A milestone in the history of the novel, Samuel Richardson’s epistolary and elaborate Clarissa follows the life of a chaste young woman desperate to protect her virtue. When beautiful Clarissa Harlowe is forced to marry the rich but repulsive Mr Solmes, she refuses, much to her family’s chagrin. She escapes their persecution with the help of Mr Lovelace, a dashing and seductive rake, but soon finds herself in a far worse dilemma. Terrifying and enlightening, Clarissa weaves a tapestry of narrative experimentation into a gripping morality tale of good versus evil. The recording is divided into three volumes.
Colonel W.M. Morden, John Harlowe, Antony Harlowe, James Harlowe Snr, F.J. de la Tour, John Williams
Judith Norton, Betty Lawrence, Mrs Charlotte Harlowe, Mrs Annabella Howe, Mrs Dorothy Hervey, Lady Charlotte Montague, Sarah Hodges
James Harlowe Jnr, Charles Hickman, Elias Brand, Richard Mowbray, Roger Solmes, Patrick M’Donald and Captain Tomlinson, Joseph Leman, Arthur Lewen, Thomas Doleman, William Summers, Alexander Wyerley
Arabella Harlowe, Charlotte Montague, Dolly Hervey, Hannah Burton
The cast of this audio production must be commended for undertaking one of the longest novels in English literature. They are successful in capturing Richardson’s many epistolary voices. Lucy Scott gives an admirable performance as Clarissa Harlowe; her clear, soft voice captures the earnestness and innocence of the chief character. While Clarissa most often speaks sincerely to her trusted friend, Scott adapts her tone to suit each letter’s recipient. Roger May conveys the devilish Lovelace with a scornful and arrogant tone. The novel has many speakers, and, thankfully, actors Anna Bentinck and Paul Panting flawlessly play several roles. This wonderful combination of talents makes Volume 1 a tantalising beginning to the rest of Samuel Richardson’s lengthy novel.
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