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.