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Thread: Epistolary Novel

  1. #1
    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    Default Epistolary Novel

    From Britannica Encyclopedia

    Epistolary novel - a novel told through the medium of letters written by one or more of the characters.

    What do you think of novel written in this format?

    I've not many experience with epistolary novel. I think the only epistolary novel I've read in full is 'Lady Susan' by the young Jane Austen, which was an immature work of the author. I think she was still developing as a writer at that time. I didn't find the novel especially captivating and found this form of story telling a bit inadequate. But, I'm currently reading a second epistolary novel and I find this second one interesting and also began to have interest in novels written in this form.

    I'm currently reading 'Tenant of Wildfell Hall'. I only found out by the end of chapter 1 that it was written in epistolary form. I was surprised because all the while I was reading chapter 1, I thought I was only reading a first person POV novel. I only realised it's epistolary when I read the last paragraph which started with 'Now, Halford, I bid you adieu for the present.' and ended with 'Yours immutably, Gilbert Markham.'.

    So, what do you think if this kind of novels? Do you like it? Or you found this format lacking? What epistolary novels you have read that you feel it's good?

    Update: I just found out that 'Dracula' by Bram Stoker is also epistolary. I have read this novel before. How can I forget that it's epistolary but remember so clear 'Lady Susan' is written in this form?
    Last edited by kidd; 10-22-12 at 09:35 PM.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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    Member Alinda's Avatar
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    i think it has to do with how the novel is written. if the novel is good... good word choice, style, plot, etc.......then it will be a good novel no matter what the form. i actually find it easier to write in different perspectives.......it makes it easier to tell the reader things that may not be easy in first person with out a narrator.
    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;

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    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    I check out a lot of classic novels lately and found that many were written epistolary format. So, this was a popular method used by writers in the past. I wonder why this method chosen. What is the advantage of this format over the normal 1st person or 3rd person narration?
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidd View Post
    I check out a lot of classic novels lately and found that many were written epistolary format. So, this was a popular method used by writers in the past. I wonder why this method chosen. What is the advantage of this format over the normal 1st person or 3rd person narration?
    1. A sense of verisimilitude.

    2. A convenient device for simulating "real time" suspense.

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