Deception and disguise in, a sicilian romance by Ann-Marie henry-Stephens In naming her novel a sicilian Romance, ann Radcliffe may have attempted to deliberately deceive her readers by disguising the pdf artistic complexities of this novel with its simple title. This novel is full of intrigue, suspense, tyranny, drama and villainy. It allows the reader to experience emotions ranging from fear and disgust to love and sympathy. Like the many characters who get lost in the recesses of the castle, the forests, the monastery, the ruined buildings, and the sicilian landscape, so too do the readers get lost to the outside world when engaged in the plots and sub-plots of this novel. The gothic elements( the haunted castle, the possible supernatural presence, the decay, and the dark gloomy environs) used in the novel help to enhance its richness and mysteriousness. The characters themselves are the most intriguing, for they embody the deceitfulness and the disguises which force the readers to want to discover all that lies behind the walls of the mazzini castle. Ferdinand, fifth marquis of mazzini, a ruthless, tyrannical leader, heartless father, and cruel husband (to his first wife louisa bernini) was the personification of deceit. He had power, and he used it mercilessly and arrogantly.
(11) Page 207, from letter of may. (12) Page 208, may. (13) Page 407, letter of July. (14) Page 247, letter of may. (15) Page 277, letter of June. (16) Page 420, august. (18) Page 467, september.restaurant
But if Clarissa was what she seems, if she was as attached to her vocation as she shows herself to be, would she have done this? Could her troubles have killed her? No matter how ill and dispirited she was, might she not have endured simply to avoid relinquishing her pen and ink? Footnotes (1) Page 110. This and the following page references are from Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, or The history of a young Lady, abridged and edited by george Sherburn, (Boston: houghton Mifflin, riverside Editions, 1962). (7) Page 345, from letter of July. (8) Page 206, from letter or may.
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Belford reports on August 28 to lovelace, "Mrs. Lovick told me that she had fainted away on Saturday, while she was writing, as she had done likewise the day before" (17). The day before she dies, Clarissa is too weak to hold a pen, but she dictates to Mrs. Lovick what essay will be her last letter, for Miss Howe: "Although I cannot obey you, and write with my pen, yet my heart writes by hers" (18). It is tempting if not entirely justifiable to see clarissa as representing somewhat the writer's condition. Besieged by the interfering forces of family, suitors, and society, hailed as a paragon and regarded as an oddity, abused, exploited, and made to suffer numerous hardships, she nevertheless manages to demonstrate stamina and perseverance in her chosen form of expression, her art.
It is doubtful, however, that this was Richardson's intention. He wanted Clarissa to represent moral, not literary, virtue. Her prolific letter-writing is simply a by-product of circumstance-what the situation demands-as well as an expedient for telling the story in epistolary form. This is too bad, for otherwise her writing might have saved her. Richardson must have had a grudge with the world, and decided to show that Clarissa was too good for. He let death stop her; he had her, in effect, choose to die.
Howe seems to have ambivalent feelings about cutting off Clarissa's correspondence. Near the end Anna writes: you are, it seems (and that too much for your health employed in writing. I hope it is in penning down the particulars of your tragical story. And my mother has put me in mind to press you to it, with a view that one day, if it might be published under feigned names, it would be of as much use as honour to the sex. She would be extremely glad to have her advice of penning your sad story complied with (13). Evidently, whatever apprehensions Mrs.
Howe has about the corrupting influence of Clarissa upon her daughter are overcome by an eagerness not to miss out on what Clarissa will write. Clarissa's reputation as a writer is widespread. Comments to lovelace, ". For i am told that she writes well, and that all her letters are full of sentence" (14). After she escapes lovelace, he complains to belford, "I have no doubt, wherever she has refuged, but her first work was to write to her vixen friend" (15). Even Arabella jealously admits the power of her sister's prose, beginning a letter (just a month before Clarissa's death) as follows: Sister Clary,-i wish you would not trouble me within any more of your letters. You had always a knack at writing; and depended upon making every one do what you would when you wrote (16). Clarissa maintains her output until the very end, despite the difficulty it gives her.
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It is her book birthday! Thus there is no greater present that Clarissa can give to herself than solitude-and the opportunity to write. Howe forbids her daughter to receive further letters, miss Howe over-rules her mother, saying, "But be assured that I will not dispense with your writing. My heart, my conscience, my honour, will not permit it" (11). Clarissa, in response, declares: I forego every other engagement, i suspend every wish, i banish every other fear, to take up my pen, to beg of you that you will not think of being guilty of such an act of love as I can never. If I must continue to write to you, i must (12). It appears that the regret expressed here is simply for defying the parental authority of Mrs. Howe; Clarissa regrets not at all Miss Howe's insistence on continuing to receive her letters.
she observes to miss Howe, "Indeed, my dear, i know not how to forbear writing. I have now no other employment or diversion" (6). Judith Norton she avers, "I will write. But to whom is my doubt" (7). When it is suggested that she should share a bed with Miss Partington, who will wait up with Dorcas until Clarissa is done writing, she replies that ".Miss Partington should be welcome to my whole bed, and I would retire into the dining-room, and there. This last statement reminds us that essential to the writer's vocation is the condition of solitude, for which Clarissa displays a like determination. "The single life she observes on July 23 to miss Howe, ".has offered to me, as the life, the only life, to be chosen" (9). The next day lovelace reports to belford: The lady shut herself up at six o'clock yesterday afternoon, and intends not to see company till seven or eight this; not even her nurse-imposing upon herself a severe fast.
For Clarissa's captors (first her parents, and later lovelace her writing becomes best a focus of their inability to control her completely. Shortly after her pens and ink are confiscated, her aunt tells her that the family is convinced that "you still find means to write out of the house. 3) Later, lovelace determines that she will not be fully in his power without his being able to monitor her correspondence; of the letters between Clarissa and Anna howe he writes (on may 8, to belford i must, i must come at them. This difficulty augments my curiosity. Strange, so much as she writes, and at all hours, that not one sleepy or forgetful moment has offered in our favour (4). Clarissa, ever vigilant of her most prized activity, of course suspects and even anticipates lovelace's designs. On April 26 she warns Miss Howe:. Lovelace is so full of his contrivances and expedients, that I think it may not be amiss to desire you to look carefully to the seals of my letters, as I shall to those of yours (5).
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Pen and ink, of all the attachments set forth in Samuel Richardson's. Clarissa, perhaps none is stronger than that of the heroine to her writing implements. She takes great care to possess these, partly because she has to-she knows her parents may at any time seek to obstruct her by taking them away-and part! Y because she is just that kind of person; she will always have pen and ink with her because she is always writing. Near the beginning of the story she describes the measures she takes to persist in this, her vocation; on April 5 she relates to miss Howe: I must write as I have opportunity; making use of my concealed stores: for my pens and ink (all. Further in the same letter she reports Betty, the maid, as saying, "I must carry down your pen and ink this is followed by her cousin Dolly's regretfully insisting, ".you must-indeed you must-deliver to betty-or to me-your pen and ink" (2). Thus it is established early on that Clarissa's writing tools are not only, in her parents' eyes, instruments of her insubordination, but, in the eyes of the reader, they become symbols of her dedication to writing. Nothing can separate her from them, nor will she ever allow herself, except in moments of utmost duress, to be without oliver the means, and the will, to use them.