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About the Author
Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) was an English writer and printer. Born the son of a carpenter, Richardson received a limited education before becoming a printer's apprentice. He established his own shop in 1719 and received his first major contract in 1723, printing a bi-weekly Jacobite newspaper which was soon censored. Having married in 1721, Richardson and his wife Martha Wilde suffered the loss of several sons before Martha succumbed to illness in 1732. Devastated, Richardson eventually remarried and focused on his career, earning a contract with the House of Commons in 1733 and hiring several apprentices to assist him at his shop. During this time, Richardson turned to fiction, publishing his first novel, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded in 1740, a work now considered the first modern novel. Throughout the remainder of his career, he published two more epistolary novels--Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady (1748) and The History of Sir Charles Grandison (1753)--while continuing his work as a prominent and successful printer. He published and befriended many of the leading writers of his time, including Daniel Defoe, Sarah Fielding, and Samuel Johnson.