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Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson
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by Samuel Richardson


Samuel Richardson, the first, in order of time, of the great English
novelists, was born in 1689 and died at London in 1761. He was a printer
by trade, and rose to be master of the Stationers' Company. That he also
became a novelist was due to his skill as a letter-writer, which brought
him, in his fiftieth year, a commission to write a volume of model
"familiar letters" as an aid to persons too illiterate to compose their
own. The notion of connecting these letters by a story which had
interested him suggested the plot of "Pamela" and determined its
epistolary form--a form which was retained in his later works.

This novel (published 1740) created an epoch in the history of English
fiction, and, with its successors, exerted a wide influence upon
Continental literature. It is appropriately included in a series which
is designed to form a group of studies of English life by the masters of
English fiction. For it marked the transition from the novel of
adventure to the novel of character--from the narration of entertaining