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Based on actual events, Pamela is the story of a young girl who goes to work in a private residence and finds herself pursued by her employer's son, described as a "gentleman of free principles."
Unfolding through letters, the novel depicts with much feeling Pamela's struggles to decide how to respond to her would-be seducer and to determine her place in society.
Samuel Richardson (1689 - 1761), a prominent London printer, is considered by many the father of the English novel, and Pamela the first modern novel. Following its hugely successful publication in 1740, it went on to become one of the most influential books in literary history, setting the course for the novel for the next century and beyond.
Pamela reflects changing social roles in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, as a rising middle class offered women more choices and as traditional master-servant relationships underwent change.