Lecture 23: The Novel: Richardson, Fielding, & Sterne
Samuel Richardson “Pamela”
Richardson was met with enormous approval from his readers.
He was a publisher.
”Pamela” (1740) is about a typical heroine of the age: Pamela is a poor but a good woman.
In her letters, the readers can follow her problems and crises.
Mr. B. wants to marry her, and tries to rape her.
She later agrees to marry him.
Pamela then becomes a model for the good wife.
This was parodies by ”Shamela” by Henry Fielding.
Samuel Richardson: “Clarissa” (1749)
Many readers find the moral tone of Richardson’s novels hard to accept.
“Clarissa” is narrated through the letters of Clarissa and Lovelace (epistolary).
Lovelace is a womanizer but not wealthy.
Clarissa’s parents insist that she marry a rich man and not Lovelace.
When she is locked up, Lovelace convinces her to elope to London.
She lives among prostitutes thinking they’re respectable people.
He finally drugs her and rapes her.
Clarissa goes mad and dies. Lovelace dies in a fight.
Again, the woman is a victim of men.
The rules of moral behavior in male/female relations were fixed.
Only later women novelists started to challenge them.
Richardson took the advice from his readers regarding the plot.
The novel was published in parts (serialisation)
Fielding: “Tom Jones” & ”Joseph Andrews”
Henry fielding examined male point of view to Richardson’s ideas and circumstances.
“Tom Jones” & ”Joseph Andrews” are his best-known novels.
Fielding calls his novels “comic epics in prose”.
Fielding follows the heroes through long, complicated epic journeys (picaresque).
He stresses the experiences they go through and how they form the character.
”Joseph Andrews” follows the life Joseph in a novel which begins as a parody of Richardson’s “Pamela”
Fielding defends the good but displaying the ’ridiculous’.
His plots show the strength and weakness of human beings.
Men always have rather more freedom than women.
Fielding uses the third-person narrator and often puts his opinion for the benefit of the ‘dear reader’.
Laurence Sterne: “Tristram Shandy”
“The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman” (1767) is the most ‘unusual’ novel of the time.
This is a long comic novel which plays with time, plot, and character.
Traditionally, the plot has a beginning, a middle, and an ending, in that order.
Sterne was the first to change this order.
He wanted to show how foolish it is to force everything into a traditional plot.
His shows his plot line in his famous illustration.
Sterne was the first writer to use what is known as “stream of consciousness”.
“Stream of consciousness” follows the thoughts of characters as they come into their heads.
Elements of the Novel
CHARACTER: (protagonist vs antagonist/ flat vs round)
THEME: what is it about? Moral lessons.
PLOT: (Exposition; Complication; Climax; Resolution)
POINT OF VIEW. (Third person (he, she, they); first person (I)
SETTING. (place and time)
1- Journalist first-person narrator
2- the letters and diaries (epistles)
3- third-person, all-knowing
4- Stream of Consciousness
Types of novels
1- political 2- romantic (romance) 3- comic 4- social 5- satirical