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Richardson's Revisions of Clarissa in the Second Edition
Shirley Van Marter

It has been known for a long time that both the manuscript and printed text of Clarissa were extensively revised by Samuel Richardson, but his changes attracted no serious published attention until recently. In May, 1968 Eaves and Kimpel brought together in one article[1] scattered comments from Richardson's correspondence and private papers to illuminate the thorny problems posed by the revisions he made prior to the first edition, printed in 1748. Since none of the several manuscript drafts has survived, Eaves and Kimpel base their chronology of the pre-publication composition of Clarissa on evidence that is limited in certain respects, but nonetheless significant enough to establish beyond doubt Richardson's enormous concern to improve his novel through constructive advice from others, as well as through meticulous self-criticism.

No study of Richardson's revisions in his published text, comparable in thoroughness to Eaves and Kimpel's handling of the pre-publication problems, has yet appeared. Kinkead-Weekes made a start toward such an undertaking in his stimulating article "Clarissa Restored?"[2] but his prime concern in that study was to examine the more general question of whether Richardson's addenda consist wholly of restorations from earlier versions, or whether newly invented material is also included. Most of his evidence is drawn from two different sources that Richardson left behind about his own revisions: a handwritten memorandum[3] in which he itemized the "most Material" changes he made in the second edition, and a separate volume Letters and Passages


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Restored from the Original Manuscripts of the History of Clarissa, which he offered to the public at the same time as the third edition (1751) "for the Sake of doing Justice to the Purchasers of the Two First Editions." No independent study of Richardson's revisions, based on a collation of all four editions published during the author's lifetime (1748, 1749, 1751, 1759), has yet appeared to check on the completeness and accuracy of Richardson's own records. I have recently collated these four editions, and the purpose of this paper is to present my findings on the first set of revisions he made in print — the second edition of 1749.

Besides providing further evidence of Richardson's reflective habits, and of his exchanges with his contemporary audience, the changes in his most famous novel also have direct bearing on the recently growing interest in critical editions of Richardson's works. Since he added over two hundred pages of text to Clarissa by the time of the third edition in 1751, it has generally been assumed that the third, or some combination of the third and fourth, best illustrates his final intention. Following that assumption, all modern editors (with one very recent exception) have printed the third rather than the first.

Neither the Everyman edition, first published in 1932, nor the Modern Library abridgement of 1950 identifies which text it uses, but they both are in fact based on some version of the third edition. George Sherburn's abridgement for the Riverside Editions (1962) explicitly states that it follows the typical pattern of conflating passages from different texts and "is based on the faulty text given in Everyman's Library, which has been collated with that of 1759, which in turn, chiefly for misprints, omissions of essential words, etc., has been compared with the texts of 1748 and 1751."[4] The modern version generally regarded as "standard," though having no special claim to that designation, is the Shakespeare Head Edition of 1930, now out of print. It is based on the 1751 text, and according to the editors, it follows all of that edition's "inconsistencies of spelling and punctuation . . . as faithfully as possible."

The one exception to this practice is Philip Stevick's abridged version, published in April, 1971 for the Rinehart Press. Following Kinkead-Weekes' suggestion that the third edition "is in many ways cruder than the first," Mr. Stevick argues that the first is the better one: "although the revised text is better prose, the text in the first edition produces far more successfully the illusion of authentic letters unmediated by a controlling author. . . . The substantial difference between


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the editions, however, lies not in such small and subtle variations but in great blocks of material which were added to the third edition."[5] It is these large blocks of material that Kinkead-Weekes had previously argued were probably restored by Richardson in response to a hostile public. "But if the changes are proved to be," Kinkead-Weekes asks, "with relatively few exceptions, the direct result of the misinterpretations of an uncritical audience, the definition of 'intention' becomes less simple. Which represents Richardson's real intention: the novel he wrote expecting an audience capable of appreciating it, or the revisions for one he found careless, superficial, and sentimental?"[6]

This is where the problem now stands. Before it can be solved, much more evidence is needed about precisely what Richardson did change in his variant editions. Only the full scope of the evidence can help scholars determine whether it is true that the substantial difference between the editions lies not in "small and subtle variations" but primarily in the large blocks of material inserted into the third version. On the basis of these findings an editor can then decide which text represents the author's final intention, which one offers scholars the best critical text of Clarissa, which version achieves maximum power as an artistic masterpiece, and which one should finally be printed to make a popular edition available for the pleasure of new generations of readers. There are no easy answers or procedures with respect to any of these four issues. Each one confronts more than one option; the evidence presented by Richardson's revisions is voluminous and exceedingly complex; the assumptions and criteria used to support any conclusion need to be carefully tested against alternatives.


Richardson saw four editions through the press during his lifetime: the first in 1748 (actually published in three installments: Vols. I-II, December 1, 1747; Vols. III-IV, April 28, 1748; Vols. V-VII, December 6, 1748); the second in 1749, which consists of only the first four volumes of his novel; the third in 1751; and the fourth in 1759.[7] Following Sale's practice, I count the one printed in 1759 as the fourth edition. A deluxe "fourth" edition in octavo was published simultaneously with the less expensive third in duodecimo (1751), but since it is identical in text with the third, I have not included it in my study.


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By the time Richardson was preparing his third installment (Vols. V-VII) for printing in December 1748, almost a year after the first two volumes had appeared, he realized he would soon need a new edition. For this reason he printed enough copies of the third installment to accompany a new printing of Volumes I-IV. This is why the second edition consists of only four volumes, or approximately one-half of the novel. It terminates with Clarissa's escape to Hampstead Heath and Lovelace's new schemes to recapture her. This new printing of Volumes I-IV was offered to the public on June 15, 1749, only six months after the third and final installment of the first edition. Since the truncated second edition has no new Volumes V-VII of its own, any collation must reckon with this fact. From the point of view of the evolution of the text, the second or intermediate stage between 1748 and 1751 is only partly complete. Volumes V-VIII of the third edition must be compared directly with Volumes V-VIII of the first.

It is probable that Richardson made some changes right on the manuscript or proof sheets of the third installment before they actually were printed for the first time. His letter of May 10, 1748 lends plausibility to the assumption that he may have been planning his revised second version even while preparing the last three volumes of his first one. Written only three months after the initial publication of Volumes I-IV, this letter indicates that he planned to recast the final three volumes extensively: "I know not whether it [Clarissa] has not suffer'd by the Catastrophe's being too much known and talked of. . . . I had never, however, designed that the Catastrophe should be known before Publication; . . . I have so greatly alter'd the two last Volumes, that one half of the Sequel must be new written."[8] It is not unlikely that while rewriting during the next seven months, he may well have been marking his first four volumes in preparation for the second edition. He already knew he needed it.

Richardson certainly prepared his 1749 text meticulously. Almost every page contains at least one substantive change, most contain from two to eight or more. Over 1,000 changes occur in Volume I alone, and each of the other volumes is revised as thoroughly. The majority of smaller revisions are designed to correct and elevate the text in tone, as well as to render it more concrete and vivid. Syntax becomes smoother; grammar is corrected; diction is elevated; thousands of contractions are expanded; abbreviations and numbers are spelled out.[9]


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All this creates a more carefully polished text to replace the first printed edition.

