History

Novels & Human Rights Part 8: Causal Links and Conclusion

In the past two weeks, we’ve talked about the different cultural changes taking place in the 1700s, Into this changing cultural milieu came Pamela, popular for all the reasons we’ve discussed before. It interacted with the surrounding culture, establishing necessary foundations for the recognition of human rights. Taking advantage of pre-existing movements toward individualism, Pamela…… Continue reading Novels & Human Rights Part 8: Causal Links and Conclusion

History

Novels & Human Rights Part 7: Historical Context (Social)

Last week we talked about 18th-century changes leading to Pamela’s impact, mostly in the book trade and in rising social classes. This week, we’re focusing on social changes, especially those that took place within all classes. For instance, religious books had traditionally made up more than half the number of total books published, but tastes…… Continue reading Novels & Human Rights Part 7: Historical Context (Social)

History

Novels & Human Rights Part 6: Historical Context (The Book Trade)

When I started this project, I had no idea what a radical century I’d be examining. The 1700s bore a host of social changes and crazy new thoughts coming out of the Enlightenment that started around 1650. One day I’ll read about it more comprehensively, but my year is 1740, and I’ll focus on factors…… Continue reading Novels & Human Rights Part 6: Historical Context (The Book Trade)

History

Novels & Human Rights Part 4: Is Reading Good or Bad? (Richardson’s Intended Effects)

Please note there is now a page to collect and organize these posts! Last week, we talked about how Samuel Richardson explicitly wanted his novel Pamela to be more realistic than its predecessors. Why? We’ve also talked about how Pamela was basically a religious book and erotica at the same time. Why did he decide to write this…… Continue reading Novels & Human Rights Part 4: Is Reading Good or Bad? (Richardson’s Intended Effects)

History

Novels & Human Rights Part 2: The Pamela Media Bomb

As you may recall from last week, Robinson Crusoe and Pamela both became bestsellers of their times, and Pamela outstripped RC. In its first year after publication, Pamela went through four English editions, one French translation, and several unauthorized versions. Just counting authorized editions, 20,000 copies of Pamela were published in the first year, when most other books could expect…… Continue reading Novels & Human Rights Part 2: The Pamela Media Bomb

History

Novels & Human Rights Part 1: The First Novels

Have I mentioned that novels as a genre helped invent human rights as a legal concept…? Of course I have! I spent last fall researching one of the earliest English novels, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson. My senior thesis was all about how that novel built public empathy, and how that empathy led…… Continue reading Novels & Human Rights Part 1: The First Novels

History · Nonfiction

Resource Reviews: Pamela, Novels, and Human Rights

As you may be aware, I’ve just finished a research paper entitled “Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded: Novels and Human Rights.” It’s about how Pamela and other 18th-century novels laid a foundation for human rights legislation, via the mechanism of empathy. I’ll be posting content from that paper over the next few weeks/months, but first, here…… Continue reading Resource Reviews: Pamela, Novels, and Human Rights

History · Nonfiction

History Day Poster Presentation

Okay, apparently it’s NOT Ms. Marvel day today. Ms. Marvel #10 has been moved to December 17. I swear it was moved, though! I suppose I can wait patiently, if “patiently” includes grumblemuttering for four extra weeks. Anyway, to fill the gap, I thought I’d tell you about History Day from yesterday! It’s the day history seniors…… Continue reading History Day Poster Presentation

History · Nonfiction

The First Draft Experience

As some of you may be aware, I’m currently working on the senior thesis for my history B.A. — a 20-page historical research paper. (They get longer the further up you go). My topic is the history of literature combined with the history of human rights — specifically, how the novel Pamela by Samuel Richardson influenced human…… Continue reading The First Draft Experience

Adult Fiction · History

Banned Books Week: Pamela

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded is a novel from 1740 written by Samuel Richardson, and the subject of my undergrad thesis. I’m studying its cultural impact. Pamela doesn’t stir up much controversy now, it’s not generally assigned to anyone to read, but when it was first published it was a pretty big deal! A debate raged over the appropriate content…… Continue reading Banned Books Week: Pamela