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An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews

Henry Fielding

Book Overview: 

An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews, or simply Shamela, as it is more commonly known, is a satirical novel written by Henry Fielding under the name of Mr. Conny Keyber. Fielding never owned to writing the work, but it is widely considered to be his. It is a direct attack on the then-popular novel Pamela by Fielding's contemporary and rival Samuel Richardson and is composed, like Pamela, in epistolary form. Shamela is written as a shocking revelation of the true events which took place in the life of Pamela Andrews, the main heroine of Pamela. From Shamela we learn that, instead of being a kind, humble, and chaste servant-girl, Pamela (whose true name turns out to be Shamela) is in fact a wicked and lascivious creature, scheming to entrap her master, Squire Booby, into marriage. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Emotion, unless by one of my Age and Temper, who can see the Girl lie on her Back, with one Arm round Mrs. Jewkes and the other round the Squire, naked in Bed, with his Hand on her Breasts, &c. with as much Indifference as I read any other Page in the whole Novel. But surely this, and some other Descriptions, will not be put into the hands of his Daughter by any wise Man, though I believe it will be difficult for him to keep them from her; especially if the Clergy in Town have cried and preached it up as you say.

But, my Friend, the whole Narrative is such a Misrepresentation of Facts, such a Perversion of Truth, as you will, I am perswaded, agree, as soon as you have perused the Papers I now inclose to you, that I hope you or some other well-disposed Person, will communicate these Papers to the Publick, that this little Jade may not impose on the World, as she hath on her Master.

The true name of this Wench was Shamela, and not Pamela, as. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This "novel" is far more meaningful in the context of its parodic namesake, Pamela. Straddling cynicism and satire, Fielding delivers an anti-plot with a lot of laughs, but does not have much of his own story. Shamela still manages to be a good read.

Well! That was unexpected!
For every Twilight, there is Nightlight: A Parody...even in the 1740s!
Bawdy, vulgar, and occasionally laugh out loud funny, it almost makes up for reading Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded. The more I think about it, the more funny I find it that someone felt the same way I did about Pamela, even back then!...more

I can see how this must have been very funny and interesting at the time, however I found it somewhat over the top as a parody and did not really enjoy it. It's really short, though, so that made me finish it after all and it is interesting in study-terms: to see what some people found incredible...more

This is absolutely hilarious!! Fielding does in 40 or 50 pages what Richardson didn't do in 500!! This is so great! Shamela's "vartue" killed me and it's just such a joke; the ploy of virtue on Shamela's part to get B's (or Booby as he's called) money by marrying him. And i think the ending is ab...more

Very funny! Fielding manages to parody Pamela in fifty pages (bless) very well. Not a stand-alone though, and would only recommend reading it after reading Pamela.

I thought Pamela was wild but that does not hold a candle to this. This is truly the most buck wild thing I've ever read. This has got to be the most on-the-nose, scathing satire I've ever read. You could practically see Fielding furiously scribbling with one hand and flipping Richardson off with...more

If you have ever had the misfortune of suffering through Pamela: or Virtue Rewarded (most likely in a college English course), then An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews may be what is needed to wash the lasting bad taste from your mouth.

If Samuel Richardson’s Pamela was one of the first examples of the En...more

A very funny spoof of Richardson's "Pamela".

Well, it's certainly better than Pamela was. I laughed a few times. If you've slogged through all of Pamela, you might as well blitz through this too; it's only 50 pages or so.

This is hilarious. It totally makes reading all of Pamela worthwhile.

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