Born in Derbyshire to a joiner, Samuel Richardson (1689–1761) received little formal education; in 1706, he was apprenticed to a printer in London. Thirteen years later, he set himself up as a stationer and printer and became one of the leading figures in the trade. At the age of fifty, he turned his hand to writing. His epistolary novels—including his masterpiece, Clarissa, or The History of a Young Lady (1747–48)—brought him great success and a bevy of admirers.
Sheila Ortiz-Taylor is Professor Emeritus of English at Florida State University, where she taught the British and American novel, as well as creative writing and women’s literature, since receiving her PhD from UCLA in 1973. A former Fulbright Fellow, she is the author of eight novels, including Homestead and Faultline.
Lynn Shepherd has a doctorate in English literature from Oxford University, and is the author of Clarissa's Painter: Portraiture, Illustration, and Representation in the Novels of Samuel Richardson, which is published by OUP. She is also an award-winning novelist, and has published literary mysteries inspired by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and the lives of the Shelleys.