Thursday, December 20, 2012

Containing a quotation from "The Golden Bough" to exercise further the judgement and reflection of the reader

This example illustrates the extremely materialistic view which these savages take of the nature of words; they suppose that the mere utterance of an expression signifying clumsiness will homeopathically affect with clumsiness the limbs of their distant foemen. Another illustration of the curious misconception is furnished by Caffre South African superstition that the character of a young thief can be reformed by shouting his name over a boiling kettle of medicated water, then clapping a lid on the kettle and leaving the name to steep in the water for several days. It is not in the least necessary that the thief should be aware of the use that is being made of his name behind his back; the moral reformation will be effected without his knowledge.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Containing a quotation from "The Golden Bough" to exercise the judgement and reflection of the reader

In the Central African kingdom of Bunyoro down to recent years custom required that as soon as the king fell seriously ill or began to break up from age, he should die by his own hand; for, according to an old prophecy, the throne would pass away from the dynasty if ever the king were to die a natural death. He killed himself by draining a poisoned cup. If he faltered or were too ill to ask for the cup, it was his wife’s duty to administer the poison.

                                             --From James Frazer's The Golden Bough, Ch. XXIV, "The Mortality of the Gods."

Monday, December 17, 2012

Containing a quotation from Frazer's "The Golden Bough" to exercise the reflection and judgement of the reader

Man has created gods in his own likeness and being himself mortal he has naturally supposed his creatures to be in the same sad predicament. Thus the Greenlanders believed that a wind could kill their most powerful god, and that he would certainly die if he touched a dog. When they heard of the Christian God, they kept asking if he never died, and being informed that he did not, they were much surprised, and said that he must be a very great god indeed.

              --From James Frazer's The Golden Bough, Ch. XXIV, "The Mortality of the Gods"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Taming of the Rake

It gives me pleasure to relate to my dear readers in the following scribble a most instructive tale, wherein an heroine is shewn in an unusual scene of life, whom no temptations of sufferings could subdue. It is an edifying little piece, much wanted in the world, which is but too much debauched by a pernicious culture. This story comes to me through a correspondence I maintain with a former rake, Mr.Hutchenson, now reformed and living as a proper gentleman husband.

This letter, herein reproduced, I received from Mr. Hutchenson, and it relates his wondrous transformation---

Dear Mr.Richardson---I write these days as an honourable gentleman, one for whom nothing is of greater importance than to live by those moral principles given to us by God Almighty. Alas, I was not always this honourable creature who is now writing to ye. I compose my passion in this letter so that ye may know how I came to abjure the libertine way of life, and replaced it with that of the gentleman, and of how the majestic virtue of one noble lady, a paragon to her sex, enabled me to make this transformation. 

I do not intend to particularize here any stories of my former debauched ways (tho' I desire not to hide or ameliorate any of my former sins); let it suffice ye to know that in my youth I did allow myself free indulgence of the passions, especially to the fair sex, for I was quite the confounded libertine, I warrant ye. I would now like to relate the story of how my moral reclamation came about, through the guidance of the most excellent woman on earth. 

My proper story starts about five years ago, when I overheard certain rumors that had been spreading among the rakish crowd that I had fallen into, with whom I had in the past taken many draughts of rhenish, and enjoyed a good many hearty wenches together---rumors that concerned the arrival of a new whore to the local bawdy house. She was spoken of by the people as being a fine looking wench, one whose virgin knot was still intact. But it actually mattered little to me or my friends, whether we would be her first ravisher or not---for everyone was content merely to have a morsel cut off the spit. 

The rumor also made mention of the lady's particularly sharp tongue. It was remarked that the pert baggage was very fond of catechizing to the men who came to see her in her bedchamber, and that all the men thereafter would leave forswearing their libertine ways. For it was claimed that through her preaching, she was able to guide the heart of every rogue, pimp, buffoon, atheist, lecher, debauchee, and sodomite, who came to  her---thus she directed their hearts, away from sin and corruption, and converted them towards virtue and honor. No male visitor, it was rumored, could leave her chambers without forsaking the road of rutting for ever; keeping her maidenhead in the meanwhile, naturally, untouched. The lady's reputation piqued me, and upset my pride, quite a great deal.  "How dare she, the little preacher," I thought, "the presumption of hers! I daresay that I can out-tongue the wench, and reconcile the sauce-box to her new profession." Thus one evening I ventured to visit the bawdy house and make her an introduction. 