In the matter of grammar alone, hundreds and hundreds of minute changes are systematically inserted into the text. Subjects are frequently added ("Will receive" is changed to "I will receive"); understood verbs are made explicit ("against your" to "against taking your"); objects are inserted ("have her without" to "Have her without Marriage"); prepositions are included ("man whom" to "man to whom"); conjunctions are filled in ("thinks I have" to "thinks that I have"); and many dangling prepositional constructions are eliminated ("I ought to have been bound by" to "by which I ought to have been bound"). Verb tenses are altered selectively ("has not" to "had not," "cheapens" to "cheapened," "were" to "was" but also "was" to "were," "shall" to "should," etc.); the past participle of some verbs is changed, though not consistently ("forbid" to "forbidden," "broke" to "broken," "forgot" to "forgotten," "shook" to "shaken"); the subjunctive is now more often employed ("If that comes to pass" to "if that come to pass"); conjunctions are altered ("But" to "Altho'"); adverbs are corrected ("Sure" to "Surely"); and fourteen comparative adjectives are revised ("the charming'st women" to "the most charming," "cruellest" to "most cruel," "favourablest" to "most favourable," etc.).

At least 200 pronouns were altered to clarify the meaning of specific sentences and to achieve greater concreteness. Thirty instances of the indefinite pronoun "one" or "one's" were eliminated in favor of personal pronouns or descriptive nouns such as "we," "our," "a Libertine," "the blusterer," etc. In at least 170 other cases, Richardson changed a pronoun to a noun, or a common noun to a proper noun, for greater precision in his meaning: "he" becomes "The Captain," "Mr. Lovelace," "Mr. Hickman," etc.; "she" becomes "Mrs. Greme," "Miss Howe," "the good woman," etc.; "they" becomes "my Brother and Sister," "it" becomes "the parcel," "humour," "marriage," etc.; "theirs" becomes "the silly people," etc.

Richardson also sharpened his meaning by discriminating thoughts, actions, and things with more specificity. Clarissa reports that Lovelace contrived "some wicked stratagem" rather than "some way or other"; she worries that she will be "called uncivil" for refusing Miss Partington her bed rather than "called so"; she takes exception to Lovelace's "haughty looks" not "how he looked"; and Anna skirmishes with her


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mother over a prohibited "Letter" not a "paper." Other changes are widespread and they shift words like "person" to "woman," "sex" to "Men," "women" to "wives," "man" to "Lover," "This letter" to "my mother's Letter," "thing" to "proceeding," "That" to "Over-delicacy," etc.

A whole series of revisions is designed to smooth out confusing details and to clarify complex syntax structures. Many are too long to quote here, and not all of them are successful. But even a few examples of Richardson's shorter revisions will suggest what happens in his text. Clarissa's involuted reference to her brother James is changed from "unbrotherly nephew" to simply "my Brother"; her mention of "my father's family" becomes "our family," "more undelightful" becomes "and of consequence less pleasing," "for my mind's sake," becomes "for me," the "when" becomes the "time for it," "The contrary window," becomes "the most distant window," "was silent for a considerable space" becomes "was silent for some time," "she is full of fears of consequences" becomes "she is very fearful of the consequences," etc.

Another large set of revisions systematically alters various terms of address throughout the second edition. One of the most obvious patterns is the disappearance of Clarissa's childlike use of "mamma" and "papa." In 1749 Richardson consistently replaced these two words with the more restrained greeting "Mother" and "Father." Since there are 305 of these changes in Volume I alone, the difference in tone between the two editions is considerable. A second pattern affects the titles of Lovelace's family, members of the aristocratic class. Richardson professed ignorance of the proper modes of address while working on his last novel, Sir Charles Grandison, and appealed to his correspondents for help. His letter to Lady Dorothy Bradshaigh, dated October 5, 1753, indicates that he had been troubled by matters of social decorum even when writing his two earlier novels: "The Wonder at the Mistakes in Pamela and Clarissa, as to the Titles of Characters, will be lessened, when it is known, that my Ignorance of Proprietys of those Kinds, was one of the Causes; another that writing without a Plan."[10] We do not know where he received his help in 1749, but it is clear that he corrected 51 titles that designate Lovelace's relations: "Aunt Lawrance" is regularly emended to "Lady Betty" or "Lady Betty Lawrance,"; "his aunt Sadleir" to "Lady Sarah," or "Lady Sarah Sadleir"; Lovelace's "uncle" to "Lord M." or "his Lordship."

A more formal tone is introduced even for characters in the novel who are not part of the nobility, although they are not addressed above


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their rank. Anna now writes to Clarissa of "Mr. Hickman" instead of "Hickman," and she instructs Clarissa to leave letters for her at "Mr. Wilson's" not "Wilson's." Lovelace now speaks of "Mrs. Howe" not "Goody Howe," and on one occasion the servant Hannah is called by her proper name instead of "wench." On the other hand, Richardson substituted a more personal mode of address on fourteen occasions when Clarissa is being named. In the first edition he had allowed her family and close friends to call her occasionally "Clarissa Harlowe" or "Miss Clarissa Harlowe." He now gains greater realism by having her addressed intimately as "Clarissa" or "Clary."

Richardson's effort to imitate contemporary modes of address in his fiction is also reflected in 72 changes he made from "Gentleman" and "Lady" to "man" and "woman." Many of these 72 changes identify more accurately Clarissa's middle-class background, revealing the author's scrupulous attention to the social distinctions of his time. We recall that at one point in the novel Clarissa's uncle John Harlowe describes her manners and behavior as typical of the upper classes, in contrast to Arabella's commonness: "No, it was your gentleness of heart and manners, that made every-body, even strangers, at first sight, treat you as a Lady, and call you a Lady, tho' not born one, while your elder Sister had no such distinctions paid her" (2nd ed., II, 85). Although Richardson does not alter John Harlowe's praise of his niece, he does make his second edition reflect class distinctions with greater precision. One very telling longer revision omits six lines of text that had appeared in the first edition. Clarissa had written to Anna Howe that Lovelace insists upon addressing her as Lady, even though a marriage had not yet taken place: "Lady he calls me, at every word, perhaps in compliment to himself. As I endeavour to repeat his words with exactness, you'll be pleased, once for all, to excuse me for repeating This. I have no title to it. And I am sure I am too much mortify'd at present to take any pride in that, or any other of his compliments" (1st ed., III, 94). Perhaps Richardson was most concerned that Clarissa's dwelling upon the matter belied her stated disinterest in the compliment. But consistent with this deletion, he also altered references to her as "Lady" throughout the text, changing them to words like "woman," "person," "sweet creature," "Fair-one," and others.

The word "gentleman" posed a similar problem for Richardson and he solved it in essentially the same way. Richardson thought of "gentleman" not only as a word which designates a man of noble birth, but also as one which in its secondary sense describes a man whose conduct conforms to a high standard of moral excellence. How then would he designate Lovelace and his companions, whose libertine lives


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gave them no right to the title, though their social class did? Richardson puzzles over this contradiction even in the first edition: he has Clarissa use the term to describe Lovelace's four friends to Anna, after which she comments on the paradox it contains: "But to the gentlemen, as they must be called in right of their ancestors, it seems; for no other do they appear to have" (III, 322). Richardson did not revise this statement by Clarissa in the second edition, but he did alter one reference by her to these same men six pages later, from "four gentlemen" to "four men."

