Author. He is considered one of the founders of the modern novel. His three novels, "Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded" (1740), "Clarissa Harlowe" (7 volumes, 1747 to 1748), and "Sir Charles Grandison" (7 volumes, 1753 to 1754), introduced elements that are still standard in full-length fiction. Each book has a unified central plot, rather than a loosely connected series of episodes. The characters maintain a consistent point of view, without interference from the author. And the detailed descriptions of real people in common situations has formed the basis of most literature ever since. All three are "epistolary novels" (novels written in the form of letters by one or more of the characters), a style Richardson himself invented and which remained popular through the early 19th Century. Richardson's books are too long and verbose to be much read today; "Clarissa Harlowe", regarded as his masterpiece, totals over a million words. And the priggish morality they express was mocked in their own time, especially by author Henry Fielding, who parodied "Pamela" with his novels "Shamela" (1742) and "Joseph Andrews" (1743). But their vast influence has assured Richardson lasting importance as a writer. Richardson was born in Derbyshire, England. His parents wanted him to become a clergyman, but lack of funds led to his being apprenticed to a printer. He started his own printing press in 1719 and became one of London's most successful publishers. In 1739, when he was 50, Richardson got the idea for his first novel while preparing a manual for letter-writing. "Pamela" went through four editions in its first year and a stage adaptation was performed throughout Europe. Poor health prevented Richardson from writing any new works after 1754.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards