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date: 25 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The impact of Samuel Richardson’s best-seller, Pamela (1740), on eighteenth-century novel-writing cannot be exaggerated. It was a prime target for pirated editions, some of which included unauthorized additional material and illustrations, and for spurious continuations. Henry Fielding, Eliza Haywood, and John Cleland were among the many contemporary authors who wrote novels responding to Pamela: Shamela (1741), Anti-Pamela (1741), and Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1748–9). The controversy over its merits which raged in the early 1740s was still alive in the early 1800s. Richardson’s attempts to manage the controversy through repeated textual revisions were ultimately futile: the text read by many nineteenth-century and twentieth-century readers was one not prepared by Richardson but an abridgement, first published by the entrepreneurial bookseller Charles Cooke.

Keywords: Samuel Richardson, Pamela, Henry Fielding, controversy, continuation, piracy, revision

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