Henry Fielding’s Shamela and Joseph Andrews as Counternarratives to Samuel Richardson’s Pamela

Muhammad, K., Alatrash


This paper sheds light on the immediate counternarrative response to the publication of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela in 1740. Upon its publication, the female servant Pamela gained popularity among readers for her exemplary chastity, morality and virtue. This paper discusses the writings of Henry Fielding as a leading anti-Pamela approach through two subsequent narratives, Shamela (1741) and Joseph Andrews (1742). Fielding and others saw in Pamela a direct threat to 18th-century normative servant-master and aristocrat-bourgeois relations. In his novels, Fielding uses multiple literary motifs to confront Pamela’s readership with their beloved character’s hypocrisy and deception. Through his works, Fielding breaks down Richardson’s narrative to present Pamela as the deceptively structured plot of a hypocritical servant to marry her master and elevate her social status. Fielding bridges his narrative with Richardson’s novel to create a mode of skepticism concerning the moral values of Pamela’s readers. In Joseph Andrews, Fielding extends his criticism, presenting the novel as an offshoot to Richardson’s Pamela and highlighting an alternative reality to expose Pamela’s false images of chastity and virtue.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/wjel.v13n2p393

World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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