In its density of social scene and sweep of historical reference radically absent in its amatory predecessors, Samuel Richardson’s Pamela (1740) is a true original. That much is obvious but crucial, since amatory fiction (even at its most intelligent and expansive) treats such circumstances as invariable, essentially inert materials, a mere backdrop rather than part and parcel of the representational project.1 As we have seen, the social realm in amatory fiction (when it appears) is a function of the plot rather than an object of representation; sociohistorical conditions exist to license pleasure and to institute danger for the chosen and privileged few, the Philanders and Sylvias, the Charlots and Idalias.