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Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady…

Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady (Penguin Classics) (original 1747; edition 1986)

by Samuel Richardson, Angus Ross (Editor)

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1,140267,179 (3.52)1 / 308
Title:Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Samuel Richardson
Other authors:Angus Ross (Editor)
Info:Penguin Classics (1986), Paperback, 1534 pages
Collections:Your library

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Clarissa: Or the History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson (1747)


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English (25)  French (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
A bit of a letdown after the interesting build up in Volume 2. Yes, we now get to see some of the story from 'the rake' Lovelace's point of view, and it is fun to see how well matched Lovelace and Clarissa are when it come to a battle of wits, but still....there were some really, really boring parts here. The story has almost taken on a whole "He said, She said" approach and while there is no really easy way to introduce multiple narrations in an epistolary novel except in the manner utilized here by Richardson, I still feel let down a bit after all the excitement in Volume 2. If I had to place a bet at this point, I would say that there are 10 to 1 odds that Clarissa will slip up first, and in a bigger way than she already has as the drama has now migrated to London, even if Lovelace has made a couple of tactical errors of his own on the 'conquest' front. Really, for a seasoned 'rake' to fumble even slightly is a bit of a revelation in itself. Onwards to Volume 4.... ( )
  lkernagh | Apr 29, 2016 |
Well, this was darned more exciting than Volume 1! the family drama - a bit over the top - has now come to fruition and some nice juicy tidbits are coming to the surface. Clarissa continues to operate a bit like a seesaw - one minute gaining my praise and the next my groans of frustration - and her dear friend Anna Howe is a bit of a mixed blessing when it comes to providing Clarissa with wisdom and words of assistance. As for Clarissa's family, well good grief, who needs a family like them? Seriously, I am not surprised Clarissa is at her wits end trying to get them to see her point of view on the subject of marriage to their chosen (aka Roger Solmes) over the fears of the rake Lovelace. High drama for sure! And as for that "WTF?!" last letter from Clarissa to her Anna - Richardson does know a thing or two about stringing along a reader and throwing them the high drama bone. Me thinks it does not bode well for our fair maiden.... ( )
  lkernagh | Apr 1, 2016 |
This dragged a bit at the start. Always a bit of a challenge to get the lay of the land and the characters when a story is in pure epistolary format. Volume 1 provides a good backgrounder in the main characters - Clarissa, her friend Anna Howe, the rake Mr. Robert Lovelace, Clarissa's suitor Mr. Roger Solmes and the menagerie that comprises Clarissa's closest family contacts - her mom/dad, brother/sister, aunt and uncles. A bit over-the-top dramatic at times, especially considering we are dealing with what appears to be on the surface as a disagreement between Clarissa and her family as to her chosen path in life: marriage to Roger Solmes or Clarissa's preferred choice of a independent life. As with any story early one, some information appears to be kind of missing. Overall, an interesting read - if a bit long winded - and I am looking forward to volume 2. ( )
  lkernagh | Apr 1, 2016 |
Want to read this one someday just so I can say that I've read the longest novel written in English. :P
  TheEditrix | Jan 13, 2016 |
Well, after finishing U.S.A. at 1,300 pages or so, what better way to follow it up than to write a review of a novel that's even bigger?

What surprised me most about this novel is how readable it is. For its size and the era in which it was written, this is one of the most readable novels I've tackled. That is very definitely something to be thankful for.

The story basically revolves around the eponymous heroine Clarissa who, being the sole inheritor of her grandfather's estate, finds herself the victim of family plotting when they attempt to force her to marry a man she has absolutely no feelings for.

Resolutely standing her ground only results in Clarissa being completely isolated by her so-called family who virtually imprison her in solitary confinement within the family home.

Fearing that she will be dragged to the alter and committed against her will, she seeks escape and the supposed safe house offered by Lovelace, a man who comes across as a valiant aide in time of trouble. We readers however, are aware of his ulterior motives as Richardson relates his tale entirely in letters between various of the characters.

Clarissa's frying pan becomes Clarissa's fire as she discovers Lovelace's true purpose. And while this plot is enough to drive the novel on for well over 1,000 pages, quite unbelievably, it culminates in a living room scene that is as damp as a damp squib can be. I honestly thought I'd perhaps missed segment of the audio version I listened to on Librivox (which I recommend actually). Quite inexplicable.

Still, Richardson's novel is a masterful study of misogyny. Lovelace (the pronunciation of whose name is no coincidence) writes some absolutely writhing letters to his friends in which you can't help but see Richardson's criticism of his contemporary "rake." It's scathing.

And through it all, of course, Clarissa's virtue remains a bastion of impregnability. If this had been written by a woman, it would be a seminal feminist text. But it wasn't, so it isn't. Too bad. ( )
  arukiyomi | Oct 13, 2015 |
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Richardson, Samuelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ross, AngusEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I am extremely concerned, my dearest friend, for the disturbances that have happened in your family.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140432159, Paperback)

‘Oh thou savage-hearted monster! What work hast thou made in one guilty hour, for a whole age of repentance!’

Pressured by her unscrupulous family to marry a wealthy man she detests, the young Clarissa Harlowe is tricked into fleeing with the witty and debonair Robert Lovelace and places herself under his protection. Lovelace, however, proves himself to be an untrustworthy rake whose vague promises of marriage are accompanied by unwelcome and increasingly brutal sexual advances. And yet, Clarissa finds his charm alluring, her scrupulous sense of virtue tinged with unconfessed desire. Told through a complex series of interweaving letters, Clarissa is a richly ambiguous study of a fatally attracted couple and a work of astonishing power and immediacy. A huge success when it first appeared in 1747, and translated into French and German, it remains one of the greatest of all European novels.

In his introduction, Angus Ross examines characterization, the epistolary style, the role of the family and the position of women in Clarissa. This edition also includes a chronology, suggestions for further reading, tables of letters, notes, a glossary and an appendix on the music for the ‘Ode to Wisdom’.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:19 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Based on the 18th century novel by Samuel Richardson, this is the original tale of fatal attraction and dangerous liasons. A wealthy young heiress, famed for her virtue, is sought by a man wishing to seduce her and destroy her reputation. For the first time in his life he becomes genuinely infatuated with his prey, and sows the seeds of his own fate.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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