The History of Sir Charles Grandison

The History of Sir Charles Grandison, commonly called Sir Charles Grandison, is an epistolary novel by Samuel Richardson first published in February 1753. The book was a response to Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, which parodied the morals presented in Richardson's previous novels. The novel follows the story of Harriet Byron who is pursued by Sir Hargrave Pollexfen. After she rejects Pollexfen, he kidnaps her, and she is only freed when Sir Charles Grandison comes to her rescue. After his appearance, the novel focuses on his history and life, and he becomes its central figure.

The novel incorporates an epistolary format similar to Richardson's previous novels, Clarissa and Pamela. Unlike those novels, Charles Grandison, the leading male character, is a morally good man and lacks the villainous intent that is manifested by the Lovelace or Mr. B (characters of Clarissa and Pamela respectively). Richardson was motivated to create such a male figure because of the prompting of his many female friends who wanted a counterpart to the virtues exhibited by Richardson's female characters.

Read more about The History Of Sir Charles Grandison:  Background, Plot, Structure, Themes, Critical Response

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