Book Review: Sir Charles Grandison, Volume 2

Today I finished typing the second volume of Sir Charles Grandison. It hasn’t been published to Project Gutenberg yet, but should be soon… I’ll keep you notified. In the meantime, a short review of Vol. 2:

This volume continues the saga of Sir Charles Grandison’s life, as narrated almost exclusively by the eternally grateful and admiring Harriet Byron. A large portion of the beginning is something of a treatise on the evils of duelling, its historical origin, and instances of brave men who did not consider duelling an option. Next follows a very long history of the Grandison family, which turns out to be mostly the history of Sir Charles’s parents and his sisters, with very little of his own life except tangentially (his sisters tell the history to Harriet, and were not aware of his doings abroad on the Continent, having been forbidden by their father to correspond with him). This took up at least a third of the book, perhaps more. The remainder of the volume encompasses Charlotte Grandison’s dating difficulties, and Harriet’s woes about being unutterably below Sir Charles in every single aspect of existence, with a few more instances of his perfection thrown in. There have been very vague hints about some sort of intrigue in Italy while he was abroad, but everyone has been too discreet to come out and ask Sir Charles what’s up.

Sir Charles Grandison, so far, has been largely all from the perspective of Harriet Byron, with very few letters written by anyone else. I miss the banter back and forth between penpals, as in Clarissa; the conversations have been very one-sided, despite Harriet’s imagined responses from her relatives, and comments about having received letters from them (which the reader never gets to see). Plus, I am getting tired of Harriet for being so darn good, and yet so seemingly unworthy of Sir Charles’s love. Charlotte would probably write more interesting letters, but she is constantly with Harriet, so has no occasion to write her.

I’ve started in on the contents and first letter of Volume 3, and it looks like the same tone will predominate, with mostly letters from Harriet, and a few one-sided letters from Sir Charles to Dr. Bartlett. There will also be packets of letters sent from Harriet to her family, containing letters from Dr. Bartlett to Harriet, and letters from Sir Charles to him at previous dates; all this seems a bit convoluted, but perhaps it will flow nicely when it actually comes up.

Up Next…

As I mentioned, I have already begun work on the next volume of Sir Charles Grandison, and continue to work on The White Peacock, slowly, mostly from home.

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