Clarissa (by Samuel Richardson)

Richardson, Samuel

Samuel Richardson, 1689–1761, English novelist, b. Derbyshire. When he was 50 and a prosperous printer, Richardson was asked to compose a guide to letter writing. The idea of introducing a central theme occurred to him, and he interrupted his task to write and publish his novel of morals in letter form, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded (2 vol., 1740), a work that is widely considered the first modern English novel. The novel tells the story of a virtuous young maidservant who so successfully eludes the lecherous assaults of her employer's son that the young man finally marries her. The guide, known now as Familiar Letters, came out in 1741, just before the two-volume sequel to Pamela. Richardson wrote two more long, epistolary novels, Clarissa Harlowe (7 vol., 1747–48), the tragic story of a girl who runs off with her seducer, regarded today as his best work, and The History of Sir Charles Grandison (7 vol., 1753–54). All Richardson's novels were enormously popular in their day. Although he was a verbose and sentimental storyteller, his role as a literary pioneer, his emphasis on detail, his psychological insights into women, and his dramatic technique have earned him a prominent place among English novelists.

See his correspondence, ed. by A. L. Barbauld (6 vol., 1804; repr. 1966); biographies by T. C. Duncan Eaves and B. D. Kimpel (1971) and J. Harris (1987); studies by J. W. Krutch (1930, repr. 1959), J. J. Carroll (1969), M. Kinkead-Weekes (1973), C. G. Wolff (1973), W. B. Warner (1979), C. H. Flynn (1982), M. Doody and P. Sabor, ed. (1989), and L. Curran (2016).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Clarissa (by Samuel Richardson): Selected full-text books and articles

Courting Death: Necrophilia in Samuel Richardson's Clarissa By Zigarovich, Jolene Studies in the Novel, Vol. 32, No. 2, Summer 2000
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Female Jailor and Female Rivalry in Samuel Richardson's Clarissa By Johnston, Elizabeth Gender Forum, No. 58, January 1, 2016
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Crossing Borders in Samuel Richardson's Clarissa; or, the "Ladder of Dependance" Revisited By Dachez, Helene Studies in the Literary Imagination, Vol. 36, No. 2, Fall 2003
Clarissa's Readers By Chico, Tita Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, Vol. 49, No. 3, October 1, 2008
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Clarissa's Conjectural History: The Novel and the Novice By Hershinow, Stephanie Insley Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, Vol. 56, No. 3, Fall 2015
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Clarissa's Political Theology and the Alternative Modernity of God, Death, and Writing By Jackson, Spencer Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, Vol. 56, No. 3, Fall 2015
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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