Richard Gooding


E ver since Dr Peter Shaw's assertion in The Reflector that Pamela had created two factions called Pamelists and anti-Pamelists, the critical orthodoxy about the Pamela vogue has been that it centred on Pamela's chastity and entailed a strict division between admirers and critics of Richardson's heroine. At first, Shaw's remarks certainly look like a fair account of contemporary responses to Pamela. Almost every book, pamphlet, and poem of the Pamela vogue discusses sexual morality and presents itself as an attack on Pamela or as a more authentic account of her life than Richardson's. Even the titles of these works support Shaw's claim of a straightforward division between opposing camps: Fielding's Shamela, Haywood's Anti-Pamela, Parry's True Anti-Pamela, and the anonymous Pamela Censured constituting one side, and Kelly's Pamela's Conduct in High Life, Giffard's Pamela. A Comedy, and three anonymous works-The Life of Pamela, Pamela in High Life: Or, Virtue Rewarded, and Memoirs of the Life of Lady H[esilrige], the Celebrated Pamela--constituting the other.