Information about the author:
Svetlana A. Vatchenko
Svetlana A. Vatchenko, DSc (PhD) in Philology, Associate Professor of World Literature Department, Oles Honchar Dnipro National University.
ORCID ID: https//orcid.org/0000-0001-9677-4980
The article highlights one of the episodes of English literary life in 1740s when Samuel Richardson, a printer, in his 50s, who turned into a novelist and — after having acquainted the readers with the story of a maidservant who rose to the rank of a lady — witnessed both the resounding success and harsh criticism. First published anonymously, his Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded was imitated, “rewritten” and unmercifully criticized. Comic reworking of the sensational story of the heroine titled by unknown author as An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews was considered by Londoners unexpectedly fresh and funny. Its extensive title promised to the public the scandalous unmasking of the deceiver known under the name of Pamela. In circumstances that became crucial for their literary biographies, Richardson and Fielding in Pamela and Shamela, which, through parody, became a live and playful whole, have proposed various modes of “frame ensemble” by their texts. While readers’ emotional delicacy, exalted feeling and belief in virtuous rebirth of the hero ensured access to the artistic universe of Pamela, Fielding’s readers had to meet different requirements: thorough understanding of Shamela comes to those with intellectual breadth and flexible minds, who in many ways seem to be the author’s equal and are sure that the true virtue does not clash with earthly happiness.