Samuel Richardson: Clarissa

(2171 words)
  • Jennie Batchelor (University of Kent at Canterbury)

Clarissa; or the History of a Young Lady (1747-1748), the longest novel to have been written in the English language, is Richardson’s darkest and most brilliant work. The plot is largely unexceptional. Centred around the attempted seduction of a beautiful young woman, Clarissa shares many narrative elements in common with a plethora of early eighteenth-century romances penned by writers such as Eliza Haywood, Penelope Aubin and Mary Delarivière Manley, and draws freely upon the conventions of Restoration tragedy. Yet Clarissa is a unique and uniquely resonant work; a complex, haunting and psychologically compelling exploration of desire, duty and the social dynamics of eighteenth-century culture. </&hellip;

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Batchelor, Jennie. "Clarissa". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002
[, accessed 09 October 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. The Sentimental Novel/ Novel of Sensibility