When I had arrived, I endeavoured to make the proper arrangements with the Procuress of the bawdy house, Mistress Tinselpop, informing her of my hearty intention to sample her newest goods. She said she would be kind to oblige me, but first she desired me to know that the succulent wench was yet a little raw in her entertainment, and that it would behoove me at first to be tender with the delicate creature, but to grow more determined thereafter---for the young sapling required proper adjusting, said Tinselpop, so as to be made more malleable. Caveat emptor, finished the good Mistress Procuress, with an horrid grimace  I thanked her kindly for her prudent counsel, paid her most generously, and pinched her large backside as final token of my appreciation.

Thereby I was given permission to enter the lady's bedchamber. I glimpsed the slattern sitting by the window, looking outside, with book in hand. "Greetings, pretty one," I said, "ye have been highly praised by thine Mistress." 

"What Mistress, sir?" she turned to me and asked. 

"Why, thine Mistress who sets seeds and roots of shame and iniquity under this roof," I replied.

"I know of no such Mistress who has any authority over me, or of any person I would allow to plant such corruption in mine soul." 

"Surely, ye do not intend" I said, "to keep thine innocence whilst living in this bawdy house? where you are proclaimed to be a creature of sale."  

"Good heavens, you know this to be a bawdy house, and will come into it?” She stirred like a wild kitten. “You would willingly come here to attempt a young maiden's virtue, and so ruin her for ever after?"

"Ah, fie upon thine wiseacrings," I rapt out. "Why do you attempt to rise above thine station? And know ye not that your shilly-shallying has brought down  the prices in all the brothels in the city. If the Mistress Procuress can not make enough money to pay the house bills, she will be forced to shutter her business. And then where will all the gentlemen go to in the evenings? Would you have us stay home with our wives and children instead?"

"Forsooth, I would have ye do that. Good heavens, I would have ye empty old receptacles, serve an internship to the common lumberjack, watch television, popular films, read news-papers in the evenings---anything is better than coming here. Think upon it, sir, what wickeder profession exists than that of the prostitute? For what reason, think you, is it believed by the people, that prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, if not that it were also the wickedest?  And surrounded as I am by baseness on all sides, does it follow that I myself should run towards the fire? I would also have ye understand, for thine own benefit, that prostitution is a grave sin indeed, the punishment for which, depend upon it, may be the pox, syphilis, as well as the French and the Italian diseases; while much graver punishments await ye in the after-life." 

She told me that her name was Theodosia; that she was actually born to a noble family, but upon her mother's untimely death, her father had re-married with a woman of wicked heart. Her step-mother became extremely jealous of her husband's fondness for his pretty daughter, who so reminded him of his departed wife. Her step-mother arranged it so that, while she was walking on the beach one day, Theodosia would be seized by pirates, and forcibly brought to this vile place. 

"Ads-bobbers!" I said, after she finished speaking.

But before I could ask her about the pirates, Theodosia's eloquence came over me quite suddenly, for she impressed me so greatly, and her story so moved me to tears, that I could not help but to feel respect and admiration for her. I was in awe of her honesty, her bravery, and her consistency. How such a precious jewel as she, how such a paragon of virtue may be found among this hotbed of iniquity, this can only be the result of an unlucky fortune. The strumpet fortune indeed. Theodosia's powerful words had touched my heart, for never before have I seen a lady of such fine beauty and noble soul.

Thereupon I designed a scheme to help her escape from the bawdy house; the details of which I will not trouble you with; suffice it to say, that upon this occasion, Theodosia did reform my rakish heart, and I vowed to bring her out of that brothel-house. I also resolved to leave the road of rutting forever, to change my roguish company of friends in the city, for more sober companions.---And upon that occasion, finally, I resolved to respect all creatures of the fair sex, not excluding maidservants (be they my maidservants or those of another man), and to cease conquering them all for my sport. 

