1793 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Richardson

Edmond Malone, 1793 ca.; Maloniana, in Sir James Prior, Life of Edmond Malone (1860) 439.



Richardson, the author of Clarissa, had been a common printer, and possessed no literature whatever. He was very silent in company, and so vain that he never enjoyed any subject but that of himself or his works. He once asked Douglas, Bishop of Salisbury, how he liked Clarissa. The bishop said he could never get beyond the Bailiff scene. The author, thinking this a condemnation of his book, looked grave; but all was right when the bishop added, it affected him so much that he was drowned in tears, and could not trust himself with the book any longer.

Richardson had a kind of club of women about him — Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Talbot, &c. — who looked up to him as to a superior being; to whom he dictated and gave laws; and with whom he lived almost entirely. To acquire a facility of epistolary writing he would on every trivial occasion write notes to his daughters even when they were in the same house with him. — (Bishop Douglas and Dr. Johnson.)