Sunday, October 02, 2005

It Begins

I began reading Clarissa last night. I skipped the long scholarly intro to the book, they are never really useful until afterwards anyway so I'm never sure why publishers put them in as introductions. Don't they know that everyone who isn't in school skips them? I did read Richardson's Preface. You know you're in trouble when the author himself has to explain why the book is so long. I was reminded though that in the beginning, the English novel was frequently meant to instruct. I've only read three letters so far and am feeling insrtucted already with a new word: animadvert: pass criticism or censure on; speak out against. As Clarissa writes, "it would have shown a particularity that a vain man would construe to his advantage, and which my sister would not fail to animadvert upon." I also have to remember that ladies of breeding and fortune had time on their hands and so take a long time to tell a story and get to the point. If only I were a lady of breeding and fortune who had a long time to sit and read. The book is readable though which is good because I have a long way to go. On a side note, M.G. Lord nicely explains why I love and am disgusted by Robert Heinlein. There's a big centennial celebration in the works for him for 2007. Perhaps a good opportunity to pull a few of those long ago read books of his off my shelf and see what I think of them now.