Thursday, August 02, 2012

Reading Clarissa: April in July

Yes. I am behind in my reading of Clarissa. Way behind. You can see reading markers in my physical copy of the book above. The orange tabs are the readings for each month. The bookmark sticking out is my place marker. I'm about midway through April. BTW, I often read this book on my Kindle since the sheer weight of the thing can be tiring.

The readings for March through August are quite large chunks. I managed to get through the March readings during March, but was so put off by the repetition involved in Richardson's telling of this tale that I didn't even pick up the book in April. Then when April came and went I was so far behind and so busy in other areas of my life that I avoided this weighty tome. I know ... blah, blah, blah, excuses.

Speaking of repetition, this is often what my mind does with the story: "I won't!" "You will!" "No, I won't!" "Yes, you will!" "Absolutely not!" "Yes! Even if we have to carry you!" "What have I ever done to deserve this?!" "You are an ungrateful and undutiful wretch!" Repeat. Repeatedly.

I do like the theme of Clarissa, and I don't mind reading epistolary novels. The 18th century language is only a minor distraction. I do not have a lot of, nor recent, experience with 18th century novels; my experience entails an 18th century literature class a couple of decades ago. Hence, I can not tell if my problems are with Clarissa and Richardson's writing or with 18th century literature in general.

Ah well, enough complaining. I will continue reading since I really do want to know how this story ends and I do wish to eventually have something cogent to say about this hunk of literature. To all my fellow Clarissa readers: Keep Calm and Read on!


  1. Lol. Your post makes me remember how frustrated I was with the first half of Clarissa - especially with her just sitting up in her room, writing letters to her family downstairs. It was so so so annoying because of it's incredible repetitiveness. It does get better, I think.

  2. My thoughts exactly! I plan to finish up North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (about 3/4 done now) then turn my attention back to Clarissa.

  3. I'm having the same problem! I was put off by the repetition and didn't feel like reading the book at all during April. I've been trying to catch up but I'm still only in early May. The story is starting to get a lot more interesting, though!

  4. Despite my whining, I do feel like it gets better somewhere around the end of May if I'm remembering correctly. Hopefully if you can make it there you'll feel like you're on the downward slide.

  5. Hmmm, it seems quite the tome! I'm not sure if I'll be picking it up anytime soon, but I applaud your efforts.

  6. I'm still admiring you all for your perseverance. Even if you're behind. I don't think I will ever be able to tackle it.