Clarissa, Week 2 (148-410): Arguments & Abduction

As promised, I’m posting a link here to Sade’s Essay on the Novel, which should help you see the connections between the morally polarized readings of Clarissa that came from Richardson’s feminist and anti-feminist readers and imitators. I’m also including two pioneering female critics (Van Ghent and Doody) to give you a sense of Richardson’s form and generic positioning.

For your reading journals this week, I’d like you to keep tabs on your experiences of the unfolding plot, your sense of the characters and their physical environment while you write. This coming week we’ll be sharing some portion of your journals with one another, so be sure to decide which portions you’d like to share. I also ask for you to keep a running tab of passages you’d like to discuss. In these journals, you are free to incorporate or ignore insights or passages from Sade, Van Ghent, or Doody, and to explicitly address questions such as:

  • morality, sensibility, pleasure, pain, indifference
  • visuality, transparency, the gaze
  • power, conflict, tragedy

Let me know if you run into any problems. Otherwise, I’ll see you this Thursday.

Take care,



Author: Dave Mazella

I am an Associate Professor of English at the University of Houston, Department of English, specializing in 18th-century British literature.

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