Samuel Richardson

Samuel Richardson

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Samuel Richardson

Samuel Richardson

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Excerpt

In the preceding chapter, Richardson's account of the origin of his first novel was purposely suspended in order to pursue the story of the collection of Familiar Letters which he had undertaken to prepare for Messrs. Rivington and Osborn. That account is now resumed. "In the progress of it [the collection]," -- he goes on to say, -- "writing two or three letters to instruct handsome girls, who were obliged to go out to service, as we phrase it, how to avoid the snares that might be laid against their virtue," -- a story which he had heard many years before recurred to his thoughts. "And hence sprung Pamela ." "Little did I think, at first," he adds elsewhere, "of making one, much less two volumes of it." . . . "I thought the story, if written in an easy and natural manner, suitably to the simplicity of it, might possibly introduce a new species of writing, that might possibly turn young people into a course of reading different from the pomp and parade of romance-writing, and dismissing the improbable and marvellous, with which novels generally abound, might tend to promote the cause of religion and virtue." His wife, with a young lady friend who lived with them, grew interested in the book during its progress, and were in the habit of . . .

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