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Topic: Clarissa by Samuel Richardson

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Subject: Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
Date Posted: 5/5/2008 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
Posts: 87
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Has anyone read this? I've been curious to read it since it was referenced in Atonement, which has become one of my favorite novels. I do not have the time or the money to read the full, unabridged $25 Penguin version, but I was curious to see if there were any thoughts on this. There is a somewhat less expensive abridgement out there by Signet.

Thoughts would be appreciated!

Last Edited on: 8/9/11 4:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/9/2008 2:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/7/2008
Posts: 309
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I haven't read it... I just remember in college in a course on the development of the novel they kept banging on and on about it. I remember the professor saying that someone had studied it and calculated that it was physically impossible for Clarissa to have actually written all of her letters in the time given for the plot in the novel, they are so long (and so long-winded!).

There's a reason there's an abridged version - maybe that would be a little more palatable!

Last Edited on: 5/9/08 2:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/9/2008 11:17 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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I read Clarissa in a survey class in college. I remember it being exceedingly long and I'm pretty sure we read the abridged Norton version. I don't think I hated it but I didn't love it. I think I was one of the few people in the class who actually finished it. I liked Jane Eyre and Vanity Fair much better than Clarissa.
Subject: Samuel Richardson
Date Posted: 5/15/2008 5:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2004
Posts: 254
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I hated Clarissa because it was hundreds of hundreds of pages basically about a perverse madman torturing and raping a virtuous woman until she went on a fast and let herself die to be free of him.

Totally opposite - and very inspiring - is Richardson's History of Sir Charles Grandison, THE book that inspired all Jane Austen's novels. You can't find the original 1800 page novel online for under $300, although you can buy used copies of SOME of the volumes and download them at Google books. I've read all the volumes now, and love the book because it's truly about two people of real integrity who fall in love and struggle with both internal and external obstacles to be the best persons they can be and finally marry (although there is an abduction scene near the beginning with some sadistic behavior, but not anywhere near as perverse as Clarissa). There's an excellent highly condensed version available for sale at Amazon.com.........

Tracy Marks

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2006
Posts: 210
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I've read the abridged & unabridged versions of Clarissa.  Unless you're reading it in order to do a scholarly study, I'd go for the abridged. 

Date Posted: 8/2/2008 5:30 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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ditto - I didn't find Clarissa worth the read.  I read it when studying the history of the novel, but I would never have bothered finishing it if it wasn't for a class.

Date Posted: 8/5/2008 8:00 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 2,835
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Calling Clarissa perverse is accurate. I love 18th and 19th century novels and have read many. Reading Clarissa was suffering for me. Her suffering really was tedious.

Added to say that I kept wishing she would die and get it over with.

Last Edited on: 8/13/08 8:50 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/29/2008 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2008
Posts: 149
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I have the book but haven't read it yet.  I got it after finishing Pamela by Richardson and loving it.