An epistolary novel is also called a novel of letters, because the narration takes place in the form of letters, possibly journal entries, and occasionally newspaper reports. An epistle is an archaic term for a letter. The epistolary novel is an interesting literary technique, because it allows a writer to include multiple narrators in his or her story. This means the story can be told and interpreted from numerous viewpoints.
The first true epistolary novel was the 17th century work, Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and his Sister penned by Aphra Behn. Unlike many novels to follow, several volumes of the work also include the voice of a narrator, who ties together letters and comments on all of the characters. This aspect would disappear in later works when the epistolary novel became popular in the 18th century.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula is also considered an epistolary novel that is very effective and continues to capture the imagination of modern audiences.
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