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Approaches to Teaching the Novels of Samuel Richardson

Editor(s): Lisa Zunshine, Jocelyn Harris

Pages: xiii & 216 pp.
Published: 2006
ISBN: 9780873529235 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873529228 (hardcover)

"The editors have done a superb job of bringing together a distinguished but fresh group of contributors and opinions...a thoughtful total volume."
J. Paul Hunter, University of Virginia

The novels of Samuel Richardson can be demanding for the student today because of their focus on virtue, their embodiment of eighteenth-century social conventions, and their sheer length. Although the critical scholarship on Richardson is thriving, there is little work on teaching his novels. This volume turns the challenges of his novels into opportunities for inventive pedagogy.

Part 1, "Materials," assesses available editions of Richardson's works; evaluates background materials; and reviews biographies, critical studies, readings on eighteenth-century literature, and Web resources. A survey of experienced instructors identifies successful assignments for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Part 2, "Approaches," is divided into four sections, one on the background of Richardson's novels and one each on Clarissa, Pamela, and Sir Charles Grandison. Contributors explore the meaning of religion to Richardson's characters and to his contemporaries; discuss how his work as a printer influenced the physical appearance of his novels; show how to engage students in the debates about feminism and patriarchal ideology in the novels; and consider why Richardson revised so extensively. Classroom exercises use the Web to compare online editions of Richardson's novels.

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