18th Century Enthusiasts discussion

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message 10: by Shelley (new)

Shelley (thequeenofhats) | 2 comments Adam wrote: "I felt clammy reading Clarissa, cold and voyeuristic. It was like Richardson was enjoying his main character's degradation and descent. Fanny Burney is at least on Evelina's side and so felt like a..."

Yes, this. Years after I read Clarissa, I represented victims of sex abuse--and even allowing for centuries and changing views of sex/consent, it's not something I can reread. There are enough disturbing rape/seduction narratives in real life. (And I never met a defendant who didn't claim the victim wanted it.)

Recently I read Rape and Power in Early America, which discusses some of the roles literature played in attitutes/reflected contemporary attitudes. (Clarissa was very popular here and is discussed.)

I'm with everyone else on Evelina! It's Fanny Burney's best novel, IMHO.


message 9: by Adam (new)

Adam Stevenson | 10 comments I felt clammy reading Clarissa, cold and voyeuristic. It was like Richardson was enjoying his main character's degradation and descent. Fanny Burney is at least on Evelina's side and so felt like a healthy and enjoyable experience.


message 8: by Liz_ (new)

Liz_ Adam wrote: "Evelina is a far more enjoyable work."

The two are such different works that I'm not sure it's possible for such a simple comparison. Evelina is an utter delight to read, but Clarissa will stay with me a lot longer.

I think many are put off by the length of Clarissa, or give up because it takes so long for any real action to take place, but what is enjoyable for me is the richness of the characters. Richardson shows real psychological insight, and if the plot moves slowly at times - only at times, mind, because beyond the first act I found it a real page-turner - it's because he takes so much trouble with character development. Perhaps it's not to everybody's taste, but I found it a very compelling read.


Evelina, on the other hand, is a wonderful work, sparkling and intelligent. Just a joy to read. It's the first of Burney's that I've read, so I've very much looking forward to her other novels.


message 7: by Adam (new)

Adam Stevenson | 10 comments Evelina is a far more enjoyable work.


message 6: by Liz_ (new)

Liz_ Hi, I'm Liz from the UK. I've a particular interest in the social history of the 18th and early 19th centuries and the literature of that period.

I recently finished Samuel Richardson's Clarissa, which was a marathon, but I thought was wonderful and well worth taking the time to read. I'm currently reading Frances Burney's Evelina.


message 5: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 50 comments Mod
Nice to meet you, Shelley and Adam! Sorry I've been so slow in responding. Welcome to the group!


message 4: by Adam (new)

Adam Stevenson | 10 comments Hi, I'm Adam, I'd like to get a PHD in 18th Century Literature - probably something about Kit Smart or maybe Grub Street's sub-literary culture.

Instead I work at a primary school and I am trying to write an 18th century novel in my spare time.


message 3: by Shelley (new)

Shelley (thequeenofhats) | 2 comments Hi, I'm Shelley. I'm an attorney still kicking myself for not getting that PhD in history like I really wanted. :)


message 2: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 50 comments Mod
Hi, I'm Ashley. I'm currently a PhD student studying 18th Century Literature.


message 1: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 50 comments Mod
Feel free to introduce yourself here.


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