The novelists of the eighteenth century are enjoying a popular, as well as a learned, revival. Chief among them is Richardson. Here an international team of brilliant scholars and critics comes together to reconsider Richardson's achievement and to assess recent approaches.
This book provides a concise introduction to Richardson, by combining a close reading of Pamela, Clarissa and Sir Charles Gerandison with a discussion of their central themes. An outsider by birth, education and profession, Richardson found common cause with women in a world that needed change. Employing forms familiar to them, letters and tales of courtship and marriage, he urged his mainly female readers to train their powers of reason and morality by debating the issues of his novels. Dr Harris explores Richardson's vision that the relationship between men and women is as politically charged as that between monarch and subject. In Clarissa this relationship is imaginatively represented by means of the characters' archetypes - Evne, Lucretia and queen Elizabeth on the one hand, Sarah, don Juan, Fault and King on the other. In Grandison, Richardson shows men what they must be if they wish to marry women like Clarissa, and argues that marriage, then the necessary female destiny, can only thus be made to work to women's advantage.
Since most publishers of Pamela have preferred to print Richardson’s table of contents from the sixth edition, his complete introduction (his preface, together with letters to the editor and comments) is missing even from some of our best collections. Occasionally one finds the preface and the first two letters, but only four publishers since Richardson have attempted to reprint the full introduction. Harrison (London, 1785) -- who omits the first letter -- and Cooke (London, 1802-3) both follow Richardson’s eighth edition; Ballantyne (Edinburgh, 1824) uses the fourth; the Shakespeare Head (Oxford, 1929), the third. And even these printings leave one dissatisfied. The Shakespeare Head gives the fullest text, but naturally omits Richardson’s revisions; Cooke gives the introduction in its final form, but one misses the full text which accompanied the book in its heyday; and rarely are both Cooke and Shakespeare Head to be found in the same library.
This study examines concepts of morality and structures of domestic relationships in Samuel Richardson's novels, situating them in the context of eighteenth-century moral writings and reader reactions. Based on a detailed analysis of Richardson's work, this book maintains that he sought both to uphold hierarchical concepts of individual duty, and to warn of the consequences if such hierarchies were abused. In his final novel, Richardson aimed at a synthesis between social hierarchy and individual liberty, patriarchy and female self-fulfilment. His work, albeit rooted in patriarchal values, paved the way for proto-feminist conceptions of female character.
Since the publication of his novel Pamela; or Virtue Rewarded in 1740, Samuel Richardson's place in the English literary tradition has been secured. But how can that place best be described? Over the three centuries since embarking on his printing career the 'divine' novelist has been variously understood as moral crusader, advocate for women, pioneer of the realist novel and print innovator. Situating Richardson's work within these social, intellectual and material contexts, this new volume of essays identifies his centrality to the emergence of the novel, the self-help book, and the idea of the professional author, as well as his influence on the development of the modern English language, the capitalist economy, and gendered, medicalized, urban, and national identities. This book enables a fuller understanding and appreciation of Richardson's life, work and legacy, and points the way for future studies of one of English literature's most celebrated novelists.
Samuel Richardson, the founder of the modern English novel, gave shape to a previously unformed literary genre. Instrumental in the development of this new art form, Ira Konigsberg contends, is the influence of the drama. Although scholars have long suspected the influence of drama on Richardson's writing, this is the first study to examine it in detail. In such matters as material, technique, and structure, Konigsberg seeks to show that Richardson found his precedents in Restoration and early eighteenth-century drama and that it was his integration of these dramatic elements with fiction which caused the mutation in genre that is responsible for the subsequent course of the English novel.
Gale Researcher Guide for: Samuel Richardson and the Epistolary Novel is selected from Gale's academic platform Gale Researcher. These study guides provide peer-reviewed articles that allow students early success in finding scholarly materials and to gain the confidence and vocabulary needed to pursue deeper research.