Other revisions of "lady" or "gentleman" show Richardson continuing to select more strict class distinctions; at the same time he universalized moral issues that are not limited exclusively to members of one social class. Belford no longer speaks of Lovelace's "trial upon young ladies," but extends it to "young women"; Lovelace now comments on devices to "deceive a woman" not just "a lady." The "gentlewoman of the inn" at St. Albans, where Clarissa and Lovelace stop after leaving Harlowe Place, now becomes "the mistress of the house." Arabella calls Solmes "a naughty man" instead of "a naughty gentleman," and Clarissa angers her brother when she reminds him that "a young man's education" (not "a young gentleman's") should train him to reason justly and control his passions — what the university very obviously failed to do in James Harlowe's case!

Perhaps to achieve elegance, and perhaps to heighten his story's tragic quality, Richardson made many changes in the diction of his characters. Colloquialisms are replaced by finer speech, and dozens of words the author newly invented are revised or eliminated. We know that Richardson encountered public criticism for his freedoms with the English language. In 1754, after the publication of Sir Charles Grandison, an anonymous pamphleteer attacked Richardson's choice of language: "That your writings have in a great measure corrupted our language and taste, is a truth that cannot be denied. The consequences abundantly shew it. By the extraordinary success you have met with, if you are not to be reckoned a classical author, there is certainly a very bad taste prevailing at present. Our language, though capable of great improvements, has, I imagine, been for some time on the decline, and your works have a manifest tendency to hasten that on, and corrupt it still farther."[11] This critic also expresses his fear that many of Richardson's "new-coin'd words and phrases" will be imitated by other writers until they are finally transferred to a dictionary by some


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industrious compiler, there to be sanctioned by Richardson's "great Authority." The prophecy was at least partly fulfilled quite soon, for in the very next year (1755) Dr. Johnson's dictionary came out, containing ninety-seven entries culled from Clarissa alone.[12]

As an innovator, Richardson often invented new words for unusual effects ("figaries," "tostications," "precautionaries") and he manipulated standard ones in unorthodox ways. Sometimes he merely hyphenated a conventional word and placed the stressed portion in italics ("un-question-able," "unper-suade-able," "ap-pa-rent," "in-ten-tion," "oppor-tune-ly"), imitating on paper oral patterns of intonation. In other instances, he added prefixes or suffixes ("un-busy," "un-shy," "promiser-er") for expressive emphasis. He also invented compound adjectives, such as "struggled-away cheek" to incorporate the agent's action within the modifier.

In 1749 Richardson revised many of these experiments. Forty-six hyphenated words like "ap-pa-rent" were standardized in the second edition by dropping hyphens and italics; newly invented nouns, like the feminine forms "survivress," "Rivalress," and "varletesses" were replaced by conventional nouns, "survivor," "Rival," and "Rogues." Clarissa now calls Betty "The confident creature" (not "The Confidence"), and she refers to her family's "dependence" upon her past good conduct (not their "dependencies"). Certain compound adjectives are also simplified: James Harlowe's "college-begun antipathy" to Lovelace becomes his "early antipathy"; Clarissa tells Lovelace that his offers to reform are just so many "anticipating concessions" instead of "stop-mouth concessions." Arabella's claim that Clarissa "next-to-bewitch'd people" becomes "half-bewitched people"; Lovelace gives Clarissa's "averted cheek" a kiss rather than her "struggled-away" one. Clarissa's closing lines to Anna are changed three times from "ever-affectionate" friend to "affectionate," and dropped one other time; "Your ever-obliged CL. HARLOWE" is changed to "CL. HARLOWE" once, and dropped altogether once. Other changes turn "over-ceremonious husband" to "ceremonious husband," "beg-pardon apologies" to "apologies," "all-excelling Sister" to "Sister, "lifted-up" to "uplifted," "over-promptitude" to "promptitude," etc.

Reflecting the nobler tone of the second edition, some colorful colloquialisms are replaced with more dignified expressions. Clarissa's phrase "sooner than it agrees with my stomach" becomes "sooner than I should otherwise chuse"; "had told" becomes "had numbered."


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Clarissa speculates that Joseph Leman "acts a double part" between her brother and Lovelace rather than "plays booty." Lovelace speaks of "this cursed family" instead of "these cursed folks." Anna reports that her fiancé Hickman "dismounted" not "alit," and Clarissa "began to vindicate her fidelity and Love" instead of "fell a vindicating." James Harlowe storms out of Clarissa's room with "a glowing face" instead of a "face as red as scarlet." Anna speaks of Clarissa's "non-compliance" with her family's wishes instead of "standing-out." She "listened" instead of "harken'd." Clarissa insists that her "father loved me in his heart" instead of "loved me at bottom." Lovelace calls on the Devil of Love "not to frustrate my hopes" instead of "not to play me booty." He addresses Belford as the "awkward fellow" not "puppy," and as a "mortal" not a "varlet." He describes James Harlowe as "The foolish Brother" not the "Cunning whelp the brother," himself as a "bashful mortal" not a "bashful whelp." Clarissa is urged by Anna to "escape" or "withdraw" instead of "to go off." She is "in bed," not "abed." Lovelace speaks of "a high degree" not "a damn'd degree," "d-----d Art" becomes "Female Art," "a d----n'd impudent thing" becomes "an impudent Thing," although "what a d---n'd thing" remains as "what a damn'd thing." Finally, six expletives that use the name "God" or "Lord" are softened to "Heaven" ("for God's sake" to "for Heaven's sake").

Certain minor revisions are used to intensify the lines of action in the novel, and to delineate characters more pointedly. Lovelace's "faulty morals" becomes "his repeated faulty morals"; he is described as "that detested Libertine," not "that Libertine." Mr. Harlowe now is described as a "severe Father," not just an "unkind" one, and James and Arabella's 'implacableness" is changed to "antipathy." Clarissa is "so highly provoked," not "so provoked"; she goes to the "extorted interview" with Solmes, or the "apprehended interview," rather than simply "the interview." But on the other hand, Richardson also deleted modifiers: Clarissa speaks of "the subject" of marriage to Solmes, rather than "the shocking subject." She describes herself to him as a "young creature," not "a poor young creature." Betty becomes "sullen" when silenced by Clarissa, not "quite sullen," and Anna is thanked for "the pains" she took on Clarissa's behalf, not "the kind pains."

Increased use of italics in the second edition highlights key words, passages, and details. This device had already been used in the first edition for emphasis, but in 1749 Richardson took even greater care to show that his heroine exercised as much precaution as possible in proposing conditions to Lovelace before leaving Harlowe Place. His Forster memorandum lists two new examples of added italics, but there


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are dozens of other instances — some simply one word, some much larger — that he does not identify.[13] Italics are particularly significant in the second volume, when Clarissa is relying on Lovelace's promise to put her under the protection of the ladies in his family. Each of the promises he makes to her while she is still at Harlowe Place is newly underscored to stress his later betrayal, and her innocence.

