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Tag Archives: Samuel Richardson

Stories Thick and Thin

A story which fails to satisfy is said to be “thin.” This implies that there is a thickness or density of fictional effect – a sense of gravitas – that we find desirable as readers and need to achieve as writers. But how? And of what does this density consist? One answer would be that…
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Genius Begins

“Reading Pamela’s letters, readers came to feel that they were Pamela; Richardson had obliterated reality and substituted the Pamela-world in its stead. It is for this reason – and not, I would argue, for some putative development of ‘realism’ – that Richardson is most to be valued as a major imaginative genius. The defining characteristic…
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Hindsight’s 20/20

David comments: “These pieces on favourite books were written for a now-defunct website in the late 1990s. They have been lightly edited here and there, but for the most part are reproduced without alteration. I am struck by the fact that I’d stand by all these choices. All are wonderful books, each an enduring classic…
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What Lucy Didn’t Know

Originally entitled “Literary Genres,” this article by David Rain was written for a textbook called The Handbook of Creative Writing, edited by Steven Earnshaw, and published by Edinburgh University Press in 2007, where it appears on pp. 54-64 in a fully referenced version, with a bibliography.   There’s an anecdote about a board meeting at…
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Alas, Poor Yorick!

Tristram Shandy is a book which, famously, draws attention to the fact that it is a book; a novel which overturns all the conventions of the novel. Discussing the outlandish time scheme of the novel, it is common to point out that the hero does not get born until the fourth volume. But Sterne, or…
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