Samuel Richardson

This man is the unacclaimed father of the novel. He lived from 1689 to 1761 in England. His most famous work is Pamela, and he was part of the “Cult of Sensibility” whereas his work was full of emotion and theatrics of that nature.

Both Pamela(written in 1740) and his later work, Clarissa(written between 1747 and 1748), were written in letter form, and this is known as the “epistolary novel”

Pamela is often said to be the first English novel though the term is applied a bit loosely since other works in novel form had been produced before this work. It’s better to say Pamela made novels and novel reading very popular as it attracted many readers of all social strata and encouraged other writers to follow suit.

Richardson and the “Cult of Sensibility” certainly influenced writers such as Jane Austen who detested the way Richardson wrote and created her own bodies of work as a critique and spurning of Sensibility. She certainly didn’t want her readers to believe all women were hysterical and all men hypochondriacs as society viewed people who showed too much emotion.

Personally, I think emotional theatrics should depend on the type of character you’ve created. If they’re the emotional sort then, by all means, let the emotions pour out. It’s only natural and realistic they should faint, or wail at the smallest thing. If they’re stoic, then they should be stoic and endure whatever situation they’re in as much as humanly possible – as long as it’s realistic.

What do you think about Mr. Richardson and his “Cult of Sensibility”? Reading either Pamela or Clarissa will assist you in learning what I mean about Sensibility, but I’d say read Pamela since it’s the shorter of the two.

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!!


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