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23 November 1989
Arguing with the past: Essays in Narrative from Woolf to Sidney 
by Gillian Beer.
Routledge, 206 pp., £25, August 1989, 0 415 02607 5
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Samuel RichardsonTercentenary Essays 
edited by Margaret Anne Doody and Peter Sabor.
Cambridge, 306 pp., £35, July 1989, 0 521 35383 1
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... Gillian Beer’s Arguing with the past, a collection of essays published in recent years (with one, on Richardson and Milton, dating from as long ago as 1968), is richly written, contains many sharp critical insights, and shows the author to have a good ear for nuances of language in the literary works she ...

Dishonoured

Michael Wood

5 May 1983
The Rapes of Lucretia: A Myth and Its Transformation 
by Ian Donaldson.
Oxford, 203 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 19 812638 7
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The Rape of Clarissa 
by Terry Eagleton.
Blackwell, 109 pp., £10, September 1982, 0 631 13031 4
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Samuel RichardsonA Man of Letters 
by Carol Houlihan Flynn.
Princeton, 342 pp., £17.70, May 1982, 0 691 06506 3
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... is not the defect he may fear it is. The parts of the book are unequal, since Lucretia has all the thunder (St Augustine, Cranach, Botticelli, Veronese, Titian, Tie-polo, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Richardson, Pushkin), and Brutus only the lighter cavalry (Mlle de Scudéry, Voltaire, Alfieri, Nathaniel Lee, Gavin Hamilton, J.-L. David). However, Donaldson sharply registers the enormous popularity of the ...

‘I can scarce hold my pen’

Clare Bucknell: Samuel Richardson’s Letters

14 June 2017
The Correspondence of Samuel Richardson​ with Lady Bradshaigh and Lady Echlin 
edited by Peter Sabor.
Cambridge, three vols, 1200 pp., £275, November 2016, 978 1 107 14552 8
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... lady of about 45 who was keeping an eye open for him. Lady Dorothy Bradshaigh had travelled to town for the winter from her country seat in Lancashire; the man she was trying to spot in the crowd was SamuelRichardson, who had supplied her with a description and promised to be in the park on sunny days. ‘I passed you four times last Saturday in the Park; knew you by your own description, at least ...

Puellilia

Pat Rogers

7 August 1986
Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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Cecilia 
by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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Marriage 
by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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Belinda 
by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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Self-Control 
by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... Thomas Lodge, Henry MacKenzie [sic], Thomas Malory, Charles Maturin, Walter Scott, Philip Sidney, Horace Walpole ... twenty, plus the recognised fathers of the novel ... Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, SamuelRichardson, Tobias Smollett and Lawrence [sic] Sterne; generosity indeed to double the number!’ A list so nakedly daft obviates detailed scrutiny. It may be worth asking how Lever (born 1806 ...

High-Meriting, Low-Descended

John Mullan: The Unpolished Pamela

12 December 2002
Pamela: or, Virtue Rewarded 
by Samuel Richardson, edited by Thomas Keymer and Alice Wakely.
Oxford, 592 pp., £6.99, June 2001, 0 19 282960 2
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... SamuelRichardson’s account of a servant girl’s defence of her virtue against the advances of her lascivious master (‘Mr B’), given in her own letters, made what we now call ‘the Novel’ (though Richardson ...

Rogering in Merryland

Thomas Keymer: The Unspeakable Edmund Curll

13 December 2007
Edmund Curll, Bookseller 
by Paul Baines and Pat Rogers.
Oxford, 388 pp., £30, January 2007, 978 0 19 927898 5
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... Samuel Johnson would not have had the term ‘Curlism’ in mind when he expressed regret that, even as his dictionary was being printed, ‘some words are budding, and some falling away.’ Yet it is a ...

Richardson, alas

Claude Rawson

12 November 1987
Samuel​ Richardson 
by Jocelyn Harris.
Cambridge, 179 pp., £22.50, February 1987, 0 521 30501 2
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... Richardson is the Hugo, hélas! of the 18th-century English novel, as Coleridge might have said: ‘I confess that it has cost – still costs my philosophy some exertion not to be vexed that I must admire – ...

Bransonism

Paul Davis: Networking in 18th-century London

17 March 2005
Aaron Hill: The Muses’ Projector 1685-1750 
by Christine Gerrard.
Oxford, 267 pp., £50, August 2003, 0 19 818388 7
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... When The Dunciad in Four Books hit the stands in the autumn of 1743, making The New Dunciad old hat after barely eighteen months, SamuelRichardson grumbled in a letter to his friend and sometime client of his printing house, the poet and cultural factotum Aaron Hill, that ‘I have bought Mr Pope over so often, and his Dunciad so lately before ...

