Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Harlowe home

Harlowe home. Country estate of wealthy English gentry, near the village of St. Albans, to the northwest of London, it is presided over by a tyrannical patriarch, and its gardens are enclosed by an iron gate. It represents an Eden from which the heroine is lured by the satanic Lovelace into disobeying her father. It also represents the heroine’s virginal body and mind, locked against Lovelace. Eventually, she is tricked by Lovelace into opening the gate and is abducted by him in the fatal error that begins her tragedy. The Harlowe home should offer a haven from the world for Clarissa, but it is so fraught with conflict that it becomes her first site of persecution when her siblings turn against her in jealousy, and her father tries to force her to marry a wealthy but odious man. After she forfeits her father’s protection, she is never perfectly safe from Lovelace again.

St. Albans inn

St. Albans inn. The first stop after Lovelace abducts Clarissa in a coach. Lovelace pretends that they are brother and sister and makes up a story to explain why Clarissa has no luggage and is angry at him. Clarissa is frantic to get herself out of Lovelace’s “protection,” while Lovelace himself, peeved by her romantic resistance of him, resolves to carry her to a location that he controls.

Mrs. Sinclair’s brothel

Mrs. Sinclair’s brothel. House on London’s Norfolk Street. Lovelace gives Clarissa a choice of places to go, recommending London, ironically, for the privacy it can offer her. He invents letters attesting the character of the widow Sinclair’s house,...

(The entire section is 675 words.)