In addition to these various larger patterns of changes made in the second edition, a number of specific items were altered. Richardson began to spell Dr. Lewin as Dr. Lewen; in Volume II he replaced an inaccurate allusion to Ariadne with the name Arachne, the expert weaver who challenged Athene to a contest, whose talent Lovelace compares to Clarissa's skill in embroidery. He also identifies correctly in that same volume Caesar's third wife as Pompeia (not Calpurnia), and he changes an allusion by Lovelace from Mulciber to Satan. Along with these specific corrections, he made several hundred single word changes that need to be looked at individually: "violence" to "passion," "bequeath" to "devise," "daughter" to "child," "delicate" to "polite," etc.

Given these myriad small changes, what is their distinctive effect on the second edition? Is Clarissa finally a better or worse novel for these efforts in 1749? No simple answer can be formulated, for gains and losses both emerge, in great variety as well as in numbers, when the second edition is compared with its predecessor. Each text compromises some of the most attractive features of the other. It must be noted too that many small revisions, quite apart from those that clearly enhance or mar the text, neither increase nor diminish the aesthetic pleasure aroused by this novel, nor do they markedly transform this pleasure from one variety into some other kind. Such changes, being indeterminate in functional impact, need not have been made. They offer no decisive reasons for choosing either version over the other, yet they must be counted among the literal facts pertinent to any detailed study of Richardson's skill in refining his art.

Even from a study of its small changes alone, it is clear that the virtues of the second edition, despite its truncated state, are several. Much of the polishing of minor matters clearly provides readers with better prose: more concrete, more precise in its meaning, more pointed in its internal references, more accurate in its use of allusion and historical example — in short, a more readable text. Happily, a fair number of awkward inventions are dropped. Not all of the words


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Richardson newly coined for his first edition are successful. In 1749 he weeded out many of the more infelicitous ones, as well as other distracting verbalisms and stylistic idiosyncrasies of various sorts, without sacrificing the illusion of spontaneity.

It is to his credit, too, that Richardson improved the capacity of his novel to mirror more exactly the modes of address appropriate to the social strata of his day. This is fully consistent with his theory of the novel as a fiction that achieves emotional and instructive power by imitating the nexus of probabilities typical of life, by being "written to nature." Given his experiential handicap with respect to the aristocracy, this should not be taken for granted. More impressive, however, is his subtle effort to refine his art in universal terms, employing deft touches here and there to release his novel from unnecessary bondage to class distinctions. His tale of deception and sorrow transcends, even while it more carefully builds upon them, the passing accidents of birth, and certain small changes in the second edition reinforce this powerful thrust.

Some freshness is sacrificed (though this loss can easily be exaggerated in a novel of such length, density, and minute detail) by still other revisions designed to improve the prose. However, corrections in grammar do not automatically spoil the refreshing verve of letters "written to the moment," nor do they necessarily render the novel's tone rigidly "formal." It is easier to see that freshness is lost in those cases where Richardson's concern for propriety led him to discard certain colorful colloquialisms, oaths, and expletives that originally added a distinct flavor to specific speeches. For good reason some were eliminated as inappropriate to the particular character speaking. Others seem to have been cut simply to raise the tone, but these, unfortunately, are not replaced by anything that secures this desired effect with comparable power or vibrancy.

A major case in point is Richardson's decision to substitute "Mother"-"Father" for the more appealing terms of endearment Clarissa uses in the first edition, "mamma"-"papa." Whatever his reasons were for this change, his creative instincts failed him in this matter. His heroine thereby lost a charming dimension that had helped to humanize her. This vivid sign of her own warm-hearted affection for her parents made their cruelty more poignant to watch. Indeed, if Richardson had succeeded in transforming his grave girl more fully, endowing her with undeniable warmth as well as with tragic grace, she would be delightful to encounter. Small changes are not all he wrought, however, and I now will examine the larger revisions introduced in 1749.


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Unlike Richardson's thousands of changes in single words or small phrases, which have not been previously discussed by scholars, some of his many larger revisions have been known from his Forster memorandum, which selectively lists 102 "most Material" changes in the second edition. This document is the basis of Kinkead-Weekes' inquiry, but it was actually published as early as 1908 by Erich Poetzsche,[14] and mentioned by Sale in his bibliographical study in 1936.[15]

The memorandum was probably drawn up for Richardson's own records, since he was precise in his habits both as a printer and as an author. He identifies the volume and page number for each of the 102 passages, classifying each one according to whether it is an "Addition," "Large Insertion," "Omission," etc. Sometimes he indicates his reason for making the change, such as this important entry under Volume IV, page 65 — "A large Note added, in Defense of Clarissa's Character and Delicacy." The smallest passage is one printed line of text; the largest adds more than seven pages of material by expanding an exchange of letters between Lovelace and Joseph Leman from six to thirteen pages.

There is considerable diversity among these revisions, nor is Richardson's inventory by any means complete for all of the longer changes in the second edition. Counting one printed line as a minimum unit, my collation reveals there are at least 271 other changes (of one line or more) besides the 102 cited in his list. Many of these do not materially alter the structure of the plot, or significantly refine a character's feelings, actions or motivation (criteria which seem to guide Richardson's own selection in his Forster memorandum), but all of them increase our knowledge of the evolution of his text and his achievement as a craftsman.

Nonetheless, certain exclusions are in order. Since some revisions, notably those about Lovelace, have been discussed by Kinkead-Weekes and others, I will not take them up. For the same reasons, I will also exclude all the "editorial" footnotes except one contemporary allusion. Most of them serve to blacken Lovelace or to defend the heroine's delicacy.[16] Their various uses of the omniscient point of view set them off as a distinctive, easily identifiable group of changes, and their aesthetic value for this novel has been the subject of controversy. Many


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other revisions, of the 373 that are one line or longer, are too inconsequential to need examination here. I will present a varied sampling of Richardson's changes, concentrating on those that have not been treated in print, those which seem to produce the most essential changes in important elements of this novel (e.g. character, theme, technique, style), and those which most illuminate the author's creative habits and intentions.

The shaping of Lovelace and Clarissa had tested Richardson's ingenuity from the very beginning of his labors. In the case of his heroine, he struggled to achieve several purposes. Among these, he wanted her to be a faultless exemplum to young ladies. At the same time, she could not be completely perfect, or she would appear too unnatural and improbable as a girl of eighteen, not sufficiently well "written to nature," to achieve great artistic and instructive power. Both goals are explicitly stated in his surviving correspondence.