What is there more to say, but to let you know what became of Theodosia? Well, Mr. Richardson, I married her. I write ye now as a happily married man. By Gad, it turns out that a converted rake can, after all, make a good husband, Mr.Richardson, which you never  did believe. Mrs. Theodosia Hutchenson and I are expecting our first child next month. Please post this letter on your blog, so that your readers may learn from my story, and so that they may come to worship Mrs. Theodosia as an ornament to her sex and to human nature. Until then I remain

Your humble servant,

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From a young Lady to her Suitor, complaining of his Naughtiness

Dear readers,

I continue my tradition here on this blog of reproducing letters received by me, from young maidens in need of counsel, whose virtue may be threatened by  rakes or libertines, to be used by the reader as a modest source of moral, prudential, religious, satirical, economical, or cautionary lessons.

To this end, I reproduce one such letter, received near the end of last year by yours truly. This letter relates a situation of universal application, as this type of situation has plagued the courtships of many couples indeed.

Dear Mr. Richardson---I must humbly appeal to your counsel, for I am in a sorry predicament with regard to a certain gentleman suitor, Mr. Jenkyns. So I seek your advice upon this urgent pickle. I have been put out out of countenance by Mr.Jenkyns’s recent behavior toward me, for it has become, if I may say so, a rather strange medley of inconsistence.---Only yesterday evening, while I was getting undressed, preparing for my evening ablutions, Mr. Jenkyns did burst into my room and made an attempt upon my honour. He violently grabbed my hand, and uttered in a lecherous tone, “Why so grave, Judy? Why such blushing? I came up merely to kiss you goodnight. Be not so pert with me, my little charmer.”--- How shocked I was by his forwardness, you can hardly conceive. Yet I managed to reply, “Excuse me, Sir.  But it is not proper to intrude upon honest ladies in such manner.”---He then ran on about my over-punctilious modesty, and insisted upon the general right of a gentleman to take innocent liberties with his beloved, with whom he is bound to tie the knot shortly anyway.

But how it pains me now to say that Jenkyns has not been behaving lately as a true gentleman should. For now he thinks me attemptable. But not long ago, I delighted very much indeed in Mr. Jenkyns’s conversation, was flattered by his generosity, and charmed by his wit---for thus he succeeded in making his court to my good opinion. Yet few days prior to this incident you just read of, I found hidden in Jenkyns’s room a number of my silken undergarments, heretofore was thought lost by me. And I have reason enough to believe that Jenkyns does occasionally hide himself in the buck-basket, where I hold all my worn undergarments, like my shifts, my stockings, and petticoats, in the laundry room.

Would that Jenkyns cease his lewd behavior, and resume his earlier pleasantries to me. I am afraid that Jenkyns has spent too much time a-capering upon his smart-phone.---He has been, as the vulgar people call these things, much facebooking, twittering, downloading, uploading, and whatnot. In any case, he has certainly been very hot for me.---What should I do, Mr. Richardson? Should I tell Jenkyns that if he intends to marry me, he ought to cease taking so much interest in my undergarments, and cultivate the habit of knocking before entering rooms; or else should I simply appeal to a professional psychologist, who might be able to help Jenkyns overcome his naughty habits? I am torn indeed. ---Oh, and one more thing, (in case this information be of some use to you), Jenkyns has displayed certain peculiar conduct lately, in that he has started to assume, from time to time, the identity of a certain 18th century novelist, imitating the writer’s speech and manner of dress as much as possible, to my utter annoyance. Could he be receiving inspiration for his attacks upon me from this novelist's work? And so I end my sad letter here, reliant on your counsel. I look forward to your advice, Mr.Richardson, and until then I remain,

                                                                                                   Your humble servant,  

Monday, December 3, 2012

In which the author gives his views on The Simpsons and God

Dear readers,

I am sure that many of you who have watched the last episode of The Simpsons (Season 24, Episode 8), have also the following two questions nagging you: first, is God a geometer who designed the heavens and the earth, and all that is good and proper in it, as tradition has it, or is He a late-capitalism consumer of the most vulgar sort, the kind of consumer who prays everyday at the shrine of deified Steve Jobs? as God, and, by extension, the entire society, were depicted in this latest episode. And second, what has become of an American society when it can be said that The Simpsons is its most influential guardian for spiritual development? For such were the questions that sprung to my mind upon watching this show.

