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Transcript of Samuel Richardson
1689-1761 "Yet there is a secret pleasure one has to hear one's self praised"
"Eppure un certo segreto piacere si prova a sentirsi lodare."
(Pamela, I part, IV letter) The Author Samuel Richardson was born in 1689 in Derbyshire of a puritan commercial middle-class family that was forced to abandon London in 1685.
He became a great printer in the first part of life and opened his own printing shop. Richardson lost his first wife along with their five sons and remarried. He had four daughters from his second marriage but they didn't manage to continue running the shop. It was during this period, at the age of 50, that he was asked to wright a volume of model letters to be used by "country readers", who were not educated enough to wright by themselves While working on this volume he had the idea of using the epistolary technique to tell a story he had heard about the real case of serving maid whose virtue had been unsuccessfully attacked by an unscrupulous man His masterpiece "Pamela" was inspired by this story The moralizing aim His novels are set in a realistic domestic middle-class environment and are the dramatic representation of the ethics : common sense good manners modesty Heavy moralizing tendency which reflect the puritan middle-class scheme of reward for virtue and punishment for sins He avoided episodic plots by basing his novels on a single action, a courtship Characterization In Richardson's work there is psychological analysis, missing from most of the previous fiction
The reader is taken inside the mind of the characters and is invited to share their innermost thoughts, feelings and moods In contrast to Defoe's novels, there is also a sense of individual development within the story Characters are round and dynamic and the reader is a witness of their development The Epistolary Novel 'Pamela', 'Clarissa' and 'Sir Charles Grandison' are written in the form of letters exchanged between the main characters.
In fact, letters were on vogue in that period and were used until Jane Austen made the technique of the omniscient narrator popular Narrative technique The "epistolary way" chosen by Richardson uses the first person throw personal letters and journals, provides different individual points of view on the same event. IMMEDIACY The reader is implicitly invited to believe that the letters are as they read them as they were in the very act of composition PAMELA, OR VIRTUE REWARDED PLOT CHARACTERS STYLE AND POPULARITY The title of this novel is significant in itself: not virtue for itself but for what it brings about, "virtue rewarded.
Pamela is a collection of letters written by a virtuous girl to her parents. Her letters record her various moods and feeling as she resists her late mistress's son's attempts at seducing her and gains from him, as a reward, a proposal of marriage which she accepts, becoming rich and obtaining the social position that, according to the puritan bourgeois ideal of the age, was the highest achievement in life. The plot is very simple and it is probably the first time that a novel is built around the interrelation between the two main characters belonging to different social classes The main character is Pamela. She is a round character because she has some changes in her personality. She is practical, humble and passionate, but intolerant of injustice. Mr B. is round too and reflects contemporary male superiority.
This story offers compensations for the monotonous work and limited perspective of ordinary life. SHE BEHAVED IN A CERTAIN WAY THAT SHE WAS REWARDED. SHE FOLLOWED HER REASON: IN FACT, RICHARDSON WROTE HIS MASTERPIECE DURING THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT Everyone can behave virtuously following his own reason. The form which the author adopted is: "a series of familiar letters".
The writer places himself in the position of an editor, arranging and publishing letters To us today the novel may seem tedious and unconvincingly moralizing.
Yet it was immensely popular and it was a remarkable breakthrough, a breach in a rigid and discriminating class system.
The novel also comments on the sexual and social inequality of women.