Critical essays on postscript

In the Postscript, especially, Richardson is so preoccupied with demonstrating that Clarissa is a Christian tragedy that he neglects to develop in any detail the other claims he makes for it. Yet Hints of Prefaces shows that he had given considerable thought to what might be called the purely fictive qualities of his novel, and that at one stage he intended to present a much fuller account of them than he finally did. It is also clear that he realized that his didactic purposes could be achieved only if the novel succeeded first at the level of imaginative realism.

From the beginning Richardson claimed to be a realist: Pamela , it is announced on the title page, is a 'Narrative which has its Foundation in TRUTH and NATURE;' and the main purpose of the Postscript to Clarissa is to demonstrate that the story and the manner in which it is told are consonant both with the high artistic standards set by the Greek dramatists and with the facts of everyday life.

The decision not to conclude the story with the reformation of Lovelace and his marriage to the heroine is defended on the grounds that 'the Author Clarissa is stated to be superior to pagan tragedies because it dispenses with the old ideas of poetic justice and takes into account the continuance of life after death.

Richardson has his cake while eating it, however, for he points out that 'the notion of Poetical Justice founded on the modern rules ' [12] is strictly observed in Clarissa. The claim that Clarissa presents a generally truthful rendering of life is given its clearest expression by Skelton and Spence. Both emphasize that it is different from conventional romances and novels: 'it is another kind of Work, or rather a new Species of Novel,' [13] we have 'a Work of a new kind among us'.

Richardson's decision not to include these two essays in the Postscript was perhaps influenced by the fact that he was able to use a similar testimonial which had the added virtue of being patently unsolicited. Published anonymously, but written by Albrecht von Haller, [18] this review must have been particularly attractive also to Richardson because of the singular praise it accords his Epistolary method'.

It had already been asserted by de Freval, in the first of the introductory letters to Pamela , that with this way of writing 'the several Passions of the Mind must Richardson also believed that the epistolary method was superior to the narrative because it was essentially dramatic. Aaron Hill, in one of the introductory letters to Pamela , had maintained that 'one of the best-judg'd Peculiars of the Plan' was that the moral instruction was conveyed 'as in a kind of Dramatical Representation'; [21] while in the Postscript to Clarissa Richardson describes it as a 'History or rather Dramatic Narrative '.

But it is clear that he regarded his work as being closer in every way to the drama than to the epic. The poet, imitating the same object Le Bossu, in his Treatise of the Epick Poem , gives his own restatement of this, and amplifies it by pointing to the particular virtues of the drama: by presenting characters directly to the spectators drama 'has no parts exempt from the Action,' and is thus 'entire and perfect'.

Fielding was familiar with the Treatise , and it is possible that Richardson had also looked at Le Bossu to prepare himself for dealing with the epic theory of his rival. There were also precedents for placing the novel in the dramatic rather than the epic tradition.

Walter Pater

Congreve, when he wrote Incognita , took the drama as his model. I have not observed it before in a Novel.

Works Cited

The romances were modelled on the epic Fielding, in fact, describes Joseph Andrews in his Preface as a 'comic Romance' ; and the picaresque mode in which Smollett wrote had no obviously dramatic qualities. Richardson's advocacy of the novel in which action is presented rather than retailed seems, indeed, curiously modern: it is something Henry James would certainly have understood and approved.

In formulating his own theory of fiction Richardson had Fielding very much in mind. It would be surprising if he had not: the rivalry between the two novelists was open and recognised, although by the time Clarissa was published it had assumed the appearance of [-vi-] friendliness. Sarah Fielding's association with Richardson probably had something to do with this; but the reconciliation was largely her brother's own work. His just and generous praise of Clarissa —publicly in the Jacobite's Journal and privately in a letter to the author— [27] makes full and honourable amends for his mockery of Richardson in Shamela and Joseph Andrews.

If he had not published Tom Jones all might have been well. But Richardson could not forgive his old enemy for achieving a triumph in his chosen field so soon after the publication of his own masterpiece.

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He abused Fielding covertly in letters to his friends; and his revisions of the Preface and Postscript were designed in part to counter the claims for the comic prose epic advanced in Tom Jones and elsewhere. Hints of Prefaces reveals this more clearly than the published versions of the Preface and Postscript: Richardson unfortunately lacked the courage and confidence to press home the attack. Hints of Prefaces bears no date, but there is evidence that it was assembled after the first edition of Clarissa had appeared and, in part at least, after the publication of Tom Jones.

Richardson refers directly at one point to 'this Second Publication', [28] and several sections in it are printed either in full or in a condensed form only in the revised Postscript. Hints of Prefaces therefore cannot be a discarded draft of the Preface and Postscript to the first edition.

The final volumes of this first edition came out in December , and Tom Jones was published in the following February. A letter from Skelton, dated June 10th, , [29] which mentions an 'inclosed Paper' on Clarissa , indicates that his essay did not reach Richardson until after this date; and in the letter to Graham, from which I have already quoted, we find him in the May of still seeking assistance in the preparation of his Preface.