Thus I present here two images, and a quote, for my readers to examine and meditate over; my hope being that you may be enlightened in spite of yourself. By combining together such two images, which may well seem a peculiar thing to do under normal circumstances, nevertheless makes very clear just how far the two periods of time, the 13th century and today's America have diverged from each other. And here is my first depiction of God, the Father---

God the Geometer, from a 1250 picture Bible

Stop, dear reader, if you would, for a while. For I desire you to read the following quote from the Timaeus of Plato (presented in an antique Bible font), before we move on--

From Timaeus, Section 1, in Gutenberg font

Finally, you have here the most recent depiction of God, the Father from the last episode of The Simpsons. Please note, that is not a stone tablet with the Twelve Commandments that He is holding, but is rather the newest I-Pad, or You-Pad, or whatever it is called; and that human creature in black dress is Mr. Steve Jobs, who has effectively been Canonized in this particular episode. Yet, if I may be so humble to say, if it were up to me, instead of posthumously canonizing Mr. Jobs, I would have personally preferred ante-mortem to have his feet bastinadoed and his back violently flagellated.

From The Simpsons, Season 24, Episode 8, God the Father, and Steve Jobs

Monday, November 26, 2012

A facetious young lady to her Aunt, ridiculing her Serious Lover,

Dear Aunt,

I am much obliged to you for the kindness you intended me, in recommending Mr. Leadbeater to me for an husband: But I must be so free as to tell you , he is a man no-way suited to my Inclination. 'Tis true, that I've always been rather partial against the idle rants of a Prophet of Doom; but am inclinable to think there may be an Extreme on the other side of the question.

The last time Mr. Leadbeater came to see me, it was shortly after breakfast-time, and he had just finished reading the New York Times.  "Cry mercy, madam!" he began by saying.  "What more vile news there is today. Our society is rotting faster than I last imagined possible." Upon this, I ran quickly for the teapot; for I thought, "Here we go again; we shall soon hear about all the latest turnings of Ledbeater's hobby-horse---his ideas about the wretched state of our Modern Times."

But I say, Fie upon his Post-Modern Luddism! and pox upon his Choleric Ramblings. At tea, he attempted to give me an account of the latest development in modern technology, "Surely, you well know of my antipathy towards I-Phones, or My-Phones, or whatever they are called---and you know how I burst forth into a volley of oaths and execrations anytime I hear about a latest addition to, or refinement of, that monstrous invention. So feast your attention upon this, A new popular mode of communication among the vulgar people is through the use of, what is called, Walkie-Talkie Apps. These Apps, it turns out, allow one lonely human creature, anywhere in the world, to tap the glass screen on his phone with the tip of his finger and say something, anything, and his words will be heard, by a chosen friend of his, at the same exact moment, whether or not the friend wants to hear it---" 

Can you not see what a man is here for an husband, my good Aunt? Yet I realized soon that he wasn't finished speaking, " ---or at whatever time of day it may be, or regardless of what the friend is doing, regardless of whether he even wants to speak with that person, or whether that person may, in fact, be the last person on earth he wants to hear from. Yet 'tis no matter, for it is of the greatest urgency that a Walkie-Talkie Message be sent upon someone's impulse, the rest of the world be damned!"

So concluded his speech, upon which he sat back down on the chair. And, dear aunt, you shall be proud of me to know, that I gave a nod of approbation to all he said in this mini-rant, and was just able to say to him, from time to time, "'Tis very wise indeed, Sir. How fascinating!" You shall be very proud to know that I composed myself marvelously upon this occasion, never forgetting how Mama taught me to handle such choleric gentlemen. Humour their vanity, she would advise me, and so I replied, "I say, Mr.Leadbetter, you have succeed in making another great observation upon the state of our modern society. But, forgive my boldness, could one not simply turn off the Walkie-Talkie feature on one's Smart Phone, so as to completely banish all such irritating messages from coming in? And do you not remember how last week you did burst forth into another rant, this time about the new development in Nintendo technology, one that allows hand-held game devices to use a special screen that will provide Three-Dimensional Viewing without the need for those atrocious glasses. You know how hideous I look when wearing those glasses!"

