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Critical Remarks on Sir Charles Grandison, Clarissa, and Pamela (1754)   By:

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The Augustan Reprint Society

Critical Remarks on Sir Charles Grandison, Clarissa, and Pamela (1754)

With an Introduction by Alan Dugald McKillop

Publication Number 21 (Series IV, No. 3)

Los Angeles William Andrews Clark Memorial Library University of California 1950


H. RICHARD ARCHER, Clark Memorial Library RICHARD C. BOYS, University of Michigan EDWARD NILES HOOKER, University of California, Los Angeles H. T. SWEDENBERG, JR., University of California, Los Angeles


W. EARL BRITTON, University of Michigan JOHN LOFTIS, University of California, Los Angeles


EMMETT L. AVERY, State College of Washington BENJAMIN BOYCE, University of Nebraska LOUIS I. BREDVOLD, University of Michigan CLEANTH BROOKS, Yale University JAMES L. CLIFFORD, Columbia University ARTHUR FRIEDMAN, University of Chicago SAMUEL H. MONK, University of Minnesota ERNEST MOSSNER, University of Texas JAMES SUTHERLAND, Queen Mary College, London


The present pamphlet was published in February 1754, after six volumes of Sir Charles Grandison had appeared and about a month before the appearance of the seventh and last volume. Though Grandison was technically anonymous, its authorship was generally known, and the pamphlet refers to Richardson by name. Sale's bibliography gives further details ( Samuel Richardson: A Bibliographical Record , New Haven, 1936, pp. 131 32), including the suggestion of the Monthly Review (X, 159 60) that the author was Alexander Campbell, who also wrote A Free and Candid Examination of Lord Bolingbroke's Letters on History (1753). The pro Bolingbroke and deistic sentiments of the Critical Remarks lend color to this attribution. Nichols' Literary Anecdotes (II, 277) says under the year 1755 that William Bowyer printed a few copies of two pamphlets on Grandison , one by Francis Plumer and one by Dr. John Free. To Plumer is attributed A Candid Examination of the History of Sir Charles Grandison (April 1754; 3rd ed., 1755), and the inference might then be that Free was the author of the Critical Remarks , even though the date 1755 given by Nichols is not right, since these two are the only known early Grandison pamphlets. But Free's orthodox religious views seem to eliminate him as a possibility. Whoever the author was, his references to Henry and Sarah Fielding are decidedly friendly, and he speaks well of Mason, Gray, Dodsley, and Pope.

The Remarks represents a type of pamphlet occasionally called forth by works which engaged the general attention of the town, such as the great novels of the period; thus before the Grandison pamphlets we have Pamela Censured , Lettre sur Pamela , An Examen of the History of Tom Jones , An Essay on the New Species of Writing Founded by Mr. Fielding , and Remarks on Clarissa . Usually these fugitive essays are hostile to the work they discuss, and represent the attempt of some obscure writer to turn a shilling by exposing for sale a title page which might catch the eye with a well known name. The J. Dowse who sold the Critical Remarks was an obscure pamphlet shop proprietor, not a prominent bookseller. Richardson and his correspondents were of course irritated at both the Grandison pieces: Mrs. Sarah Chapone was indignant at the Critical Remarks , venturing the absurd suggestion that Fielding might be the author (Victoria and Albert Museum, Forster Collection, Richardson MSS., XIII, 1, ff. 102 03, letter of 6 April 1754); and Lady Bradshaigh and Richardson considered the more favorable Candid Examination an unfriendly work (Forster Collection, Richardson MSS., XI, ff. 98, 100 02). Yet these obscure publications give an interesting view of some current approaches and reactions before opinion has taken a set form, and help us to get access to the contemporary reading public... Continue reading book >>

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