DescriptionHow Clarissa, in resisting parental pressure to marry a loathsome man for his money, falls prety to Lovelace, is raped and dies, is the bare outline of a story that blossomed in all directions under Richardson's hands. He was, self-confessedly and happily, 'a poor pruner.' Written in letters, the novel contains all the urgency and tension of personal communications set down 'to the moment, ' compelling our confidence but also our distrust. Its rich ambiguities - our sense of Clarissa's scrupulous virtue tinged with intimations of her capacity for self-deception in matters of sex; the wicked and amusing faces of Lovelace, who must be easily the most charming villain in English literature - give the story extraordinary psychological momentum. In that fatally attracted pair, Richardson created lovers that haunt the imagination as Romeo and Juleit do, or Tristan and Osolde.
February 04, 1986
5.72 X 2.49 X 9.2 inches | 2.78 pounds
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About the Author
Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) was born in Derbyshire, the son of a joiner. He received little formal education and in 1706 was apprenticed to a printer in London. Thirteen years later he set himself up as a stationer and printer and became of the leading figures in the trade. He printed political material, newspapers and literature. He began writing Pamela as a result of a suggestion from friends that he should compile a book of model letters for use by unskilled writers. Pamela was a great success and went on to write Clarissa, one of the masterpieces of European literature. Angus Ross is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Sussex. He writes on eighteenth-century and other literature and has edited Swift as well as a number of anthologies.