Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Pamela: or, virtue reworded: The texts, paratexts, and revisions that redefine Samuel Richardson's “Pamela”
by Hurlbert, Jarrod, Ph.D., Marquette University, 2012, 529; 3503401
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation is a study of the revisions Samuel Richardson made to his first novel, Pamela, and its sequel, Pamela in Her Exalted Condition, published within his lifetime. Richardson, who was his own printer, revised Pamela eight times over twenty years, the sequel three times, and the majority of the variants have hitherto suffered from critical neglect. Because it is well known that Richardson responded to friendly and antagonistic "collaborators" by making emendations, I also examine the extant documents that played a role in Pamela's development, including Richardson's correspondence and contemporary criticisms of the novel. Pamela Reworded, then, is an explanation, exhibition, and interpretation of what Richardson revised, why he revised, and, more importantly, how the revisions affect one's understanding of the novel and its characters.

While studies of Pamela's composition history have been thoroughly discussed in Richardson biographies, and the influence of Richardson's contemporaries on the novel's revisions has been examined, a comprehensive study of the variants and their impact on the narrative has remained in a scholarly limbo between textual and literary criticism. My collation is supported by documentary evidence about the text, including relevant contemporary conversations, in an attempt to illustrate the evolution of the novel through its different editions, and an exhibition of the variants is further supported by literary analysis. This exploration of why Richardson emended Pamela and what he changed informs how the revisions impact the novel and its characters. The results indicate that he typically revised in similar ways in subsequent editions, but at different times he had different intentions, and the changes he made serve different purposes. As a result, I contend that new and even contradictory perspectives of the novel's hero and heroine emerge. Consequently, this dissertation opens up additional opportunities in the study of Pamela and, perhaps, the eighteenth-century novel as well.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rivero, Albert J.
Commitee: Karian, Stephen, Machan, Tim W.
School: Marquette University
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Wisconsin
Source: DAI-A 73/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: British and Irish literature
Keywords: Language, Linguistics, Novel, Pamela, Paratexts, Richardson, Samuel, Textual criticism
Publication Number: 3503401
ISBN: 978-1-267-26972-0
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