Common Sense

Clarissa – Plot Overview

Clarissa tells the story of a virtuous, beautiful young woman who is brought to tragedy by the wickedness of her world. The eighteen-year-old Clarissa Harlowe is universally loved and admired, considered an exemplary woman by everyone around her. The Harlowes are an up-and-coming family, possessing great wealth but little status. The other members of the …

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Clarissa – Preface

Summary In the Preface, Richardson lays out the format of the novel: it will consist of letters, mostly between two virtuous young ladies and two rakish young men. The author assures the reader that the men’s letters, although wicked, are decent and not wholly immoral. He defends the length of the work on the ground …

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Clarissa – Letters 215–242

Summary The marriage settlements come back formalized from the lawyer, and Lovelace proceeds to pursue a license. He encounters unexpected difficulties with this, because he cannot prove that Clarissa’s parents have consented to the marriage. Clarissa’s happiness makes their relationship smooth and pleasant, and Lovelace’s vicious resolve falters several times. When it does, he reads …

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