gall and gumption

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Virtue Rewarded

I’m reading Pamela for the first time in about 10 years. As some of you know, I read Clarissa about once every two-three years. Pamela is the Gateway Drug; once you try it and like it, you get curious, you want to try the harder stuff, Clarissa is the next choice and before you know it you are venturing into Sir Charles Grandison.

I confess to having read Sir Charles Grandison all the way to the end. I don’t know if I will ever do that again; life is short, and that book is very very long. Clarissa is only very long and it has more soul in it: Sir Charles G. is a bit of a wet noodle if you ask me. But I love Clarissa, and I love Richardson’s handling of the character of Lovelace, how he really takes him apart. Sometimes I think I read that book just to get to those amazing scenes after Lovelace has raped Clarissa, when she is so powerful in her indignation, he thinks he’s going to be able to bully her at last but no, nothing frightens her, she’s just magnificent.

I’m feeling the old craving just beginning to warm up.

Meanwhile I picked up a copy of Pamela, just for a taste of that buzz of days past. I started reading it and

in the midst of our poverty and misfortunes, we have trusted in God's goodness, and been honest, and doubt not to be happy hereafter, if we continue to be good, though our lot is hard here; but the loss of our dear child's virtue would be a grief that we could not bear, and would bring our grey hairs to the grave at once.



At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read Pamela in college and liked it, but your comments inspire me to read Clarissa. Have just finished the Diaries of Kenneth Tynan. Could not put them down. Enlightened about certain sexual proclivities, but need to be tactful in passing it on to friends. Even at 2 AM I was laughing out loud at some of his offhand remarks about people. Brilliant and very sad.

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Phil said...

An epistolary novel - you could turn your blog into one. May it chronicle your adventures, and may your virtues remain intact.

At 11:52 PM, Blogger Kia said...


I say go for it but just remember the first 400 pages of Clarissa are, well, a challenge. To your patience I mean. Samuel Johnson said "If you read Clarissa for the plot you'd hang yourself." I always say this to people who want to give it a go so when they read it they don't think I'm playing a joke on them. It's worth persevering, it's worth even skimming; you can always skim and go back, you know.


Thank you good sir.
[/curtsey and blushing]


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