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KEV67

Writers writing about characters not like them

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I am reading Clarissa by Samuel Richardson, approximately 1748. Samuel Richardson was in late middle age, and a man, when he wrote that book. The protagonist was a teenage girl. I think he pulled it off. I cannot say because I am not a teenage girl. Notwithstanding Clarissa is not a typical teenage girl. She spends half her waking hours writing letters for a start. She is very high minded, and resolute. She could probably govern a small country if required. So there is Samuel Johnson. When I read War and Peace, I was impressed by the character of Natasha Rostova, another teenage girl. Leo Tolstoy had never been a teenage girl, but Natasha seemed real enough to me. So, who else gets away with it? From the female side, I thought Anne Brontë portrayed men very well in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

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Thomas Hardy was quite good about getting the female perspective eg Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Far from the Madding Crowd - both unconventional heroines for the time when the books were written.

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