Have we really been reading Clarissa for five months? As you might have guessed, I'm still lagging behind schedule. Around mid-month I set a goal of finishing the April letters by the end of May but, despite a strong last minute push, fell short of success and only made it to L130. With 85 June letters (282 pages) added to the 57 May letters (160 pages), it's safe to assume I won't be catching up next month either.
My feelings about Clarissa can be summed up in a single word - neutral.
I generally enjoy reading the book, but never mind putting it aside either. There was a single "just let me read one more letter" period during the high family drama at Harlowe place, but since then I haven't exactly looked forward to my evening letter-reading.
Some random observations:
Richardson could have used a good editor.
My sympathy for Clarissa increases as her situation worsens.
It seems odd that Clarissa refers to her family as her 'friends'.
I'm glad I live in the 21st century.
The letters are slowly revealing Lovelace's character... not to his advantage.
Lovelace's entire discussion of virtue in letter 110 is very enlightening.
"For is not a wife the keeper of a man's honour? And do not her faults bring more disgrace upon a husband than even upon herself."Lovelace to John Belford, L117
"Virtue then is less to be dispensed with in the woman than in the man."
"And now, if I have not found a virtue that cannot be corrupted, I will swear that there is not one such in the whole sex. Is not then the whole sex concerned that this trial should be made? -and who is it that knows her, that would not stake upon her head the honour of the whole? -Let her who would refuse it, come forth and desire to stand in her place."
"Poor Hickman! I pity him for the prospect he has with such a virago! -But the fellow's a fool, God wot! And now I think of it, it is absolutely necessary for complete happiness in the married state, that one should be a fool..."Now back to reading...