As early as October 29, 1748, while the last three volumes of Clarissa were still in manuscript, he spelled out his first objective in a letter to Aaron Hill: "I had further intended to make her so faultless, that a Reader should find no way to account for the Calamities she met with, and to justify Moral Equity but by looking up to a future Reward; another of my principal Doctrines; and one of my principal Views to inculcate in this Piece."[17] A second letter to Aaron Hill one month later invites him and the women of his family to locate those passages in the novel where Clarissa seems to lack delicacy or grace: "Your Dear Ladies will be so good as to honour me with their Censure and Correction, in such places . . . where my Clarissa wants Delicacy and Female Grace. I struggled, as I may say, to give her Failings, that I might not seem to have aimed at drawing a perfect Character. But that Delicacy and Propriety of Sex, which I think to be the Sex's Glory, I wou'd not have her want."[18]

In 1749, while he was preparing his second edition, he was still refining his heroine. Two remarkable revisions are designed to preserve Clarissa from any suspicion of deceit. The first edition had shown her planning a deception to forestall marriage to Solmes: "For fear they should have an earlier day in their intention, than that which will too soon come, I will begin to be very ill. Nor need I feign much; for indeed, I am extremely low, weak, and faint" (1st ed., II, 253). Clearly Richardson had tried to diminish her guilt by stressing the small scope of her intended action, but in doing so he overlooked a more troubling flaw: it is not the degree of her artifice, but her willingness to use it


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at all, which detracts from her innocence. Her ruse disappears in the revision: "And who knows, but they may have a still earlier day in their intention, than that which will too soon come?" (2nd ed., II, 251).

A second mention of a pretended illness eight pages later was also emended. This time Richardson's transformation is even more illuminating. He does not simply drop the scheme, but adroitly turns it into a blameless new device to postpone the dreaded marriage to Solmes. Initially, the passage read: "I am far from being well: Yet must I make myself worse than I am, preparative to the suspension I hope to obtain of the menaced evil of Wednesday next" (1st ed., II, 261). It becomes, "I am really ill. And shall make the worst of my indisposition, and not the best (as I used to do, for fear of making my friends uneasy) in hopes to obtain a suspension of the threatened evil of Wednesday next" (2nd ed., II, 259).

Several revisions focus on Clarissa's responsibility for her early correspondence with Lovelace. Though her parents forbade it, there must be continued contact between their daughter and Lovelace if the tragic tale is to be set in motion. The first edition stresses her helplessness in the affair, and her own lack of choice in her actions: "But being forced into a clandestine correspondence, indiscreet measures are fallen upon by the rash man, before I can be consulted: And between them, I have not an option, altho' my ruin [For is not the loss of reputation a ruin?] may be the dreadful consequence of the steps taken. What a perverse fate is mine" (1st ed., II, 228). Certain facts and circumstances are subtly reworked in 1749. The adjective "clandestine," with all its unmistakable connotations of deliberate illicit intrigue, is replaced by "unhappy" to direct attention to Clarissa's good intentions and unwanted misfortune. Her disobedience is also played down in the second version by adding a meritorious motive for it: "For altho' I was induced to carry on this unhappy correspondence, as I think I ought to call it, in hopes to prevent mischief; yet indiscreet measures are fallen upon by the rash man, before I, who am so much concerned in the event of the present contentions, can be consulted: And, between his violence on one hand, and that of my relations on the other, I find myself in danger from both" (2nd ed., II, 226).

A comparable refinement puts a different light on Clarissa's continued correspondence with Anna, after that too had been forbidden. Here again the problem is similar: to keep the narrative unbroken, the young ladies must remain in touch, yet the heroine must be preserved from equivocation. In the first edition, Clarissa rationalizes her action: "Yet (altho' I am ready sometimes to discontinue a correspondence so dear to me, in order to make your mamma easy) what


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hurt could a letter now-and-then from each do? — Mine occasionally filled with self-accusation too!" (1st ed., III, 70-71). Recast, this passage shows her willing to continue only if Mrs. Howe will renew her permission: "Yet as to this correspondence, what hurt could arise from it, if your Mother could be prevailed upon to permit it to be continued? — So much prudence and discretion as you have" (2nd ed., III, 70).

Another difficulty in the novel which the author puzzled over in his early drafts is the thorny problem of Clarissa's departure from Harlowe Place with Lovelace. Richardson had written to Aaron Hill in 1746 that "Going off with a man is, moreover, the Thing I wanted most to make inexcusable; and I thought I ought not to make a Clarissa, give a Sanction to such an highly undutiful and disreputable Procedure, from any common Motives."[19] One notable revision, however, makes her unplanned flight with Lovelace more excusable, not less so. In the first edition, Clarissa had written to Anna: "I own you might well be surprised; [I was myself; as by this time you will have seen] — after I had determin'd, too, so strongly against going away" (1st ed., III, 49). The new version puts greater stress on her fixed resolve to remain at Harlowe Place, as well as her passive role in the new turn of events: "I own, that after I had told you of my absolute determination not to go away with him, you might well be surprised, at your first hearing that I was actually gone. The Lord bless me, my dear, I myself, at times, can hardly believe it is I, that have been led to take so strange a step" (2nd ed., III, 49).

The same incident is also remodeled by omitting lines that present her flight negatively. In the first edition, she bluntly criticized herself when she arrived at St. Albans: "What a satisfaction am I robbed of, my dearest friend, by this rash action? I can now, too late, judge of the difference there is in being an offended rather than an offending person! — What would I give to have it once more in my power to say I suffer'd wrong, rather than did wrong" (1st ed., III, 50). In reshaping the passage, Richardson replaced "rash action" with the milder term "inconsiderateness," and he eliminated the line in which she implies she is an "offending person." Although he still has her admit her responsibility, he mitigates her guilt: "What a satisfaction am I robbed of, my dearest friend, when I reflect upon my inconsiderateness! O that I had it still in my power to say I suffered wrong, rather than did wrong!" (2nd ed., III, 50).

There is a value in looking closely at Richardson's deletions, for as


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he himself said as early as 1744, he was a "sorry pruner" and as "apt to add three pages for one" he took away.[20] His Forster memorandum lists six "Omissions" from the second edition; four of these, however, designate lines of verse, including Elizabeth Carter's 'Ode to Wisdom.' There are also thirty-five other deletions, from one to four lines each (but totaling only sixty-seven lines altogether), that are cut in 1749 — over and above the many individual words and phrases cited earlier in the first section of this paper. The total (sixty-seven lines scattered throughout four volumes) is relatively slight in bulk, considering that some of Richardson's individual insertions introduce as much new material into the novel at one stroke.

None of his deletions concerning Clarissa is listed in his Forster memorandum. In Letter XXXIX, Volume II, Clarissa tells Anna that if Lovelace offers her protection, he must do so without any material advantage, for she will not litigate with her father over her estate: "And yet," she laments, "that I have too much pride to think of marrying, until I have a fortune that shall make me appear upon a foot of equality with, and void of obligation to, anybody" (1st ed., II, 269). Such clear concern for financial independence and social position may have seemed to Richardson incompatible with the exemplary spiritual function he wanted her to serve. He excludes these lines after the first edition.

He also struck out three lines from Volume IV in which Clarissa entreats Anna for psychological support in dismissing Lovelace forever: "Do my dear, advise me, persuade me, to renounce the man for ever: And then I will for ever renounce him!" (1st ed., IV, 44). The passage suggests she is wavering, out of a more dangerous weakness for Lovelace than Richardson wished to stress in 1749 (several other alterations also bear this out); he may also have felt that Clarissa's appeal to Anna for moral counsel was excessive, unworthy of his heroine's own independent moral sense. A third instance of the author's desire to minimize Clarissa's attachment to Lovelace is his decision to omit these three lines by her to Antony Harlowe: "And is it such a crime in me, if I should prefer an acquaintance of Twelve months to one of Two?" (1st ed., I, 209). Her question is very revealing as a response to her uncle's charge that she will not consider Solmes, the new suitor proposed for her after her brother's return from Scotland, because she is prepossessed in another's favor. Richardson still let Clarissa compare the two suitors to Solmes' disadvantage, but he carefully removed her explicit confession of a preference.


