What is the definition of the epistolary novel and who were its main authors?

MODERN ENGLISH LITERATURE NOTES

A novel which is written in the form of  letters – that imposes certain constrains but also makes possible an extreme form of realism (letters are credible documents), provides basis for more intimate correspondence is called epistolary novel.
Two authors who used wrote epistolary novels in the Restoration prose were:

- Samuel Richardson:

  • o Pamela – almost all letters come from the heroine alone
  • o Clarissa – besides Clarissa, there are three others letter writers – multiple viewpoints

- Tobias Smollett:

  • o The Expedition of  Humphry Clinker – ironic + epistolary: Richardson’s epistolary method, but the characters correspond only one way, each writes to a confidant outside the story – the characters never receive an answer, the reader has to participate more actively.

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