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Samuel Richardson


Samuel Richardson was born in 1689 in Derbyshire into a Puritan commercial middle class family, at the age of 32 he set up his own printing shop and when he was 50 he was asked to write a volume of model letters to be used on various occasions for those who were not educated enough to write them themselves. While working on this volume he had the idea of using the epistolary form to tell a story he had heard of about a serving maid whose virtue was challenged by her unscrupulous master, so he started writing Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded.

In his works there is a psychological analysis, missing in all previous novels, as well as a sense of individual development within the story, characters are round and the reader can witness their development. All of his heroines: Pamela and Clarissa, have in common youth and charm, self will and knowledge together with Christian piety, they venerate truth and defend virtue and perish when they find they are unequal to the conflicting demands of experience, this referred to Clarissa Harlowe, she falls in love with the wrong man, disobeys her family and elopes with a rogue, who rapes her, making her lose her chastity, and when she understands her fault, her inadequacy in society and moral code, she dies out of shame. On the contrary Pamela resists her master's advances and climbs up the social ladder by getting him to marry her.
Richardson's works are in the form of letters exchanged between the main characters, this type of form reflected the new fashion for letter writing. He uses the first person narrative technique through personal letters and journals and provides different points of view on the same event.
The moral code presented by him is very hypocritical, he promotes a calculator, coy behaviour, which is not credible, because the fact that Pamela manages not to give up is not realistic, while Clarissa in much more credible. Although this reflects the Puritan middle class scheme of reward for virtue and punishment for sins, he appreciated modesty, good manners and common sense.
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