Added: November 9, 2013 – Last updated: November 5, 2016


Author: Terry Eagleton

Title: The Rape of Clarissa

Subtitle: Writing, Sexuality, and Class Struggle in Samuel Richardson

Place: Minneapolis

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press

Year: 1982

Pages: 120pp.

ISBN-13: 9780816612093 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 18th Century | European History: English History | Representations: Literary Texts / Samuel Richardson


Link: -


Author: Terry Eagleton, Department of English & Creative Writing, Lancaster UniversityWikipedia


  Preface (p. vii)
  Introduction (p. 1)
  The Rape of Clarissa (p. 40)
  Postscript (p. 95)
  Index (p. 103)


»Samuel Richardson is probably the most neglected of the great English novelists. Generations of students and critics have found his works not only unendurably long, but priggish, preachy and pornographic to boot.
In this remarkable and arresting study, Terry Eagleton seeks to reclaim Richardson for our own time, as one of the most pioneering and revolutionary authors of English literature. He shows how the concern of Clarissa with the oppression of women graphically prefigures the feminism of today. Using a combination of Marxist, post-structuralist and psychoanalytic approaches, Eagleton examines Richardson’s obsession with the act of writing, his role as an aggressive spokesman for the middle class and his unparalleled insights into sexual politics.
This is a book which may alarm and outrage many traditional eighteenth century specialists. But it will bring many to read Richardson for the first time—and indeed, by the manifold hints it throws out, to read a good deal more eighteenth-century fiction, in startlingly new ways.« (Source: University of Minnesota Press)

Editions: Eagleton, Terry. The Rape of Clarissa: Writing, Sexuality, and Class Struggle in Samuel Richardson. Oxford 1982. – Bibliographic Entry: Info


Dussinger, John A. Eighteenth-Century Studies 17(3) (1984): 350-354. – Full Text: JSTOR (Restricted Access)

Warner, William B. »Reading Rape: Marxist-Feminist Figurations of the Literal.« Diacritics: A Review of Contemporary Criticism 13(4) (Winter 1983): 12-32. – Full Text: JSTOR (Restricted Access), Periodicals Archive Online (Restricted Access)

Wess, Robert. The Minnesota Review No. 25 (Fall 1985): 139-141. – Full Text: Project MUSE (Restricted Access)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England / Georgian era | Literature: English literature / Augustan literature | 18th-century English writers: Samuel Richardson / Clarissa