Tuesday, February 26, 2008

From two sides of the room

I really loved the scene in which Clarissa was finally introduced to Lovelace's acquaintances. Especially since Lovelace had been corresponding with John Belford for so long, it was intriguing to finally have him described by an outsider, someone who had just met him. What I found even more interesting, though, was the problem of representation that arises when the scene is described from two points of view--Clarissa's and Lovelace's. The evening seems to be a generally unpleasant one for both parties, but it's interesting to see where the blame falls in both accounts. I've included snippets from the two letters (161 and 167) below.

Clarissa on the evening:
"I have just escaped from the very disagreeable company I was obliged, so much against my will, to be in. As a very particular relation of this evening's conversation would be painful to me, you must content yourself with what you shall be able to collect from the outlines, as I may call them, of the characters of the persons, assisted by the little histories Mr Lovelace gave me of each yesterday." (542)

Lovelace on the evening:
"To the pure, every little deviation seemed offensive, yet I saw not that there was anything amiss the whole evening, either in your words or behaviour. Some people could talk but upon one or two subjects: she upon every one: no wonder, therefore, they talked to what they understood best; and to mere objects of sense. Had she honoured us with more of her conversation, she would have been less disgusted with ours." (552)

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