Samuel Richardson's first novel Pamela: or, Virtue Rewarded (1740) is his most widely read work. At once profoundly influential, yet heavily and publicly vilified, the novel's publication marked the beginning of one of the most astounding moments in literary history and laid the foundation for Richardson's status as one of the founding fathers of the modern novel.
Pamela began life a year before the final text emerged. Richardson had been approached by publishers and friends Charles Rivington and John Osborn in 1739 to write a series of model letters aimed at the lower classes, subsequently published in 1741 under the title Familiar Letters. One of the series of correspondences contained within the work …
Batchelor, Jennie. "Pamela: or, Virtue Rewarded". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2983, accessed 20 January 2017.]