Postscript to the Middle Ages – Syracuse University Press

Apart from such evidence it is obvious that one section of Hints of Prefaces is directed specifically at Fielding. In pages [12] and [13] of the manuscript Richardson seems to be answering, consciously and in sequence, arguments brought forward in the Preface to Joseph Andrews ; the Prefaces contributed by Fielding to the second edition of The Adventures of David Simple , by his sister, Sarah, and its sequel, Familiar Letters between the Principal Characters in David Simple ; and, of course, the introductory chapters in Tom Jones. Richardson begins this part of Hints of Prefaces with a discussion of the three kinds of romance: those that offer us ' Ridicule ; or Serious Adventure ; or, lastly, a Mixture of both '.

He admits 'that there are some Works under the First of these Heads, which have their Excellencies,' but doubts 'whether Ridicule is a [-vii-] proper basis Richardson then proceeds to defend his epistolary method—a convention which Fielding had singled out for attack in his Preface to Familiar Letters , remarking that 'no one will contend, that the epistolary Style is in general the most proper to a Novelist, or that it hath been used by the best Writers of this Kind.

In Clarissa he knew that the challenge had been answered triumphantly: among other things it is a complete vindication of the epistolary technique:. We need not insist on the evident Superiority of this Method to the dry Narrative; where the Novelist moves on, his own dull Pace, to the End of his Chapter and Book, interweaving impertinent Digressions, for fear the Reader's Patience should be exhausted Tom Jones , with its books, chapters, critical interpolations, and ironical apologies to the reader, is the target here; and Richardson clearly longed to inflict a defeat on its author in the realm of theory as resounding as the one he believed he had achieved over him in practice.

His nerve failed him, however, and his defence of the epistolary method as it finally appears in the revised Postscript is cursory and deceptively restrained: 'The author He had the good fortune to succeed in the Epistolary way once before. After completing Clarissa Richardson had a clear and conscious apprehension of the scope and unique qualities of his achievement.

His ability to give an account of these things, however, was limited, though not so limited as he feared: for his theory of the novel to be fully understood, the final versions of his Preface and Postscript need to be read in conjunction with the hitherto unpublished Hints of Prefaces for Clarissa. Richardson observes, be but a secondary consideration in a romance I, vii. Baker, Jr. I, xviii. Le Bossu's Treatise was first published in France in Compare, for example, Richardson's use of the term 'episodes' Hints of Prefaces , p.

Reproduced, with an Introduction by Alexander H. Number 5. Sure this Mr. Richardson is Master of all that Art which Horace compares to Witchcraft McAdam, Jr. I, ix. Philip Skelton was an Irish divine who could well have served as a model for Parson Adams, for in his life he exhibited a vigorous combination of good humour, physical bravery, quixotic gallantry and practical Christianity. The article in the DNB records that 'he studied physic and prescribed for the poor, argued successfully with profligates and sectaries, persuaded lunatics out of their delusions, fought and trounced a company of profane travelling tinkers, and chastised a military officer who persisted in swearing.

The Life of Philip Skelton , by Samuel Burdy, first published in , still makes entertaining and interesting reading. The author of Spence's Anecdotes needs no special introduction, although some aspects of his relationship with Richardson are of interest.

He apparently first met the novelist late in or early in Richardson sought his opinion on Clarissa before the final volumes of the first edition had appeared: his letter discussing the novel [ The Correspondence of Samuel Richardson , edited by Anna Laetitia Barbauld London, , Vol. II, ], which emphasizes Richardson's truth to 'Nature' and lack of 'Art', makes an interesting contrast with the more considered verdict delivered in his contribution to Hints of Prefaces. Before writing this he had almost certainly read Tom Jones.

Albans, in ye same time. He is to me extreamly entertaining This passage is part of Richardson's new material for his revised Postscript. What he wrote in this paragraph, however, was not reproduced completely or accurately in either the third or the fourth editions, in each of which it appears in different but equally incorrect versions. Sale has offered a convincing explanation of how the mistakes in printing came about, and suggests that the passage should read as follows:. She was very early happy in the conversation-visits of her learned and worthy Dr. Lewen, and in her correspondencies, not with him only, but with other Divines mentioned in her last Will.

Her Mother was, upon the whole, a good woman, who did credit to her birth and her fortune; and was able to instruct her in her early youth: Her Father was not a free-living, or free-principled man; and both delighted in her for those improvements and attainments, which gave her, and them in her , a distinction that caused it to be said, that when she was out of the family, it was considered but as a common family.

The Preface to the first edition is reproduced from a copy at the Huntington Library, the Postscript to the fourth edition of Clarissa from a copy in the Rare Books Room of the Library of the University of North Carolina. XV, ff in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Single underlinings have been rendered in italics, double underlinings in boldface.

Hart’s Postscript: Essays on the Postscript to ‘The Concept of Law’

Thanks is extended to these institutions for their kind permission for the reproduction of this material. Between Two young Ladies of Virtue and Honour, bearing an inviolable Friendship for each other, and writing upon the most interesting Subjects: And. Between Two Gentlemen of free Lives; one of them glorying in his Talents for Stratagem and Invention, and communicating to the other, in Confidence, all the secret Purposes of an intriguing Head, and resolute Heart.