Fat is a manifest tissue

Steven Shapin: George Cheyne

10 August 2000
Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment: The Life and Times of George Cheyne 
by Anita Guerrini.
Oklahoma, 304 pp., $25.95, February 2000, 0 585 28344 3
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... publicised its ‘many errors’. Two years later Cheyne produced The Philosophical Principles of Natural Religion, an exercise in Newtonian natural theology in the style pioneered by the Reverends Samuel Clarke, Richard Bentley and other pious Boyle Lecturers, but this attempt to appear in the person of a metaphysical moralist was largely ignored. All authors are sad after composition, but finishing ...
16 August 1990
The Don Giovanni Book: Myths of Seduction and Betrayal 
edited by Jonathan Miller.
Faber, 127 pp., £6.99, July 1990, 0 571 14542 6
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... than men, by those who are totally opposed to treating them as if they were as good.’ She admires Clarissa for its seductive subtlety and humour, and to what degree Mill’s reproach applies to SamuelRichardson, whose heroine she describes as ‘so idealised a man’s woman that a woman reader may be forgiven for wondering whether she can be read as a woman at all’, I am not sure, but fear that ...

A Scene of Furniture

Rosemary Hill: Hogarth

4 February 1999
Hogarth: A Life and a World 
by Jenny Uglow.
Faber, 794 pp., £14.99, September 1998, 0 571 19376 5
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... debt and disappointment, Hogarth was born in Smithfield in 1697. He was unusual among the men who made London culture in his lifetime in being a native – Johnson and Garrick, Smollett, Boswell and SamuelRichardson were all incomers. Uglow makes telling use of Hogarth’s progress across the capital, from Smithfield to Covent Garden, from the city to ‘the town’ and from trade to art. Not that the ...
7 November 1985
Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady 
by Samuel Richardson, edited with an introduction by Angus Ross.
Viking, 1533 pp., £19.95, August 1985, 0 670 80829 6
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Memoire of Frances, Lady Douglas 
by Lady Louisa Stuart, edited by Jill Rubenstein.
Scottish Academic Press, 106 pp., £9.50, August 1985, 0 7073 0358 3
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... which is often investigated for its affinity to fact; while the other records the facts and feelings and constructions of the biographer of a friend. The first is the more than a million words of SamuelRichardson’s novel Clarissa, whose first edition has been issued by Penguin in the guise of a slab of gold bullion. The second is by an admirer of Richardson’s novels, two generations later – ...

Allergic to Depths

Terry Eagleton: Gothic

18 March 1999
Gothic: Four Hundred Years of Excess, Horror, Evil and Ruin 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Fourth Estate, 438 pp., £20, December 1998, 1 85702 498 2
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... Since most purveyors of this wisdom pride themselves on their historicising cast of mind, it is ironic that they fail to see in it a reflection of the particular social conditions of modernity. For Samuel Johnson, it was the socially typical which was imaginatively enthralling, and aberration which was boring. Johnson had a proudly populist trust in the robustness of routine meanings, and saw language ...

At least that was the idea

Thomas Keymer: Johnson and Boswell’s Club

10 October 2019
The Club: Johnson, Boswell and the Friends who Shaped an Age 
by Leo Damrosch.
Yale, 488 pp., £20, April, 978 0 300 21790 2
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... mid-18th century thronged with coffee houses and taverns. A blue plaque commemorates Dryden, but on the wrong house. At No. 9, a more accurately sited plaque marks where, in 1764, Joshua Reynolds and Samuel Johnson founded the Literary Club, or simply the Club, which met weekly to dine in an upstairs room at the Turk’s Head until the landlord died and the dinners moved elsewhere. The building now ...

Pay me for it

Helen Deutsch: Summoning Dr Johnson

9 February 2012
Samuel​ Johnson: A Life 
by David Nokes.
Faber, 415 pp., £9.99, August 2010, 978 0 571 22636 8
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Selected Writings 
by Samuel​ Johnson, edited by Peter Martin.
Harvard, 503 pp., £16.95, May 2011, 978 0 674 06034 0
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The Brothers Boswell: A Novel 
by Philip Baruth.
Corvus, 336 pp., £7.99, January 2011, 978 1 84887 446 6
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The Life of Samuel​ Johnson LL.D. 
by John Hawkins, edited by O.M. Brack.
Georgia, 554 pp., £53.50, August 2010, 978 0 8203 2995 6
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... said he), a desire of knowledge is the natural feeling of mankind; and every human being, whose mind is not debauched, will be willing to give all that he has to get knowledge.’ How can we know Samuel Johnson without summoning him through the reanimating power of James Boswell’s Life? For the many scholars, writers, readers and collectors who call themselves Johnsonians, this is the near ...

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