With echoes of both romance and Puritan accounts of the self, Clarissa (1747-48) by Samuel Richardson is an experiment in shame and sociability that exposes the problems of sympathy. Clarissa is structured by the seemingly opposite feelings of shame and glory, both of which are inhabited in turn by Clarissa and Lovelace. The connection of shame to glory suggests an older model of power and regulation that underlies and complicates the sympathy Richardson imagines. Not only does shame work in Clarissa as an affective pivot that rationalizes the total revelation of self, but it does so by disgracing the “bad” shame which is too closely associated with rank and ambition, as these are explicated in Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). Clarissa’s shame stands in contrast to that aristocratic shame expressed by her family and Lovelace, producing a shamed and authoritative self.


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pp. 645-666
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