Mr. Leadbeater paused for a second, and then replied, "Forsooth, one could turn off the App. But it has probably been designed so as to be made very difficult for the people to figure out how to do that. I myself, 'tis true, know very little about the operation of Smart Phones." I responded with a big smile to all he said, and even blew him a kiss, which he may or may not have noticed, having wrapped himself in the cloak of Serious Pontificatings. I refilled his cup of tea, and brought him more biscuit. 

O, my good Aunt, what a man is here for an husband! I hope you may continue to demonstrate patience towards me, as I approach the end of my letter, as I have done with Leadbeater upon this and countless other occasions.  At last came the happy moment of his taking leave, but as he was putting on his coat, he burst forth, "Damn my eyes, nothing can be plainer to me than that our society is approaching a critical moment." Then, taking the last bite of his biscuit, Leabeater stormed out the door.

This, my good Aunt, may be your preferred way of traveling toward the Land of Matrimony; but I cannot help wishing for a little less absurdity, and a little more entertainment on our journey. I am willing to believe Mr. Leadbeater an honest man, but am , at the same time, afraid his Luddite long-windedness and his Misanthropic turn of temper, would better suit with a woman who more appreciates the weighty ramblings of a Lilliputian than does this particular woman, who is also

                                                                                   Your greatly obliged Kinsowman,    

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Caslon typefaces in 18th century printing

I would like to reward my readers with the following reproduction of the 6th edition of my "Clarissa" from 1768. The 1st edition came out in 1748. Here you see the page containing the List of Principal Persons, followed by the first page of the first volume--


If any person be curious to know the name of the typeface used for these editions, it is called Caslon, a very common font among many 18th century publications. 

Here I present some reproductions of pages from the 1st edition (1755) of my book called "A Collection of the Moral and Instructive Sentiments, Maxims, Cautions, and Reflexions, Contained in the Histories of Pamela, Clarissa and Sir Charles Grandison"---

Sentiments &c extracted from Pamela


Sentiments &c extracted from Pamela

Sentiments &c extracted from Clarissa


Sentiments &c extracted from Clarissa

Sunday, October 28, 2012

From a Gentleman to his Mistress, resenting her supposed Friskiness

Dear Margaret,

Beauty has charms which are not easily resisted; but it is, I presume, in the power of even finest woman breathing to counterbalance all her charms by a conduct unworthy of them. During our conversations over the last few months, I ventured to address myself to you, madam, upon motives truly honourable, yet I cannot help but notice how your manner of behaving towards me has changed since our first delightful meeting last year.

Since that heavenly encounter, indeed you have honoured me with your attentions, and you have not been afraid to use your charm to the utmost with me; believe me, you have thoroughly won me over; yet considering your recent behaviour towards me, it can hardly be said that your conduct has remained constant, at least in the manner befitting a lady of your noble position. Or might your negligence of me be a means to show a preference for a different gentleman, no doubt one selected from among the many gentlemen who are always seeking to court you? 

Be assured, Margaret, that I intend no affront to your honour in bringing this to your attention;---yet I must complain of a certain treatment that I have received from you lately. In short, I refuse to put up any further with yours jests and witticisms, which ever so haughtily you continue to make at my expense. 

Imagine my mortification upon the occasion in the restaurant, in the presence of your three lady friends, Miss Kate , Miss Cassandra, and Lady Laetitia Fustian, when you did utter that arch remark over desert when we were discussing our careers, saying that I belong to the "wretched lumpen-professoriate," and that the only people who might possibly be interested in reading my writings are the kind of people likely to "be assigned 300 hours of community service." How your female friends did burst forth into a volley of laughs upon your sharp witticisms, and how abashed I grew. This conduct, hardly an isolated one, is highly unbecoming of my mistress.

