Autonomous Voices

An Exploration of Polyphony in the Novels of Samuel Richardson

by Alex Townsend (Author)
©2003 Monographs 236 Pages


The novels of Samuel Richardson are the essential topic of this book. Its main aim is to use Bakhtin’s definition of polyphony as a way into Richardson’s work and, in turn, to provide a basis from which to revise Bakhtin.
After tracing the development of psychological realism in the eighteenth-century novel and the growing potential for autonomy in the fictional character in general, the book goes on to examine the potential for polyphony which first emerges in Pamela and reaches its height in Clarissa.
Between editions of this momentous novel, Richardson felt compelled to make frantic attempts to control the reader’s interpretation of the text. Lovelace – the villain of Clarissa – acquires a degree of autonomy that bears startlingly vivid testimony to the plurality of human identity itself. Sir Charles Grandison, Richardson’s last novel, is a vivid retreat from the powerful effect of Lovelace.


ISBN (Softcover)
Roman Charakterisierung Polyphony Samuel Richardson Bakhtin Clarissa Pamela Lovelace Autonomy Richardson, Samuel
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., New York, Wien, 2003. 236 pp., 2 tables

Biographical notes

Alex Townsend (Author)

The Author: Alex Townsend was born in 1970. He was educated at the University of East Anglia in Norwich and the University of Kent at Canterbury, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1999. He currently teaches English language and literature to college students and continues to pursue ambitions in both academic and creative writing.


Title: Autonomous Voices