A Freudian Reading of Samuel Richardson's Pamela

Shadi Torabi Sarijaloo, Shahram Kiaei


Richardson's Pamela (1740_1) is replete with elements and incidents that make it worthy enough to be viewed from Freud's perspective. The present study focuses upon how Richardson's characters unconsciously attempt to conceal and repress their own conflicting emotions, thoughts, wishes, impulses and how they struggle against their anxiety-ridden situations to regain their psychic balance. Moreover, the repetition of certain occurrences and elements play a crucial role in generating the uncanny effect in Pamela, including the role of double and déjà-vu, the castle-like settings, heroine's intimidating situations and also her master's past secret. In addition, the way Richardson's characters dress for the noteworthy masquerade ball scene and the ambiguous words of Pamela's master are considerably implies something that is affiliated with characters' psyche according to Freud's condensation theory. With regard to Freud's concepts of The 'Tripartite Psyche', 'Anxiety and Ego Defense Mechanisms' and 'Uncanny' the researcher attempts to delve into the heroine and her master's psyche through her letters which reveal the contents of the heroine's unconscious mind.



Tripartite Psyche, Anxiety and Ego Defense Mechanisms, Uncanny

Full Text:



Abrams, M. H., and Harpham, G. (2009). A Glossary of Literary Terms. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Print.

Abjadian, A. (2012). A Survey of English Literature (II). Tehran: SAMT, Print.

Bennett, A., and Royle, N. (2009). An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory. Harlow (U.K.): Pearson/Longman, Print.

Booker, M. K. (1996). A Practical Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism. White Plains, NY: Longman, Print.

Castle, T. (1987). Masquerade and Civilization: The Carnivalesque in Eighteenth-century English Culture and Fiction. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, Print.

Doody, M. A. (1998). Samuel Richardson: Fiction and Knowledge. The Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth Century Novel. Ed. John Richetti. New York: Cambridge University Press, 90-120. Print.

Dussinger, J. A. (14 Nov 2014). "What Pamela knew: An Interpretation?" English and Germanic philology 69 (1970): 377-93. JSTOR. Web. .

Eagleton, T. (1983). Literary Theory: An Introduction. Oxford: B. Blackwell, Print.

Fisher, J. W. (1986). Closet-work: The Relationship between Physical and Psychological Spaces in Pamela. Samuel Richardson: Passion and Prudence. Ed. Valerie Grosvenor Myer. London: Vision, 21-35. Print.

Freud, S. (2010). "The Ego and the Id." Freud - Complete Works. Ed. Ivan Smith. 3944-92. PDF.

---. (2010). "The Uncanny." The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed.

Gardner, S. (1991)."The Unconscious." The Cambridge Companion to Freud, Ed. Jerome Neu. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 136-160. Print.

Gines, Adelaida C. et al. (1998). Developmental Psychology. Manila: Rex Book Store, PDF.

Gilbert, Sandra, and Susan Guber. (20 January 2015). The Mad Woman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth Century Literary Imagination. Yale UP: New Jersey, 2000. Google Book Search. Web.

Harris, D. M. (1998). Body and Text in Apuleius's The Golden Ass and Richardson's Pamela. Diss. U Torento, 1998. Ottawa: National Library of Canada, PDF.

Hergenhahn, B. R. (1992). An Introduction to the History of psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub., Google Book Search. Web. 22 January 2015.

Keymer, T., and Sabor, P. (2006).'Pamela' in the Marketplace: Literary Controversy and Print Culture in Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Lapsley, D. K., and Stey, P. (2011). Id, Ego, and Superego. Encyclopedia of Human Behavior 1-9. PDF.

Nye, R. D. (2002). Three Psychologies: Perspectives from Freud, Skinner, and Rogers. Trans. Ahmad Jalali. 6th edition. Tehran: Padra. Print.

Shariat Kashani, A. (2015). Psychoanalysis and Literature and Art: From Freud to Jack Derrida. Tehran: Nazar. Print.

Packer, Sh. (2002). Dreams in Myth, Medicine, and Movies. London: Praeger.

Perkins, K. (3 March 2015). The "UNCANNY" as a Defining Feature of Narrative: Coincidence as Both Familiar and Mysterious. 2002. Web.

Pierce, J. B. (2001). Pamela's Textual Authority. Passion and Virtue: Essays on the Novels of Samuel Richardson. Ed. David Blewett. Toronto UP: Toronto, 8-16. Print.

Richardson, S. (2001). Pamela. Vols 1-4. 1st ed. Blackmask Online, PDF.

Tyson, L. (2006).Critical theory today: a user-friendly Guide. New York: Routledge, Print.

Rivero, A. J. (2001). The place of Sally Godfrey in Richardson's Pamela. Passion and Virtue: Essays on the Novels of Samuel Richardson. Toronto UP: Torento, Ed. David Blewett. 52-72. Print.

Vaillant, G. E. (1992). Ego Mechanisms of Defense: A Guide for Clinicans and Researchers. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric, PDF.

Watt, I. (2001).The Rise of the Novel; Studies in Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding. Berkeley: University of California, Print.

Wight, D. (2012). Still Life: Representations of Passivity in the Gothic Novel. Diss. Albetra U, 2012. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada, PDF.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.5n.2p.30


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.