The Epistolary Novel

Further information on the epistolary style.

The Edible Eighteenth Century

The Epistolary Novel refers to a work made up entirely of letters.  This style of writing coined its name from the Latin word, ”epistola” which means letter.  Aphra Behn first wrote the epistolary form in the 17th century in a novel titled Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and his Sister.  In this unprecedented style of writing, Behn actually included the voice of a narrator, which he interjected between the letters.  This addition, however, was not typical of the Epistolary form, which became widely popular in the 18th century. 

As the Epistolary novel became a form people wanted to read more of and authors wanted to write, three different types emerged: a monologic work, a dialogic work, and a polylogic work.  A monologic epistolary novel only contains letters written by one character.  The monologic style can be seen in Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe’s The Sorrows of a Young Werther.  A dialogic…

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