Epistolary form is an primeval type of novel writing style and this genre was mainly popular during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It basically involves letters and journal entries by numerous characters that are part of the novel and according to that it depicts the story-line of the novel. In my opinion, it successfully adds realism to the story-line and reflects the character traits in a much more realistic way instead of the other writing styles in use by modern authors nowadays. This style of writing also helps in the better understanding of the characters and presents a closer and deeper view of the sentiments and thoughts of the characters as there is no intrusion from the author that would distract the reader. Also, the reader tends to not notice the characters attributes and mannerisms that are portrayed through epistolary.
Currently, epistolary style of writing as been abandoned by the modern writers and authors mainly due to the concept of finding it difficult to comprehend the epistolary style of novel writing as compared to other modern styles. Personally, on the basis of the reading I would agree to that concept that it is rather hard to understand and grasp the story of an epistolary novel as of the complexity that it provides through the letters presenting. The reader requires putting in a lot more psychological effort in order to assimilate how the story is moving and revolving around its characters.
As far as Richardson’s PAMELA and Fielding’s burlesque An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews is concerned, Pamela’s character from Richardson’s point of view represents a lady who impersonates chastity and purity profoundly. Also, he claims her to be a role model of virtue and that her virtuousness and innocent is finally rewarded. Whereas, the epistolary presented by Fielding’s which represents the character in to completely opposite way. The author presents her as a materialistic woman who is doing everything mainly to fulfill are comforts of life which is far from being virtuous at all. While Richardson’s shows Pamela protecting herself from her master in all ways and not allowing him to seduce her instead marries him, Fielding’s shows how Shamela herself lures Booby into marrying her and presents her as a pretentious woman who only trying to be innocent and fake model of chastity and who is actually a very manipulative and scheming woman whose only thinking of her own interest and in striving for social recognition. Even after going through both the epistolary novels it still seems to that the character of Pamela elaborated by Richardson is more naturalistic and believable. As clearly Fielding’s presented his character Shamela as a parody of Pamela which many readers might find compelling but Pamela still seems morally appropriate character. Fielding’s has presented every positive characteristic in the character as a negative trait making the character of Shamela reflect evil traits and it looks like he has just tried to show everything wrongly about the character of Shamela just in order to oppose the idea of Richardson’s Pamela wholly.
However, even after Fielding’s effort to overshadow Pamela’s character through his negative representation Shamela it just seems as a futile attempt when compared with Pamela whose character still seems to be far more compelling, truthful and the originality of the character remains in Richardson’s Pamela as compared to Fielding’s.