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A fourth deletion probably reflects other reasons. Near the end of Volume IV, Lovelace fancies with pleasure the sight of Clarissa, his mistress, holding a "Twin-Lovelace" at each breast, "pressing with her fine fingers the generous flood into the purple mouths of each eager hunter by turns" (1st ed., IV, 260). The imaginative fantasy is retained in 1749, but the quoted lines are cut. One suspects that Richardson decided the robust maternal image was too earthy for his maiden heroine.

Consistent with his effort to weaken Clarissa's growing affection for Lovelace in the early volumes, Richardson altered several signs of it by changing "Love" to "A conditional kind of liking," and by eliminating some discussion of the topic (1st ed., I, 181, 252; 2nd ed., I, 182, 254). Disappointingly, the most ineffectual changes with respect to Clarissa are several newly inserted passages which simply lengthen the novel without ennobling her character or rendering it more attractive. She is given further opportunities to make moral commentaries on her own plight, to judge Lovelace more harshly, and to chide Anna anew for criticizing the Harlowe family (2nd ed., I, 179-80; III, 71-72, 207).

Richardson always intended the violence of James and Arabella to lead to more and more inhuman actions by the whole family. His letter to Sarah Chapone, March 2, 1752, points out the undesirable dominance James and Arabella exert over their parents: "The Harlowes being too much influenced by their insolent and rapacious Son, joined by the instigations of an envious Daughter."[21] He had developed the vicious character of the family in the first edition, but he exploited it even more fully in 1749 by introducing fifteen details to magnify the Harlowes' evil.

When Mrs. Harlowe pleads that Clarissa not be turned out of the house for refusing Solmes a visit downstairs, her son taunts his mother with this new line: "It is plain, that she relies upon her power over you" (2nd ed., I, 286). Another addition in the same volume shows James equally stubborn when he directs Mrs. Norton to report to Clarissa "That the treaty with Mr. Solmes is concluded: That nothing but her compliance with her duty is wanting" (2nd ed., I, 260). Lovelace, expert in the ways of power himself, easily recognizes that James and Arabella are determined to provoke Clarissa into some rashness, and he shrewdly sums up their characters in this added line: "tho' they had too much malice in their heads to intend service to me by their persecutions of her" (2nd ed., III, 82).

Anna is also used to point up the Harlowes' evil. What can be their hope, she asks in new lines to Clarissa, "Except indeed it be to


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drive you to extremity, and to ruin you in the opinion of your Uncles, as well as Father" (2nd ed., II, 133). Richardson sets this comment in italics for even greater emphasis, foreshadowing the outcome of the first stage of the action of the novel, Clarissa's estrangement from her family. He also uses Anna to highlight a key feature of Arabella's character in another addition: "that meanness rises with her pride, and goes hand in hand with it" (I, 87).

The longest revision that magnifies the Harlowe wickedness presents Anna's reaction to Mr. Harlowe's curse on Clarissa. In 1749, Richardson inserted two new paragraphs into Anna's Letter LIV (2nd ed., III, 266-67), described in the Forster memorandum as "much altered." Anna's new comments stress the unnaturalness of Mr. Harlowe's denunciation, which she sees as his own curse against God. She also acquires another new line in the same letter, to advertise further the family's guilt: "Can you think that Heaven will seal to the black passions of its depraved Creatures?" (2nd ed., III, 266).

Even Clarissa now reveals more about her family, especially her mother, whom she formerly shielded. In consequence, they loom more blameworthy for insisting that she marry Solmes: "My Mother, my dear, tho' I must not say so, was not obliged to marry against her liking. My Mother loved my Father" (2nd ed., I, 109). Another revision shows Mrs. Harlowe participating more actively in the family evil. The original passage accented her helplessness within the family circle: "Would any-body, my dear Miss Howe, wish to marry, when one sees a necessity for such a sweet temper as my mamma's, either to be ruin'd, or depriv'd of all power" (1st ed., I, 100). The second edition stresses her culpable role, despite her own better judgment, against Clarissa: "Would any-body, my dear Miss Howe, wish to marry, who sees A Wife of such a temper, and blessed with such an understanding as my Mother is noted for, not only deprived of all power; but obliged to be even active in bringing to bear points of high importance, which she thinks ought not to be insisted upon?" (2nd ed., I, 100).

His care to blacken Mrs. Harlowe is notably evident in Richardson's removal of one rare clue that she appreciates her daughter: "And now, that she has left us, so disgracefully left us! we are stript of our ornament, and are but a common family!" (1st ed., IV, 34). But even worse damage results from a long passage inserted into Anna's Letter to Clarissa of March 23 (2nd ed., II, 13-14), for it leaves no doubt that Mrs. Harlowe's human and moral qualities have withered under the hostile influence of the Harlowes throughout the years of her marriage. Anna argues that the family's effect on her is incontestable evidence of its terrible power to corrupt even the good.


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Finally, one addition which Richardson describes as "small, but significant" in his Forster memorandum makes Antony Harlowe look still more foolish than previously. Inserted into his courtship letter to Mrs. Howe, it expresses his views on how to handle servants: "And moreover, if we keep not servants at distance, they will be familiar. I always made it a rule to find fault, whether reasonably or not, that so I might have no reason to find fault. Young women and servants, in general (as worthy Mr. Solmes observes) are better governed by Fear than Love. But this my humour as to servants, will not affect either you or Miss, you know" (2nd ed., IV, 111).

Other supporting characters also undergo revision. Lord M's garrulousness is expanded unnecessarily in Volume IV (Letter XVII) with more maxims and bits of moral counsel. Joseph Leman's letter grows more effectively from 2½ to 5 pages, from an abstract to a full-length letter in Joseph's characteristic illiterate prose (2nd ed., III, 229-233). Dolly Hervey's note that Mr. Brand will marry Clarissa omits her description of him as "the young Oxford Clergyman, and fine scholar" (1st ed., II, 295; 2nd ed., II, 292). Readers, in no position to evaluate this first clue to Brand's character, could be misled by Dolly's secondhand report. Anna assails the romantic pretensions of her mother and Antony Harlowe with more vigor (2nd ed., IV, 116), and she tries more actively to send money to Clarissa in defiance of her mother's orders (2nd ed., III, 193). This draws new chiding by Clarissa (2nd ed., III, 207), which could have been better left out.

One of Richardson's finest revisions — and one wishes he had invented more of this caliber — is his expansion of a comic scene between Anna and her mother, depicted in the first edition only in bare outline:

Bless me! — how impatient! — I must break off —

* * *

A charming dialogue — But I am sent for down in a very peremptory manner (1st ed., III, 63)

Its development brings this scene amazingly alive, making us see and feel Anna's confusion as she tries to hide her letters before her mother enters:

Bless me! — how impatient she is! — How she thunders at the door! — This moment, Madam! — How came I to double-lock myself in! — What have I done with the key? — Duce take the key! — Dear Madam! You flutter one so!

