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Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady

Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson
By: (1689-1761)

Clarissa Harlowe, the tragic heroine of Clarissa, is a beautiful and virtuous young lady whose family has become very wealthy only in recent years and is now eager to become part of the aristocracy by acquiring estates and titles through advantageous pairings. Clarissa’s relatives attempt to force her to marry a rich but heartless man (Roger Solmes) against her will and, more importantly, against her own sense of virtue. Desperate to remain free, she is tricked by a young gentleman of her acquaintance, Lovelace, into escaping with him. However, she refuses to marry him, longing — unusual for a girl in her time — to live by herself in peace.

First Page:

CLARISSA HARLOWE

or the

HISTORY OF A YOUNG LADY

Nine Volumes

Volume I.

Comprehending The most Important Concerns of Private Life. And particularly shewing, The Distresses that may attend the Misconduct Both of Parents and Children, In Relation to Marriage.

PREFACE

The following History is given in a series of letters, written Principally in a double yet separate correspondence;

Between two young ladies of virtue and honor, bearing an inviolable friendship for each other, and writing not merely for amusement, but upon the most interesting subjects; in which every private family, more or less, may find itself concerned; 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 here it will be proper to observe, for the sake of such as may apprehend hurt to the morals of youth, from the more freely written letters, that the gentlemen, though professed libertines as to the female sex, and making it one of their wicked maxims, to keep no faith with any of the individuals of it, who are thrown into their power, are not, however, either infidels or scoffers; nor yet such as think themselves freed from the observance of those other moral duties which bind man to man... Continue reading book >>


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