That was then, this is now, a continuing series

This is part of a letter from Miss Howe to Miss Clarissa Harlowe, from Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa [1748].

You and I have often retrospected the faces and minds of grown people; that is to say, have formed images for their present appearances, outside and in, (as far as the manners of the persons would justify us in the latter) what sort of figures they made when boys and girls. And I’ll tell you the lights in which HICKMAN, SOLMES, and LOVELACE, our three heroes, have appeared to me, supposing them boys at school.

Solmes I have imagined to be a little sordid, pilfering rogue, who would purloin from every body, and beg every body’s bread and butter from him; while, as I have heard a reptile brag, he would in a winter-morning spit upon his thumbs, and spread his own with it, that he might keep it all to himself.

Hickman, a great overgrown, lank-haired, chubby boy, who would be hunched and punched by every body; and go home with his finger in his eye, and tell his mother.

While Lovelace I have supposed a curl-pated villain, full of fire, fancy, and mischief; an orchard-robber, a wall-climber, a horse-rider without saddle or bridle, neck or nothing: a sturdy rogue, in short, who would kick and cuff, and do no right, and take no wrong of any body; would get his head broke, then a plaster for it, or let it heal of itself; while he went on to do more mischief, and if not to get, to deserve, broken bones. And the same dispositions have grown up with them, and distinguish them as me, with no very material alteration.

Only that all men are monkeys more or less, or else that you and I should have such baboons as these to choose out of, is a mortifying thing, my dear.

I am enjoying this splendid book for the first time, and yes it is OK to read an abridged edition.


So, instead of an abridged version of what is considered the author's signature work, why not read 'Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded' with enough time spared to read Fielding's 'An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews'

And for those with a bit of interest in Richardson (a noted moralist), the British Library has a good article, though in reference to Pamela - 'Samuel Richardson, a printer for much of his life, had not intended to be a novelist. He agreed with booksellers to write a book of lightly fictionalised model letters, offering examples of a suitable letter in various circumstances, such as requests for a loan, or condolences. He produced a sample letter from a girl suffering from the sexual attentions of her employer, followed by the father’s reply. Coming up with this exchange sparked his imagination. Richardson set the ‘letter-writer’ aside and began to write what became one of the world’s most influential best sellers: Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded.'

And there is no question that Pamela equally fits into the idea of 'That was then, this is now, a continuing series.'

I understood that your method of reading, Mr Cowen, meant that all books are abridged.

No, some books are liberated without even really bothering with needing to be abridged.

I hope that I'm getting the gist of the TWTTIN series. I've just recently discovered this website. I would highly recommend
By all accounts, a very brilliant and nice man.

I read this 30 years ago at Stanford in an 18th Century Novels class, and I, too, enjoyed it quite a bit. In fact, I remember enjoying all of the novels in that class a lot more than 20 year old me was expecting at the time. A Senimental Journey, Les Liaisons dangereuses and Tom Jones also stuck with me from that class.

"A Senimental Journey": ah, the American edition.

I left a copy of this on the table at the Somesville, ME, library book sale this afternoon. Just returned to the honor system sale of what was left, and it was still there!

Good news for MR readers - all the Ayn Rand books I saw there this afternoon were also still there, as well as some book with a title I don't recall about how Libertarianism can save the world. If you're on Mount Desert Island, swing by!

Didn't read. Too long and boring.

google "Marginal Revolution" and Clarissa.

I twice explained why the book is neither too long or too boring.

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