* * *

You may believe, my dear, that I took care of my Papers before I opened the door. We have had a charming dialogue — She flung from me in a passion —

So—what's now to be done — Sent for down in a very peremptory manner (2nd ed., III, 62)


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One modest deletion enhances Hickman's character, although it cannot by itself produce the radical change Richardson desired. Richardson argues strongly in his correspondence[22] that readers are wrong to form their judgment of Hickman from the narrative points of view of Lovelace and Anna, but he nonetheless sought to improve Hickman's appeal in the second edition by striking out this slanted statement by Anna: "For Hickman appears to me to be a man of that antiquated cut; as to his mind I mean: A great deal too much upon the formal, you must needs think him to be, yourself" (1st ed., I, 174).

Several contemporary or historical allusions are also revised in 1749. Richardson's footnote in the first edition explaining that "This picture [Clarissa's] is drawn as big as life by Mr. Highmore, and is in his possession" (III, 260) is omitted now; an allusion to Cromwell is also dropped "[as Cromwell said, If it must be my head, or the king's]" (III, 57); as is this reference to French royalty: "The royal cully of France, thou knowest, was Maintenon'd into it by his ill successes in the field" (1st ed., IV, 92). One new allusion, this time to English royalty, is added to Lovelace's claim that a woman will forgive almost any masculine indiscretion except public statement that she is "too old for him to attempt." The allusion supplies a confirmatory example from Renaissance history: "And did not Essex's personal reflection on Queen Elizabeth, that she was old and crooked, contribute more to his ruin, than his treason?" (2nd ed., III, 361).

At least sixteen other alterations are of one kind.[23] Material written in indirect discourse is turned into the more lively format of direct speech, better able to create the illusion of letters written spontaneously. Two versions of the following passage show a typical transformation:

He presumed, he told me, from what I said, that my application to my relations was unsuccessful:That therefore he hoped I would give him leave now to mention the terms in the nature of settlements, which he had long intended to propose to me; and which having till now delay'd to do, thro' accidents not proceeding from himself, he had thoughts of urging to me the moment I enter'd upon my new house; (1st ed., IV, 52)

I presume, Madam, replied he, from what you have said, that your application to Harlowe-place has proved unsuccessful: I therefore hope, that you will now give me leave to mention the terms in the nature of Settlements, which I have


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long intended to propose to you; and which having till now delayed to do, thro' accidents not proceding from myself, I had thoughts of urging to you the moment you entered upon your new house; (2nd ed., IV, 52)

Continuing a practice already operative fourteen times in the first edition, Richardson casts one crucial scene in Volume IV (between Tomlinson, Clarissa, and Lovelace, pp. 225-28) more explicitly into dramatic form. He does so by borrowing from playwrighting the convention of prefacing each speech in a dialogue with the speaker's name. His choice is excellent for its context. Tomlinson's role, as a master of disguise serving Lovelace by deceiving Clarissa, is carried off with the flair of a well-acted stageplay that arouses new suspense.

Many of the larger revisions (like most of the small ones discussed in Part I of this paper) are essentially stylistic. They range in quality, as do all of Richardson's changes, but often they clearly improve the text. Some changes transform minor passages into vivid images by adding tiny new details that further animate even sentences that were already good. As if he were auctioning off a prize heifer, James Harlowe directs Solmes' gaze toward Clarissa. In the first edition he said simply: "Look at her person! Think of her qualities! — All the world confesses them" (II, 187); but the full weight of his boorishness is more powerfully felt through this revision: "Look at her person! (and he gazed at me, from head to foot, pointing at me, as he referred to Mr. Solmes). Think of her fine qualities! — All the world confesses them" (2nd ed., II, 184).

More intensity is also built into another passage that presents Clarissa waiting in silence for her mother to recognize her. It first read: "After some time, she ask'd me coldly, What directions I had given for the day?" (1st ed., I, 120). This is reworked by combining a specific temporal reference with evidence of Clarissa's anxiety: "I believe it was a quarter of an hour before she spoke to me (my heart throbbing with the suspense all the time); and then she asked coldly, What directions I had given for the day?" (2nd ed., I, 120). A final example shows, by its original and altered forms, how Richardson simplified and improved several clumsy, confusing sentences: "He was grieved at his heart, that he had so little share in my favour or confidence, as he had the mortification to find, by what I had said, he had" (1st ed., III, 36). In 1749 it is trimmed neatly to: "He was grieved at his heart, to find that he had so little share in my favour or confidence" (2nd ed., III, 35).


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So much for a close look at a cross section of the changes in the second edition of Clarissa. To evaluate Richardson's efforts in 1749, several distinct issues must be tackled directly. Patently any claim that he revised primarily because of criticism from an audience that was sentimental, careless or superficial must be reassessed. Given the extent and range of his tiny and large revisions at this time, covering thousands of nuanced difference in tone and content, designed for very different functions, purposes and effects, it is clear that only some of them (and a rather small proportion at that) can be pinpointed with any certainty as specifically governed by his reaction to his contemporary readers.

Kinkead-Weekes may be right that many of the "editorial" footnotes, and certain insertions into the text, that darken Lovelace's character and defend Clarissa's delicacy, were probably prompted by criticisms Richardson received during the long intervals between installments of his first edition. But these obvious revisions are only a small part of his total — they form only one compact group amid the thousands of instances resulting from the thorough overhauling of the first four volumes in 1749. In fact, they constitute an even smaller part of all the changes Clarissa repeatedly underwent from the time this novel was in its first manuscript form.[24] They certainly should not be treated out of proportion to their role in the entire scope of Richardson's complex endeavor.

A second assumption which has clouded discussion of Richardson's revisions implies that if he introduced a certain footnote or line into his text to meet a specific criticism from his readers, he must have made all changes of the same kind for the same reason. On the contrary, each revision must be judged independently in light of its own evidence. The dangers of not doing so are visible in Philip Stevick's new version of Clarissa for the Rinehart Press. His introduction, and a footnote on page 223, indicate that his abridgement is based on the first edition, with one exception — a letter in which Lovelace describes to Belford his projected scheme to rape Anna, Mrs. Howe, and their maid, and to throw Hickman overboard, during a trip to the Isle of Wight. Stevick claims that "Richardson wrote the letter for inclusion in the revised third edition," and he explains that it serves in his abridgement to provide his readers first-hand experience with "one of the more obvious and sustained efforts Richardson made, in revising, to darken the character of Lovelace" (p. 223).


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Ironically, this one sample was not at all written specifically for the third edition (1751), nor can it truly exemplify even those post-publication revisions which Richardson invented in response to criticism from an adverse audience. It was written at least five years earlier and then cut from his manuscript during Richardson's struggles to shorten Clarissa for his first printing. We know it existed in the earliest versions of the novel, because it is one of the scenes that Miss Sophia Wescomb, on April 14, 1746, suggested the author might eliminate when he appealed for her help in condensing and correcting his work.[25]

A third problem any editor or scholar of Clarissa must face, and face squarely, is that Richardson's changes taken as a whole are not uniformly successful, but they do reveal, as his novel does too, both his considerable strengths and his particular weaknesses as an artist. It is special pleading to set aside certain revisions that seem crude, by arguing that they do not represent his true intentions (because they are his response to an allegedly inferior audience) while others do. For better or worse, all his changes in 1749 represent his conscious and deliberate intentions as a craftsman. Indeed, they mark another important stage in a persistent practice of revising that began many years earlier.