I am also aware that you have been used to receiving great amount of attention from worthy gentlemen (that is, from my competitors), any of whom no doubt should be delighted to see my reputation slandered---though through jesting remarks or sincere denunciations they care not. 

You know well, Margaret, that I appreciate a-capering as much as any other coxcomb, but I refuse to be made a laughingstock thus in public, as you have repeatedly done to me. From now on, you will be pleased to know, that if ever I intend to become a laughingstock in such manner again, instead of asking you and your shrewish friends to dine at a restaurant with me, I should prefer to go to the zoo and provoke the ourang-outangs there  into throwing their faeces at me, a fine spectacle for all the people to roar at. But until I decide to take off for the zoo for such purpose, I shall be very happy if you remit your friskiness towards me, lest you want to insult the honor of

Your most obedient Servant, 
The Lady's angry Answer

Oh Mack,

By the letter I just now received from you, I fansy you have been a little too hasty, as well as too free, in your conjectures about my conduct. Indeed I hope my conduct is such, and will always be such, as shall justify me to persons of honour of my own sex, as well as yours. For I fail to see anything wrong in how I have treated you, Mack; if you are referring to that occasion in the restaurant, when I made some harmless jests at your expense, I encourage you strongly to look to your own punctillio as the source of the affront that you have received.

As for my dear friends (my Kathy, Cassie, and Letty), I refuse to have their honourable names defamed, as you have done in calling them "shrewish." They rather are the liveliest creatures I have ever met---they are quick with a witticism, highly fashionable, masterly with the harpsichord, supreme on horseback, and elegant in painting. And, what's more, Kathy will soon be masterly in yachting, as she shall soon have her own yacht, which her boyfriend is buying for her. The four of us are now talking about going out to Martha's Vineyard this summer, where Cassie is bent on securing a husband, and Lady Letty merely wants to lay on the beach all day, drinking  piƱa coladas. You may be assured, nothing shall prevent me from attending my friends thither.

While you are healing your wounds, my poor baby, it would be good of you to remember the extent to which I regularly go to show my affection for you, as when I buy you costly gifts upon all the appropriate occasions. You will be kind to remember the washer and dryer I bought for your birthday, which you dearly needed, as well as that book of erotic Victorian prints I obtained for you on Christmas---and you can be sure that I did not buy the latter because I believed that perusing it at your house might satisfy me more than you. It took me a good three weeks of researchings, and, in consequence, having to communicate with some rather miserable and shameless characters along the way, before I could finally procure that edition for you.

You have been grossly mistaken in your construction of what you call my "friskiness." Never was a proper lady so insulted by such mean accusations. If you be so weary of my conduct as you say you are, then shall it surprise you if I invite Mr. Rupert Jackson to accompany me on the outing to Martha's Vineyard instead of you, Mack? I am sure Rupert would be more than happy to accompany this frisky maiden to the Vineyard. You can hardly hold me responsible for coining that well-worn adage, that what happens in the Vineyard, stays in the Vineyard. Besides, Mr.Jackson is on his way to becoming a doctor, and he is soon to be buying property, while you merely read poetry aloud to young females for a living, though you may call it being an English professor, or a lecherous pedagogue, or whatever it may be.

I am obliged to you for pointing out my follies, as you must feel the same towards me for speaking likewise. I hope that you may soon be able to restore yourself to your senses, Mack, and cease your complainings, or you will continue to vex, 

Your ever frisky Servant

The Gentleman's submissive Reply,

Dear Margie,

I beg ten thousand pardons for my rash letter to you. I wished too late, I could have recalled it. I never saw a lady I could love before I saw you, Margie. I never shall see another I wish to be mine; and as I must love you whether I will or no, I hope you'll forgive my foolish petulance. I am sure it was inspired by motives that, however culpable in their effects, are entitled to your forgiveness, as to the cause.

