Richardson

Jan 26 2014

Clarissa

5 responses so far

  1. Clarissa forever!!!!

  2. CLAR ISS SA
    CLAR ISS SA
    CLAR ISS SA

  3. What is the meaning of this language?

  4. a champion of modesty!! youre my hero!!! i wish i could be like you!!

  5. from my correspondence with a like mind [SPOILERS]:

    it staggers me that you read Clarissa at 11. that is an amazing feat. so precocious. … i could never have read it at that age. i think that it is not unjust to see the character as prudish. but i think that her attitudes serve a purpose in respect to her blamelessness in the action of the narrative. she is idealised in the sense that she is just a very religiously devout woman, rejecting of carnal pleasure. i think that at its core, the book is about the importance of active consent, and attempts to make the statement that rape kills. i am interested in what seems to be one particularly common response to the book, which is even printed on the cover of the black penguin classics edition that is currently in print, which is that “Clarissa finds his charm alluring, her scrupulous sense of virtue tinged with unconfessed desire”: this is missing the point, because what does it matter if she desired him when she never provided Lovelace with consent? Lovelace, on the other hand, appears only to be devoutly narcissistic – i think the depiction of Lovelace shows remarkable and detailed insight into personality type, at a time when ideas about personality disorders had not been formulated. i think Clarissa is also properly fleshed out as a character, particularly through her expressions of brokenness, and her expressions of anger and of having been wronged. [she becomes least ideal and most real for me] when she warns Lovelace that if he proceeds to harass her, that she will not be able to prevent herself from causing him to be torn apart. the book taught me a lot about the position of women in that society; Austen’s (brilliant) novels are filled with somewhat farcical villains, but i think that Richardson is more true to the reality of those times, and the importance of achieving a good match when marriage meant the surrender of all rights to the authority of the husband; i think that Richardson is a very devoted advocate for sovereignty of self. i think that the only thing that i didnt really like about the book is that Clarissa takes a really long time to die at the end. when everyone thinks that she has died, and then she revives for a moment, i think that is taking things just a little bit too far.

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