This is confirmed by the fact that some patterns of change are not confined to Clarissa alone, for they originate with his very first novel. In their thorough examination of Richardson's revisions in Pamela, Eaves and Kimpel have noted that "85 mentions of God were either cut or altered by changing the word 'God' to 'Heaven.'"[26] This, as well as other patterns that continue, shows that certain kinds of change made as early as 1741 recur in Clarissa eight and ten years later, for he altered six examples of this sort in 1749 and seven more in 1751. In other words, as a serious independent artist Richardson made certain decisions that not only transcended particular audiences and times but particular works as well. Nor did he passively rely on the many persons whose suggestions he sought. As Eaves and Kimpel have concluded from their study of the evolution of Clarissa before publication, he rarely followed most of the advice he received.[27]

Lastly, it is tempting to separate the small changes from the large, give credit to the former but dismiss them as relatively unimportant, and marshal one's ammunition against the "large revisions." While it


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can be useful to separate these two groups for purposes of discussion, as I have done in this paper, there is no separation of them in the novel. Because they are interwoven, any theory that focuses on one group with only nodding attention to the other is headed for difficulty: it vastly oversimplifies and distorts the data relevant to a careful evaluation of Richardson's art. Quantitatively, Richardson's revisions form a continuum from the very tiny to the very large, and certain patterns of qualitative strengths and weaknesses, certain stylistic features peculiar to him, certain goals that he set himself, turn up at many different points throughout this continuum.

The quality of Richardson's efforts in 1749 can also best be viewed as a continuum ranging from poor to excellent, with a subtle range of distinctions in between. Richardson did succeed in purifying his heroine of certain vexing weaknesses, and this enhances her character. But he also gave her further opportunities for moralizing and chiding. These do not warm a reader's heart, and many such signs of her character could have been more advantageously pruned from the work even in its original form. The finer distinctions introduced to harden Mrs. Harlowe against Clarissa solidify the family's opposition, completing the heroine's domestic isolation in Books I and II, with consequences that operate indirectly throughout the rest of the novel, especially during its denouement, when she is utterly alone. This subtle tightening in one important thread of his plot is certainly to Richardson's credit, for it partakes of the stuff that tragedies are made of, the pain caused by seeing a close relationship reversed, with someone suffering undeservedly as a result.

In regard to that group of revisions which I have purposely excluded from my discussion because other scholars have treated them (the "editorial" footnotes and the textual insertions that expose Lovelace), it is a pity that Richardson did not trust his own better instincts to let the final installment speak for itself, without encumbering his novel with these changes. Lady Bradshaigh, like so many other readers who wrote to him throughout 1748, could not have anticipated exactly how he would bring his heroine through the ordeal of being raped, nor how he would make her death an appropriate, desired, and satisfying conclusion to his fiction.

Surely he was on sound ground when he urged Lady Bradshaigh to wait until Volume V before she made up her mind about the catastrophe. "But after all," he argued, "it is the Execution must either condemn or acquit me."[28] Whatever may be his ineptitude in retouching


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Lovelace, it must not make us forget his fiercely creative independence in resisting the most radical request of all voiced by his readers: that he give his work a happy ending. His retouching is flawed, but this pales by comparison with his impeccable sense that the structure of a masterpiece is no arbitrary thing — probabilities of character and action must be followed out even to their stark ending in humiliation and death.

His refusal to give up his catastrophe is consistent with his perceptive argument (in the Postscript to the first edition) against the widespread contemporary clamor for happy endings (VII, 428). He singled out Nahum Tate's popular script of King Lear, but his charge held for other works as well. Whether the preference to act on the English stage an altered version of King Lear is due "to the false Delicacy or affected Tenderness of the Players, or to that of the Audience," Richardson did not claim to know, but he urged that the "Public Taste" should be tried upon the original once again. Coming from one who is so often thought of as the sentimental novelist par excellence at the mid-century, this clear-eyed disenchantment with ruling fashions in taste is a pointed reminder that Richardson was as independent and surprisingly different as most great men of any age or time.



T. C. Duncan Eaves and Ben D. Kimpel, "The Composition of Clarissa and its Revisions before Publication," PMLA, 83 (May, 1968), 416-28.


M. Kinkead-Weekes, "Clarissa Restored?" R.E.S. New Series, 10 (1959), 156-71.


Forster MS XV, 2, fols. 43-44.


Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, abridged by George Sherburn, (1962), p. xv.


Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, abridged by Philip Stevick, (1971), p. xxiii.


Kinkead-Weekes, p. 170.


See William M. Sale, Jr., Samuel Richardson: A Bibliographical Record of His Literary Career with Historical Notes (1936), p. 48.


John Carroll, ed. Selected Letters of Samuel Richardson (1964), pp. 86-87. Richardson to Aaron Hill, 10 May 1748.


Although problems of spelling, abbreviation, etc. are not usually attributed to the author, the problem is more complex in this instance. Richardson was both author and printer, and given his remarkable thoroughness in revising, I seriously doubt that he did not have a hand in these matters as well.


Carroll, p. 245.


Critical Remarks on Sir Charles Grandison, Clarissa, and Pamela (1754); The Augustan Reprint Society (1950), pp. [3]-[4].


See W. R. Keast, "The Two Clarissas in Johnson's Dictionary," Studies in Philology, 54 (1957), pp. 429-39.


Richardson lists pages 250 and 286 of Volume II, but see also these changes in the second edition: Vol. I: 39, 80-81, 85, 126; II: 83, 137, 173, 218, 258, 260, 263, 264, 265, 268, 300 and many others.


Erich Poetzsche, Samuel Richardson's Belesenheit (Kiel, 1908), pp. 94-96.


Sale, Samuel Richardson: A Bibliographical Record, p. 53.


2nd ed., II: 21, 25, 146, 241, 264, 279, 293; III: 39, 100, 133, 142, 153, 155, 159, 164, 167, 246, 366; IV: 66.


Carroll, p. 73.


Carroll, p. 101.


Carroll, p. 73.


Richardson to Edward Young, Monthly Magazine, 36 (1813), 419-20.


Carroll, p. 200.


See Richardson to Lady Bradshaigh, no date, Carroll, pp. 167-68; and Richardson to Sarah Chapone, 2 March 1752, Carroll, pp. 203-204.


2nd ed., I: 106, 111, 130-33, 134-36, 143; II: 209; III: 94-95, 98; IV: 6-7, 48, 49, 51, 52, 68, 96, 104.


Eaves and Kimpel, "The Composition of Clarissa and its Revisions before Publication," pp. 416-28.


Eaves and Kimpel, p. 422. See also their note on the dating of this letter.


Eaves and Kimpel, "Richardson's Revisions of Pamela," Studies in Bibliography, 20 (1967), 66.


Eaves and Kimpel, "The Composition of Clarissa and its Revisions before Publication," p. 428.


Richardson to Lady Bradshaigh, 26 October 1748, Carroll, pp. 96-97.