Catalogue: Books Displaying Books number 3436;
Database Type: Books
Item ID Number: 3436;

Book Number 3436 
Author Samuel Richardson 
Title Clarissa. Or, The History of a Young Lady: Comprehending the most Important Concerns of Private Life. And particularly shewing, The Distresses that may attend the Misconduct Both of Parents and Children, In Relation to Marriage. / Published by the Editor of Pamela. [SEVEN VOLUMES] 
Date 1748 
Publisher Samuel Richardson 
Place of Publication London 
Edition First Edition. 
Volume Information Seven Volumes. 
Cover Contemporary full calf, rebacked superbly in period style, spine in six compartments of raised gilt bands and gilt floral motifs, gilt morocco label on two, gilt text on three, endpapers renewed. 
Illustration Includes the folding music in volume 2. 
Size 12mo. 
Condition Aside from minor age-toning, this set is in excellent condition. 
Provenance Bookplates of Reverend Joseph Pickford and of Frances Pickford. 
Pagination P. Volume 1. (2), title, blank, preface iii-viii, cast of characters ix-xii, 1-312, (2); Volume 2. (2), title, blank, 1-309, advertisement, (2); Volume 3. (2), title, blank, 1-366, (2); Volume 4. (2), title, blank, to the reader i-vi, 1-362, (2); Volume 5. (2), title, blank, 1-378, (2); Volume 6. (2), title, blank, 1-405, blank, (2); Volume 7. (2), title, blank, 1-432, (2). 
Reference Cambridge Bibliography II:515b; DNB XVI:1130-2; Benet 193; Oxford Companion to English Literature 173; Cambridge Guide to Literature 193; Quennell 248-50. 
Translation Info  
Notes Clarissa, Or, the History of a Young Lady (known later simply as Clarissa Harlowe) was the second novel written by Samuel Richardson. Quennell notes that this “voluminous” work “was issued in three instalments between 1747 and 1748 [and] it spread the writer’s fame all over Europe” (248). “It was widely regarded as Richardson’s masterpiece,” notes the Cambridge Guide to Literature in English, “and, running to over a million words, is the longest novel in the English language” (194). While Benet argues that “it is noted for its subtle and penetrating psychological treatment of character” (193), the Dictionary of National Biography states that its “influence was no doubt due chiefly to [Richardson’s] sentimentalism” (XVI:1132). In fact, Quennell notes that Clarissa was met with a great deal of emotional involvement, and “that sentiment drew floods of tears from Richardson’s contemporary readers, some of whom threatened to blow their brains out should Clarissa meet a tragic end” (250). An instant hit, the Dictionary of National Biography indicates that “his success was most remarkable in France, where Diderot wrote of him with enthusiasm, and Rousseau made him a model for [Julie,] the ‘Nouvelle Héloïse.’ In his letter to D’Alembert, Rousseau says that there is in no language a romance equal to or approaching ‘Clarissa’” (XVI:1132). “Abroad,” notes Quennell, “Clarissa Harlowe helped to inspire Choderlos de Laclos’s extraordinary novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1782), in which the French writer’s rakish protagonist Valmont was evidently based on Richardson’s hero-villain” (250). However, although popular among European philosophers and “a ‘flower-garden’ of admiring middle-aged ladies” (Quennell 248), Richardson also met with sharp criticism: “In England, Richardson’s tediousness was felt from the first. ‘You would hang yourself from impatience,’ as Johnson said to Boswell.” (Dictionary of National Biography XVI:1132). As to the story itself, this excerpt from Quennell’s History of English Literature gives an encapsulating summary: “Clarissa Harlowe, a novel of daunting bulk – one of the longest in the English language – portrays yet another helpless heroine, whose snobbish and greedy parents have planned a marriage for her, from which she has determined to escape. She accepts the help of a fascinating rake named Lovelace, and he eventually carries her off to a brothel, where she is imprisoned, drugged and ravished. Richardson’s portrait of Lovelace is a masterly essay in psychological analysis. He is not all bad; he has many fine qualities besides his charm and gaiety and social grace; but he believes that his task in life is to acquaint the women he seduces with the secrets of their own nature, to show them, by demolishing their false prudery, what it is they really need” (249).  
Price (US$) 2500  
Short Description Book Literature English; Book Bindings, Sets; 

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