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Where does Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
What was one of the most memorable moments of Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded?
The turning point of this massive comic novel novel is when Mr. B. morphs from lascivious villain into romantic hero. (If you know Richardson, it's when he transforms from Lovelace into Sir Charles Grandison.) But the most memorable aspect of the novel itself is Pamela's transformation from potential victim to powerful Sheherazade, enrapturing her would-be seducer with the art and charm of her writing, which opens a window into her fine character and witty mind. Before we are done, not only Mr. B., but his sister (in herself a fascinating character) are breathlessly awaiting new installments of Pamela's story in letters, as a rarified form of entertainment. This was the first really great age of novels and compulsive letter writing, and Pamela reflects these cultural trends exquisitely. In addition, the dialog is as good as a play.
Have you listened to any of Clare Corbett and Full Cast ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No. But I will happily buy her reading other classics as they appear. She was superb.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The whole book is moving, entertaining, instructive and fun. It's a slice of 18th century life, complete with descriptions of what they ate, wore, how they recreated, what they read, how they conducted their social rituals, and most importantly, how they spoke. It's a valentine to the elegance and precision of the English language.
Any additional comments?
Unless you adore 18th century novels and have read quite a few, the groundbreaking qualities of this one won't be apparent. There's a reason why ministers across England preached against this naughty and subversive book, that suggested the possibility of upward social mobility through marriage with the gentry, and thus infuriated so many. The flirtatious and sly eroticism of the book is amply counterbalanced by religious and ethical lessons and codes of proper behavior, effectively shielding Richardson from the accusation of corruptor of public morals.
This was a very good book! Interesting. Never have I ever read something as different as this story. Definitely recommend.
Bless Clare Corbett, she is a wonderful narrator, but she has precious little to work with.
Pamela has barely enough plot or substance for a short story, but Richardson managed to stretch this out to a 600-page behemoth. The format of the novel - a series of letters from Pamela to her parents - seems interesting at first, but becomes unbearable when Richardson wants to impart some moral lesson on the reader (which is very often). As our narrator is a teenage girl of limited life experience, every time 'lofty' ideas are introduced Pamela first has a discussion with some wiser character and then draws up a convoluted bullet-point list of what it means to be a good wife, for example. Even with allowances for a different age and style, this is just dreadful writing.
The storyline itself is appalling. Pamela is subjected to physical and mental torture, including attempted rape, but her go-to response is to pray for everyone and (SPOILER) she marries her sadistic captor in the end, so that's all good, I guess.
Clare Corbett is a joy. She attempts to inject as much emotion and character as possible into a series of very similar and repetitive scenes and I wouldn't have made it to the end without her.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
A fabulous reading of a highly historically significant book which can be a difficult read due to its length. Highly recommended.