"Pamela" in Context: Commentary on Economics, the State of the Anglican Clergy, and Mental Illness

Open Access
Author:
Davidson, James
Area of Honors:
Interdisciplinary in English and History
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Carla J. Mulford, Thesis Supervisor
  • Cathleen Denise Cahill, Honors Advisor
  • Christopher Gervais Reed, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Pamela or Virtue Rewarded
  • Samuel Richardson
  • Pamela
  • English
  • History
  • 1700
  • Enlightenment
  • England
  • Novel
  • Epistolary Novel
  • Suicide
  • Depression
  • Economy
  • South Sea Bubble
  • Anglican Church
  • Religion
  • London
Abstract:
Samuel Richardson’s novel, Pamela, offers insight on several of the most important topics and events of eighteenth-century English culture and history. A contextual analysis of the novel reveals that it provides commentary on the economic devastation that followed the collapse of the so-called South Sea Bubble, the state of the Anglican church throughout Richardson’s lifetime, and growing British anxiety about suicide and depression. By framing his novel as an instrument of pedagogy, Richardson invites readers to a fictional entertainment that also converses with the readership about life’s contingencies and difficulties.