamela is truly a chaste and innocent girl, he begins to treat her in a new and more respectful manner. In return, Pamela forgives her oppressor and tries to show him how to lead a more virtuous life. «Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded» is a novel full of scandal and unease. During its original publication, it shocked audiences with its lurid plot, yet Richardson gathered a large and faithful following of readers. Also present in the novel are themes of virtuosity, morality, and class differences during the Georgian Era of England. In terms of gender biases, Richardson knew that men and women were held to much different standards in terms of ethics, and he used the shock value of Mr. B's actions to call awareness to the hypocritical social environment. Whether one is reading Richardson's «Pamela: Or Virtue Rewarded» for pure pleasure or as an in-depth look at the public climate of 18th century England, it will most assuredly not be a disappointment.