Date of Award
Master's Essay - Restricted
Master of Arts (MA)
"May the hatred of all the young, beautiful and virtuous for ever be your portion; and may your eyes never behold anything but age and deformity; may you meet with applause only from envious old maids, surly bachelors and tyrannical parents; may you be doomed to the company of such; and after death may their ugly souls haunt you. Now, make Lovelace and Clarissa unhappy if you dare."1
Thus wrote Lady Bradshaigh (under the pseudonym of Mrs. Belfour) to Samuel Richardson in October, 1748 on seeing a notice inserted by him in the "Whitnall Evening Post" indicating a tragic conclusion to his novel, Clarissa. It is a measure of Richardson's artistic integrity that neither this piece of good-humoured anathema from one of his most ardent female fans nor the persistent 'intreaties' of a host of other admirers including Colley Cibber, James Thomson, Sarah Fielding, and Fielding himself could make him 'spare' Clarissa or 'reform' Lovelace in order to give a happy ending to his widely-read novel. Richardson stuck to his original intention of giving (to quote from one of his letters) "another sort of happiness" to his heroine "than that which was to depend upon the Will and Pleasure, and uncertain Reformation and good Behaviour of a vile Libertine, to whom I could not think of giving a Person of such Excellence."2 In another letter Richardson makes his artistic intention still clearer: "These (advance copies) will show you, sir, that I intend more than a Novel or Romance by this Piece; and that is of the Tragic Kind: In short that my principal Character could not be rewarded by any Happiness short of this Heavenly."3
John, Joseph, ""Clarissa": A Tragedy of Personality" (1971). Master's Essays (1922 - ). 1223.