I post here a link to an article published today about yours truly, Samuel Richardson. The title of the article, is “(Don't) Finish What You Started: In Defense of Not Reading Cover to Cover,” from the Huffington Post.
In his article, Mr. Gottlieb says that he suspects that “had our new technologies been available to them, Samuel Johnson and Jane Austen would have embraced iPads, e-readers, and blogs as complements, if not substitutes, to more traditional literary vehicles.” This set me thinking. Maybe they would have embraced them as substitutes. I can only imagine, had they been born today, how those writers might spend their time.
Perhaps instead of writing novels, Austen might have kept an account on blogspot, called “Worm-tonguing,” posting snappy sketches of her life in the dorms. Here are my rewritings of the first sentences of Austen’s novels had they been written in 21st century United States.----
Persuasion, first sentence---“Lauren Jensen, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, was a biatch who, for her own amusement, never took up any reading material but PopSalad.com; there she found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation when she was spazzin out.”
Emma, first sentence---“Kayla Anderson, handsome, clever, and loaded, with a comfortable home and an Adderall prescription seemed to unite some of the best blessing of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her. But tonight she was getting shitfaced.”
Northanger Abbey, first sentence---“No one who had ever seen Amber Harris in her infancy would have supposed her born to be such a classy hoochie.”
Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas might have been related in a single tweet, “No one more dangerous than a nigga with a library card!”
It’s rather disturbing that Gottlieb brought up my novel Clarissa in his article without at all suggesting that it in addition to being the longest English novel, it also happens to be one of the greatest novels. I can’t think of a more relevant and effective antidote to our contemporary culture than a reading of my Clarissa.