You are correct to say that Miss Kathy, Miss Cassie, and Lady Lettie are the liveliest creatures one is likely to behold in all of New York City. And you must believe me when I say that I had no knowledge whatsoever of your friends' abilities to play the harpsichord and ride horses. What glorious constellation of talented young women you have surrounded yourself with, and how it bespeaks of superior tastes on your part. Now that I know this about your friends, rest assured that my respect for them has quite increased. You can depend upon it.

Don't let me undergo too heavy a penance for my rashness, Margie. You can mould me to any form you please. But, dear lady, let not my heart suffer the more torture, because it is so devotedly at your service. Once again I ask a thousand pardons. For I am, and ever must be, whether you'll allow it or not, 

Your most devoted Admirer, and humble Servant

The Lady's forgiving Return,

My booby squire,

I cannot help answering your letter, because you seem sensible of your fault. If this never  be repeated again, at least until I give such reasons for it, that neither charity, not a professed esteem, can excuse, I shall hope that what has happened may rather be of good than bad use to us both.

I am sure that Kathy, Cassie, and Lettie, shall find it in their hearts to forgive you too. In fact, you may well get a chance to beg and accept their forgiveness in person this weekend---as we would very much prefer you to accompany us to the zoo to see the monkeys in the Rainforest Pavillion this coming Saturday. What say you, Sir? Your consent in this endeavour is essential towards restoring the former happiness of 

Your humble Servant,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hogarth, "A Rake's Progress"

In continuing the tradition of providing valuable services to the public through this blog, I extend the following tribute to all the good people that may be reading my scribblings. I present here Mr. William Hogarth's famous 1732 pictorial narrative, "A Rake's Progress," shewing folly in most disgraceful lights, rendering the avoidance of folly a moral duty. 

My reader shall be pleased to discover that I have chosen to display only the parts of the pictures that focus on our hero's face and the immediate area around it; for by  doing so, I may more effectively edify my 21st century gentleman readers, and guide their moral development.   

The Young Heir Takes Possession of the Miser's Effects

Surrounded by Artists and Professors

The Tavern

Arrested for Debt

Married to an Old Maid

Scene in a Gaming House

The Prison Scene

In the Madhouse

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wordle for Clarissa, the longest English novel

I was more than a little shocked to discover, upon traveling to the 21st century, the vast changes that language has undergone since the 18th century. One particular instance of this are the name changes for what we used to call a poem, or novel. Nowadays, I believe, that community of ideologues who call themselves college professors are likely to refer to this as a "text" or "literary object." I predict that in the near future, if this trend continues, everyone shall be referring to my novel Clarissa, as to all works of literature, as simply "words, words, words." And here to satisfy these vulgarian tastes, I present a Wordle of my Clarissa---nearly 100,000 words in total, about 200,000 more than the Bible--here reduced to most common words, displayed in shiny colors.

Wordles, wordles, wordles.

Mr.and Mrs. Harlowe

I shall now include a picture of Mr.and Mrs. Harlowe, the parents of my heroine Clarissa, as painted by the good Mr.Joseph Highmore in 1745.

Does any one think there might be a small resemblance between Mr. Harlowe and yours truly? 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

In which Samuel Richardson creates an OKCupid profile

I would like to present a rhapsodic prose poem that I wrote about myself in the form of an online dating profile. I am confident that my readers shall be edified and instructed in reading over this little piece, and if this posting should happen to strike the fancy of some hearty wenches, I shall be most delighted to make their acquaintance. And so here you have the fruits of my labours---

My self-summary

I am Samuel Richardson, Esq, the great 18th century novelist, having time traveled to 2012. You will be pleased to call me Mr. Richardson.

No man living has a greater passion for Beauty and Virtue than I have. Yet until I recognized this about myself, I was but wasting my genius upon the world so to speak. Now I am ready to come out and make the following announcement to the public, that I am indeed the perfect friend, lover, and husband.

I am the perfect friend and companion because of my sharp wit and my considerable fund of humour. I am also known for my superior storytelling abilities, and from time to time I like to take plentiful draughts of rhenish---all of which make me a hearty companion indeed.

