“The Gentleman who writes Lives, never asked more than a few Names of his Customers, and…he made all the rest out of his own Head.”

Henry Fielding

So, you may remember that a couple of days ago I posted a rather…angry review of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, quite possibly the Worst Book I Have Ever Read. Well, Shamela, written a year later by Henry Fielding (though he never owned up to it) is its antidote.

It casts the saintly Pamela as, in fact, a prostitute’s daughter out to get as much money from her master as possible, while carrying on with the hypocritical Parson Williams on the side, as it were. And though it’s only twenty pages – well, thank God for Fielding, because it’s hilarious and satirical and clever and in almost every way better than Pamela.

It’s only a shame you have to fight through 500 pages of Richardsonian whining to appreciate it.


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