Banned Books Week: Pamela

Great reflection, and a new book on my “I should read this” list. But then, I’m a sucker for reading anything that ended up on one of the Pope’s “forbidden reads” lists…. 🙂

Hannah Reads Books

Pamela Samuel Richardson coverPamela, or Virtue Rewarded is a novel from 1740 written by Samuel Richardson, and the subject of my undergrad thesis. I’m studying its cultural impact. Pamela doesn’t stir up much controversy now, it’s not generally assigned to anyone to read, but when it was first published it was a pretty big deal! A debate raged over the appropriate content of reading matter, and indeed over whether reading was an acceptable pursuit at all. Pamela was quickly placed on the Pope’s Index of Forbidden Books, but that didn’t stop all and sundry from reading it.

Pamela is the story of the titular young servant fending off her employer’s sexual advances, until eventually he’s won over by her titular virtue and reforms his rakish ways, whereupon she agrees to marry him. It’s remarkably graphic, for what I was expecting. Basically it’s one long content note for attempted rapes and slut-shaming — worse even than the…

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