Saturday 14 January 2017

A Few Refreshing Chapters

...we have it on record that in order to get himself into the appropriate mood of tragic solemnity, [Jacques-Louis] David was obliged to read a few refreshing chapters of Richardson's Clarissa Harlowe...
'Diderot', The Genius of the Future

Clarissa - the book that e-readers were made for. I read it one year - it took me most of the year - and it is a wild read. Clarissa and Lovelace are two sides of a coin, and both as mad as one another. But Samuel Richardson, in pioneering the psychological novel as opposed to the merely comic, is the literary ancestor of Henry James and therefore of Anita Brookner. The full enquiry, the full investigation - not that any will ever probably be fuller than Richardson's.

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