Again while doing some reading relating to Clarissa, I found an article that peaked my interest. It comments on or covers in some depth several of the ideas we brought up in class and the ideas that were most controversial for Richardson.
The article gives examples of readers' response to the novel' lack of poetical justice and offers explanations in Richardson's own words of what he thought of poetical justice and whether or not it was relevant to the type this particular novel.
In addition the article also suggested that Richardson disliked the emotional response and the attachment readers formed to the fictional characters. Most importantly he was not interested in invoking any emotional response simply more concerned with conveying the overall lesson of virtue. The author also goes into detail about why Richardson knew Clarissa must die and what he hoped to gain through her death, In addition it also illustrates Richardson's need to make this novel as different from Pamela as possible. To show a different type of reward for virtue even at the cost of his readers' disappointment
My favorite tidbit of information is a quotation which states "For it was not through the force of Clarissa's death that he intended to move readers to virtue. Rather Richardson wanted to emphasize the pointedly less emotive reformation of Clarissa's first reader , Clarissa's chosen editor, and Richardson's envisioned male hero, John Belford."
anyway a very informative article overall and includes letters from readers and Richardson's views on tragedy and how he related his novel to a more modern style of tragedy.
If EVER you are interested in reading more about points we left open in class this article helps resolve some questions (at least foe me) so I hope you check it out even if it is just a glimpse.
Why Clarissa Must Die:Richardson's Tragedy and Editorial Heroism -title
Project Muse -available via search on clio