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N.2/2021 Filosofia e generi letterari nel XVIII secolo

The epistolary novel in French literature

Luisa Messina

Published in December, 2021

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The eighteenth century is considered as the golden age of epistolary art. If we analyse the historical and social value of letters, we notice that epistolary exchange soon becomes one of the principal ways of communication and of providing information. One of the most important qualities of the epistolary novel is its ability to effectively convey emotion. The epistolary novel removes the temporal distance between personal history and its written form. The most famous writers of the time (such as Montesquieu) and other writers (Laclos and Sade in particular) employed the epistolary novel in different ways. So eight- eenth-century literature is characterised by the successful epistolary novel. Since the Modern Age letter has held great historical and social importance due to the power of letter to act as a vehicle for information. This emerges as one of the main reasons for the rise in popularity of the epistolary novel.


Novel, letter, modern Age, Eighteenth-century, France.



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