Friday, September 21, 2012

In which the author of "Clarissa" praises his own book

Dear reader,

I enclose within this posting a letter which I wrote to a certain frothy French gentleman, named Mr. La Bonnet. You can read my previous postings on this subject, and learn more about this creature, and about his rather indiscreet marriage to Mrs. Polly La Bonnet. 

Polly personally requested that I write to her new husband and give him some instruction on how he may improve his frivolous nature. My suggestion to him, as you shall see, is that he read my novel Clarissa.  He will surely find planted within my book the seeds for his own reformation.
Dear Mr. La Bonnet,

The great respect I have for Polly, now Mrs. La Bonnet, obliges me to take the freedom to write you this letter. While you are reading it, it would be wise for you to keep in mind that I intend nothing more in doing so than to make Polly happy; and because I desire to serve her father, who is a most kind and charitable gentleman. Anyway, I hope that my letter inflames not any violent passions within you.

To say the truth, Polly has complained to me about your recent behavior. She has expressed great concern over your numerous indiscretions, such as your impertinence towards her father, the wild life you have in town on the weekends, and your gay behavior that you have insufficiently cleansed yourself of since the end of your bachelor days, which, as she says, were yet even more licentious. You persist in your frivolous lifestyle and continue in your Gallic manners. One last grave charge she lays against you is that you spend excessive amount of time tapping away on your I-Phone, or Me-Phone, or whatever it is called.

So concerned did I become in hearing about the final charge against you, that I decided to send you this scribbling right away. My advice to you is simple, Mr.La Bonnet. For there is no better way for a 21st century individual to become more responsible, serious, and honorable in his behavior than by investing long hours in solitary reading of my novel Clarissa; And when you complete reading Clarissa, you will see that it will cause you to forbear touching any such electronic gewgaws ever again. This, I hope, you will be kind enough to do, if only to please our dear Polly.

This is not the place to explain to you the greatness of my Clarissa, which would be an especially difficult task for me to accomplish, considering that your generation is altogether disdainful of the notions of greatness and grandness. And surely if our society is to survive, it will be on the strength of our Clarissas, not our I-Phones.  Remember, too, that an electronic gewgaw is likely to kill you right away if you should drop it into the bathtub with you in the water. A book will do no such thing.

Be pleased also to consider the following: it is very unlikely that any creature on earth will read my novel Clarissa (200,000 words more than the Bible) on an iPhone, or on any electronic reader, for reasons too obvious to relate. And if no one is able to read my Clarissa at all, then is not the world deprived of the greatest, not to mention the longest novel in the English language? Does it not follow that if you spend so much time dallying on your iPhone, your life will also likely be deprived of this greatest of all novels?

Finally, let me remind you, that you are not getting any younger, Mr.La Bonnet. Reading Clarissa is one of the most time-consuming things you can do in the 21st century---one for which, however, you will not be paid. And though time is running out, you are still young and have time enough to start and finish my book. I urge you to begin this project as soon as possible, for this is the only way that you will prove yourself a worthy husband of Mrs. Polly. I hope you'll excuse this liberty, which no other motive than Polly's happiness and concern for your moral education has occasioned. And believe me to be

                                                                                                      Your faithful friend,

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