“Nothing of Body:” Our Clarissa Quarantine

A young woman of eighteen, an over-achiever, her parents’ youngest child and not-so-secret favorite, returns home from an extended...

Vile Encroacher

This odd phrase, “vile encroacher,” is one of Clarissa’s favorite epithets for her antagonist, Lovelace. She uses the phrase...

Promises, Promises

“Promises Made, Promises Kept.” So ran President Trump’s campaign slogan before the pandemic underlined, as if it needed underlining,...

Watching the Detectives

The experience of pandemic and quarantine is, for me, an experience of increased surveillance and monitoring. I now spend...

Clarissa; Or, the History of a Fact-Checker

In one of Clarissa’s most harrowing episodes, the heroine escapes from Lovelace’s imprisonment and manages to hide in anonymity...

The History of a Young Lady?

Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, or, The History of a Young Lady balances contradictory claims on the fulcrum of its “or.”...

Clarissa’s Curse

Among the many disappointed fathers in English literature, James Harlowe and King Lear may not seem to have much...

Clarissa’s Allegories of Trauma

There is a strange moment in Samuel Richardson’s novel when Clarissa deceives someone for the first time in her...

Rereading Clarissa, March 28, 2021

“Yet there is no day in her life on which I do not see her.” Joan Didion, Blue Nights...

Clarissa in the Streets

A few summers ago, I was rambling through Hackney, near Regent’s Canal, and found myself surrounded by streets named...

Prison Sentences

  “Prison Sentences” is a pandemic prose poem consisting of lines, words, and sentences cut from Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa...

On Meeting Susan Howe

My journal entry from August 21, 2020 begins: “And on this penultimate Clarissa Zoom meeting (after most of us...

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