1787 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Richardson

Anna Seward to William Newton, the Peak Minstrel, 10 May 1787; Letters, ed. Scott (1811) 1:293.



Disavowing a propensity to read, and to love novels, yet have I always considered the Clarissa and Grandison of Richardson, as the highest efforts of genius in our language, next to Shakespeare's plays. I live in constant familiarity with their graces. Devoted to them in my earliest youth, they set my taste too high ever after to endure mediocrity in that line of writing.

Fielding's novels are also excellent, though I abjure the coarse unfeeling taste of those who prefer them to the glories of the Richardsonian pen.