If we select the texts Pamela (1740), Pamela II (1741), the Anti Pamela (1741), Shamela (1741) Joseph Andrews (1742) , Clarissa (1748), and The History Of Charles Grandson IV (1753), a trend starts to emerge that both explains the strong response Pamela provoked and reveals a certain irony behind it. If we examine the most common gendered terms across these texts–– Mr. and Lady respectively––we see that with the exception of Shamela and Anti-Pamela the use of the later steadily increases in relation to the former across time. Furthermore the use of the word “miss” also increases (although less steadily), suggesting that, in addition to centering more women, these texts are, in particular, focused on unmarried women. What is particularly ironic is that Fielding’s work is not entirely immune to this trend as Joseph Andrew’s features a nearly equal usage of the terms “Lady” and “Mr”.
These trends in word frequency also have interesting implications with respect to Armstrong’s claims that, “the female was the figure, above all else, on whom depended the out come of the struggle among competing ideologies” (468), the ways in which these terms appear in the texts are at the very least evidence of that centering.
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