Samuel Richardson and the Art of Letter-Writing

Samuel Richardson and the Art of Letter-Writing

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Louise Curran
Cambridge University Press, 3/17/2016
EAN 9781107131514, ISBN10: 1107131510

Hardcover, 292 pages, 23.4 x 15.8 x 1.7 cm
Language: English

This fascinating study examines Samuel Richardson's letters as important works of authorial self-fashioning. It analyses the development of his epistolary style; the links between his own letter-writing practice and that of his fictional protagonists; how his correspondence is highly conscious of the spectrum of publicity; and how he constructed his letter collections to form an epistolary archive for posterity. Looking backwards to earlier epistolary traditions, and forwards, to the emergence of the lives-in-letters mode of biography, the book places Richardson's correspondence in a historical continuum. It explores how the eighteenth century witnesses a transition, from a period in which an author would rarely preserve personal papers to a society in which the personal lives of writers become privileged as markers of authenticity in the expanded print market. It argues that Richardson's letters are shaped by this shifting relationship between correspondence and publicity in the mid-eighteenth century.

undesigning scribbler
1. Forming a style
Pamela, plainness and the 'true sublime'
2. Lady Bradshaigh's Clarissa and the author as correspondent
3. Trifling scribes
women's letters and patchwork writing
4. The Grandison years
men, morals, and manliness
5. Editing letters in an age of index-learning