Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Grandison Hall

Grandison Hall. Family home of Sir Charles Grandison in the Essex suburbs of London. Located just outside London, Grandison Hall represents a level of remove from the city even as it permits active engagement in the great city’s social, political, economic, and cultural spheres. However, the hall is close enough to the city to be tainted by urban vices, such as Sir Charles’s father’s having a mistress, whom Sir Charles tactfully removes to a London home upon returning from his tour. Reinforcing the hall’s role in virtue, an Anglican clergyman friend of Sir Charles administers charitable support from Grandison Hall. Sir Charles also restores the beauty of the parks of the estate, as well as the health of the estate as a whole. Doing so satisfies two ideals: the contemporary Georgian obsession with landscaping estates and having the wealth to afford to do so. Finally, as the home of the now-married Sir Charles and Harriet, Grandison Hall facilitates the reconciliation for the Porretta family and thus the international triumph of the Georgian domestic ideal.


*London. Capital and leading city of Great Britain, that demonstrates both the social and moral sensibilities of the 1750’s. Sir Charles lives in a town house on St. James’s Square, an exclusive neighborhood built around a carefully landscaped park. During the mid-eighteenth century, the square’s town houses were considered extremely fashionable; the fact that Sir Charles lives there demonstrates his high social status.

Grosvenor Street is another fashionable London neighborhood; its homes are not as exclusive as town houses on a square, but appropriate for a well-to-do Northamptonshire family, such as the virtuous young...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Doody, Margaret Anne. A Natural Passion: A Study of the Novels of Samuel Richardson. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1964. Sympathetic treatment. Examines Sir Charles Grandison as comedy. Discusses the personalities of the women and the imagery in the novel.

Flynn, Carol Houlihan. Samuel Richardson: A Man of Letters. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1982. Brief discussions of various aspects of Sir Charles Grandison—for example, the use of epistolary method, the figure of the rake, sexual conflict, and the role of romance.

McKillop, Alan Dugald. “On Sir Charles Grandison.” In Samuel Richardson, edited by John Carroll. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1969. Argues that Sir Charles Grandison excels in making readers feel “intimacy with a group of characters set in the framework of a familiar society.” Suggests that the novel paved the way for later novels of manners.

Marks, Sylvia Kasey. “Man and God in Richardson’s Sir Charles Grandison.” In Man, God, and Nature in the Enlightenment. Edited by Donald C. Mell et al. East Lansing, Mich.: Colleagues Press, 1988. Discusses the treatment of Christianity in Sir Charles Grandison. Examines Sir Charles’s character in light of the Christian religion.

Marks, Sylvia Kasey. Sir Charles Grandison: The Compleat Conduct Book. Cranbury, N.J.: Bucknell University Press, 1986. Examines Sir Charles Grandison in its social context. Discusses the novel as “the culmination of the conduct-book tradition.”