But it is not amiss to premise, for the sake of such as may apprehend Hurt to the Morals of Youth from the more freely-written [iv] Letters, That the Gentlemen, tho' professed Libertines as to the Fair Sex, and making it one of their wicked Maxims, to keep no Faith with any of the Individuals of it who throw themselves into their Power, are not, however, either Infidels or Scoffers: Nor yet such as think themselves freed from the Observance of those other moral Obligations, which bind Man to Man.

On the contrary, it will be found, in the Progress of the Collection, that they very often make such Reflections upon each other, and each upon himself, and upon his Actions, as reasonable Beings, who disbelieve not a future State of Rewards and Punishments and who one day propose to reform must sometimes make:—One of them actually reforming, and antidoting the Poison which some might otherwise apprehend would be spread by the gayer Pen, and lighter Heart, of the other.

And yet that other, [altho' in unbosoming himself to a select Friend , he discover Wickedness enough to intitle him to general Hatred] preserves a Decency, as well in his Images, as in his Language, which is not always to be found in the Works of some of the most celebrated modern Writers, whose Subjects and Characters have less warranted the Liberties they have taken. Length will be naturally expected, not only [v] from what has been said, but from the following Considerations:. That the Letters on both Sides are written while the Hearts of the Writers must be supposed to be wholly engaged in their Subjects: The Events at the Time generally dubious:—So that they abound, not only with critical Situations; but with what may be called instantaneous Descriptions and Reflections; which may be brought home to the Breast of the youthful Reader:—As also, with affecting Conversations; many of them written in the Dialogue or Dramatic Way.

To which may be added, that the Collection contains not only the History of the excellent Person whose Name it bears, but includes The Lives, Characters, and Catastrophes, of several others, either principally or incidentally concerned in the Story. But yet the Editor [to whom it was referred to publish the Whole in such a Way as he should think would be most acceptable to the Public] was so diffident in relation to this Article of Length , that he thought proper to submit the Letters to the Perusal of several judicious Friends; whose Opinion he desired of what might be best spared.

One Gentleman, in particular, of whose Know [vi] lege, Judgment, and Experience, as well as Candor, the Editor has the highest Opinion, advised him to give a Narrative Turn to the Letters; and to publish only what concerned the principal Heroine;—striking off the collateral Incidents, and all that related to the Second Characters; tho' he allowed the Parts which would have been by this means excluded, to be both instructive and entertaining. But being extremely fond of the affecting Story, he was desirous to have every-thing parted with, which he thought retarded its Progress.

This Advice was not relished by other Gentlemen. They insisted, that the Story could not be reduced to a Dramatic Unity, nor thrown into the Narrative Way, without divesting it of its Warmth; and of a great Part of its Efficacy; as very few of the Reflections and Observations, which they looked upon as the most useful Part of the Collection, would, then, find a Place. They were of Opinion, That in all Works of This, and of the Dramatic Kind, Story , or Amusement , should be considered as little more than the Vehicle to the more necessary Instruction : That many of the Scenes would be render'd languid, were they to be made less busy: And that the Whole would be thereby deprived of that Variety, which is deemed the Soul of a Feast, whether mensal or mental.

Which might be a Consideration perhaps overlooked by a Gentleman of the Adviser's great Knowlege and Experience: For, as they observed, there is a Period in human Life, in which, youthful Activity ceasing, and Hope contenting itself to peep out of its own domestic Wicket upon bounded Prospects, the half-tired Mind aims at little more than Amusement.

Others, likewise gave their Opinions. But no Two being of the same Mind, as to the Parts which could be omitted, it was resolved to present to the World, the Two First Volumes, by way of Specimen: and to be determined with regard to the rest by the Reception those should meet with. If that be favourable, Two others may soon follow; the whole Collection being ready for the Press: That is to say, If it be not found [viii] necessary to abstract or omit some of the Letters, in order to reduce the Bulk of the Whole. Thus much in general. But it may not be amiss to add, in particular, that in the great Variety of Subjects which this Collection contains it is one of the principal Views of the Publication,.

To caution Parents against the undue Exertion of their natural Authority over their Children, in the great Article of Marriage:. But as the Characters will not all appear in the Two First Volumes, it has been thought advisable, in order to give the Reader some further Idea of Them, and of the Work, to prefix. As Religion is too often wounded thro' the sides of its Professors, whether all good Men or not; so is Virtue, where Women are thought too meanly of, and depretiated. The Author of the following Work, being convinced of the Truth of this Observation, has endeavoured in it to exalt the Sex.

He has made his Heroine pass thro' many Persecutions from her Friends, and ardent Trials from her Lover; yet in the first to keep her Duty in her Eye, and in the latter to be proof against the most insidious Arts, Devices, and Machinations of a Man, who holds, as Parts of the Rake's Credenda, these two Libertine Maxims; That no Woman can resist Opportunity and Importunity , especially when attacked by a Man she loves; and, That, when once subdued, she is always subdued ; and who sets out with a Presumption, that in the Conquest of such a Lady he shall triumph over the whole Sex, against which he had vowed Revenge for having been used ill, as he thought, by one of it.

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