Saturday, March 31, 2012
Clarissa - March Progress Notes
Terri and I are co-hosting a yearlong group read of Clarissa by Samuel Richardson. She is collecting links to March update posts here.
March is drawing to a close. In an ideal world, I'd have finished letter 72 last evening and written a profound post full of deep thoughts, keen observations, insightful quotes, and a little speculation.
In the real world, a busy month combined with a sharp increase in letters finds me playing catchup. No matter how fast I read, I'm still a week behind. But that's OK, because this is a low stress project and the letter dates were supposed to provide "loose structure". I suspect that for the next several months the dates will become less important and I'll read as time permits. It'll all work out in the end. Besides, Clarissa was more enjoyable when I read a letter or two every few days.
At Letter 46 (or Volume II, letter II in my e-reader edition) dated 3/22, I feel it's getting repetitive. Clarissa keeps rehashing the situation and her counter proposals to anyone who will read her letters. We, of course, must read them all, along with the responses. No wonder this novel is 1500 pages long!
Anyhow, Clarissa remains confined to her room, her loyal servant has been fired, and the entire family is united in forcing her marriage to Mr. Solmes, which is now scheduled to take place within a couple of weeks. Clarissa has promised that she will not marry Lovelace, or anyone else, if she can be free to refuse Solmes. Her family will have none of this.
We have finally heard from Lovelace, and I don't like him much. I suspect he may be more interested in the 'thrill of the chase' or obtaining something forbidden than in Clarissa herself. Are there any likable characters in this novel? At this point, my answer is no. I have to guard against judging from a 21st century perspective, but am thankful I wasn't a young woman in the 18th century.
Bottom line: Clarissa is getting a little repetitive, but I'm still enjoying the story.
If you feel ready to charge ahead and complete the novel, Allie, Jillian, and Adam are hosting a read-along in April. More information can be found here. Good luck to the brave participants. I think it might just kill me to read all of Clarissa in a single month!