chapter  Chapter V
35 Pages

Virtue Rewarded

WithSamuel Richardson

The genesis of Pamela was a plan for Samuel Richardson to compose a handbook of letter-writing, which was afterwards published. Richardson makes his whole case for virtue on pious grounds. Richardson’s insistence upon a substantial reward for virtue and the confounding of vice brings Grandison to an oddly tangential conclusion. His achievement was the product of industry rather than the born story-teller’s instinct. Richardson seems to be nearer life in depicting women than in depicting men. He was brought up by an aunt; he had written love-letters for love-stricken but illiterate young women when he was in his early teens; he enjoyed women’s society and talk more than men’s; and when he was blessed with children, they turned out to be all girls. Richardson had little notion of verbal economy. All Richardson’s novels are far too long for anything that the reader can get out of them.