Thursday, February 23, 2012

Clarissa Volume 2 by Samuel Richardson

Clarissa or The History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson
Vol 2: Letters 45 - 92
Published: 1748
Rating: 5
Other posts: 2012 Year long reading co-hosted by Terri and JoAnn
Challenge: The English Novel audio course bibliography

Clarissa continues to be a prisoner in her own home yet somehow manages to continue her correspondence with her best friend, Anna Howe, and with Lovelace, the hated "libertine".  Regarding her contact with LL, I am reminded of the saying, "play with matches, you will get burned."

Her relationship with brother James and sister Bella continue to deteriorate.  So much so that Anna remarks in one of her letters, "A brother may not be a friend; but a friend will always be a brother" (Letter 47).

After a particularly cruel, heartless letter from James, Clarissa writes to Anna in Letter 52:  "But it is time to lay down my pen, since the ink runs nothing but gall."

In letter 56, Anna recounts a conversation between her friend, Sir Harry Downeton and Solmes in which  they were talking about women and marriage.  The horrid S is quoted as saying that "if LOVE and FEAR must be separated in matrimony, the man who make himself feared fared best!"  Anna wrote that "if my eyes would carry with them the execution which the eyes of the basilisk are said to do, I would make it my first business to see this creature."

Poor Clarissa describes her life as her family continues to pressure her to marry Solmes and LL is begging to rescue her.
How I am driven to and fro, like a feather in the wind, at the pleasure of the rash, the selfish, the headstrong!  and when I am as averse to the proceedings of the one, as I am to those of the other...what a perverse fate is mine! (Letter 80)
Volume 2 ends with a short letter 91 from C to A:
You will soon hear (if already you have not heard from the mouth of common fame) that your Clarissa Harlowe is done off with a man! - 
 Oh no, Clarissa, what have you done?!?

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