A few years ago, Donatella Montini, from the Sapienza Università of Rome, published an edition of letters by Samuel Richardson which focused on the making of Clarissa. For this edition, which came out in 2009, she translated a selection of the letters into Italian. The book is called Lettere su Clarissa. Scrittura privata e romanzo nell’Epistolario di Samuel Richardson (Viterbo Sette Città).
An example of such a letter is the following:
14 Dec. 1748
Samuel Richardson to Astraea and Minerva Hill
What Pride you give me in your Approbation of my Clarissa! – And how charmingly just is your Correction of Miss Howe! Would you not wonder, were you to hear, that such there are as prefer that lively Girl to her? And still more, were you to be assured, that there are Numbers of your Sex, who pity the Lovelace you are affrighted at, and call Clarissa perverse, over-delicate, and Hard-hearted; and contend, that she ought to have married him?
For a continuation of her project, Donatella is interested in a number of research questions, relating in particular to his female correspondents. What exactly, she would like to know, had the Hill sisters written to Samuel Richardson about Clarissa, Miss Howe and Lovelace? Where are their letters? And where are the letters written by the various Misses Chapone, Westcomb, Grainger, Mulso, etc., all members of Richardson’s circle of women who exchanged letters on the novelist’s epistolary fictional stories, and on their non fictional lives? Help and advice on where to locate these letters will be greatly appreciated.