Samuel Richardson

(2220 words)
  • Jennie Batchelor (University of Kent at Canterbury)

In her biographical introduction to the six-volume edition of the novelist's correspondence published in 1805, Anna Laetitia Barbauld christened Richardson the “father of the modern novel”. While recent critics have highlighted the extent to which such a view obscures the importance and influence of the works of many earlier writers (particularly female writers such as Eliza Haywood and Penelope Aubin), Richardson's centrality to theories of the rise of the novel persists to the present day. For Barbauld, as for many subsequent critics, Richardson's achievement was to create a new species of literary endeavour, which she described as a kind of “moral painting”. What distinguishes Richardson's three novels from those of his …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Batchelor, Jennie. "Samuel Richardson". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 November 2001
[, accessed 07 July 2015.]

Articles on Richardson's works

  1. Clarissa
  2. Pamela: or, Virtue Rewarded
  3. Sir Charles Grandison

Related Groups

  1. The Sentimental Novel/ Novel of Sensibility