I became the perfect lover (alas, I was not born to it) by imitating classical examples set forth by Troilus and Leander and by learning from Plutarch. As a Platonic Idealist I am likely to imagine my Lady as a corporeal cast of an Ideal Form, an imitation of an Ideal Form. No wonder that female lovers make second-rate house-keepers.

You will find that I am the perfect husband because of my steadiness, my comfortable means of living, and, despite my occasional preference for gayety and diversion, my serious nature. Indeed you shall never find me tapping away on any electronic gewgaw, watching MSNBC, or surfing the internet, as many frivolous people nowadays enjoy doing, to the utter detriment of their own sanity, for many idle hours. Instead, you are more likely to find me meditating on the classics, attempting to reconstruct the past thereby with a view to the highest purpose of truth.

What I’m doing with my life

I am currently trying to promote my major literary works (see below) to the 21st century public. I was shocked indeed to have found that there is little respect left among contemporary audiences for 18th century epistolary novels, especially if the novels are longer than 2000 pages (but it should not surprise anyone, considering what this society regularly watches on TV contraptions) I am now singlehandedly attempting to reverse this trend.

I am also seeking to attract people to my personal method of spiritual purgation, or, as it is vulgarly called, psychotherapy, that I have developed over the course of my life. This method consists of a series of hour-long sessions, overseen by yours truly, in which the patient commits himself to intensive and studied readings of my novels. I am confident that within 30 days your bodily humours will resume more balanced proportions and your spirits elevated, or else I shall refund all your ducats.

I am also mustering support for my intellectual movement, of which I am the supreme leader, known as Post-Modern Luddism.

I’m really good at

I am a masterly prose writer, having composed in 1748 the greatest novel in the English language, Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady, about which you can easily find out for yourself by searching for my name using any of your google machines.  

The first things people usually notice about me

Whenever I walk on the streets in New York City I attract quite a lot of attention. People are inevitably struck by my powdered wig and my red breeches over white stockings. And when they hear me speak, they notice that I speak in elevated diction. This has the effect of putting to shame their own vulgar manner of communicating, transforming thereby any creature who apprehends my rhapsodizing into one of my loyal disciples.

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food

Samuel Richardson is the greatest novelist in the English language, which I would assert even were I not Mr. Richardson myself. Here are all my novels: Pamela, Clarissa, and Sir Charles Grandison.

There are other writers worthy to be mentioned alongside my name, such as Mr. Samuel Johnson, Mr. Aaron Hill, Miss Sarah Fielding, and even her wretched brother, Mr. Henry Fielding.

I am also convinced that the greatest film and television show is the 1991 British television adaptation of my Clarissa---which is still not saying much about film and television.

My favorite meal is mutton chop and pickled walnuts complete with a tankard of rhenish.

The six things I could never do without

My devoted friends, a harpsichord, a fair lady to play the harpsichord, a quill pen, paper, and ink.

I spend a lot of time thinking about

I spend a large portion of my day devising methods for peeping inside my neighbor’s lodgings in order that I may glimpse the fair lady who lives there perform her morning ablutions in a state of dishabille.

On a typical Friday night I am

Indulging most likely in the same things that my modern 21st century fellow creatures are wont to indulge in on a Friday evening, at least insofar as those activities relate to culture. Like the capricious 21st century creature, I like to partake in human experiences of extreme natures---therefore on a typical Friday evening I am, on balance, equally likely to be reading either Shakespeare's pastoral romances or his domestic tragedies, or Montaigne's Essays or his naughty doggerel.

The most private thing I’m willing to admit

I like to hide inside the buck basket where the saucy maid stores her soiled underthings, and sometimes I snatch a few of her undergarments and bring them back to my chambers, whereupon I subject them to the closest inspection, especially with my mouth and nose, for their delicious feminine aromas and sauces.

I’m looking for

I’m seeking anyone who might desire to belong to my personal coterie of loyal fans, witty punsters, all sorts of flatterers, and chaste ladies (though not chaste when behind closed doors).    

You should message me if

You should send me a scribbling in return if you meet the qualifications listed above, or if you’d like to help me spread the message about the greatness of Samuel Richardson and of his novels, especially his masterpiece Clarissa.