Proposing that Samuel Richardson's novels were crucial for the construction of female individuality in the mid-eighteenth century, Bonnie Latimer shows that Richardson's heroines are uniquely conceived as individuals who embody the agency and self-determination implied by that term. In addition to placing Richardson within the context of his own culture, recouping for contemporary readers the influence of Grandison on later writers, including Maria Edgeworth, Sarah Scott, and Mary Wollstonecraft, is central to her study. Latimer argues that Grandison has been unfairly marginalised in favor of Clarissa and Pamela, and suggests that a rigorous rereading of the novel not only provides a basis for reassessing significant aspects of Richardson's fictional oeuvre, but also has implications for fresh thinking about the eighteenth-century novel. Latimer's study is not a specialist study of Grandison but rather a reconsideration of Richardson's novelistic canon that places Grandison at its centre as Richardson's final word on his re-envisioning of the gendered self.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: pigtails and Pope's poetry; The modern individual; The manhood of the mind; The moral economy; The practice of piety; The intimate contract; Afterword; Bibliography; Index.
'... [an] accessible and insightful analysis of Richardson’s works in a text that makes an important contribution to eighteenth-century gender and literary studies.' Review of English Studies ’This study is relevant for any scholar working on Richardson, eighteenth-century literary history, or the rise of the novel ... Latimer offers one of the most significant reassessments of Grandison in recent years that will have critics rethinking its relationship to Richardson’s predecessors and its contribution to his successors.’ Studies in the Novel ’Latimer’s book is an erudite, original, and provocative contribution to Richardson studies and to scholarship on the novel more generally. ...Latimer’s book makes a convincing and sophisticated argument for [Grandison’s] central place in the development of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century prose fiction.’ BARS Review