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Epistolary Fiction (Correspondence)

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By: Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Love and Friendship by Jane Austen Love and Friendship

Begun when she was just eleven years old, Love and Friendship is one of Jane Austen's stories that very few readers may have encountered before. Austen experts feel that this story was written, like many others, only for the pleasure of her family and friends. It is scribbled across three notebooks, in childish handwriting, and the complete work is thought to have been written over a period of six or seven years. It is dedicated to one of her cousins, whom she was very close to, Eliza de Feuillide...

Lady Susan by Jane Austen Lady Susan

An epistolary novel, Lady Susan is an early work by Austen that was posthumously published in 1871. The short novel focuses on the self-serving eponymous anti-heroine, as she cunningly maneuvers her way through society in search of a wealthy husband for both her daughter and herself. Disregarding anything but her own selfish goals, Susan employs her charms to lure men and draw them into her web of deceit, no matter their age or status. Exploring issues including morals, manners, self-indulgence, malevolence, and social machinations, the relatively short novel is sure to fascinate with its atypical form...

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Goldsmith's Friend Abroad Again by Mark Twain Goldsmith's Friend Abroad Again

This satire on the U.S.A.'s myth of being the "Home of the Oppressed, where all men are free and equal", is unrelenting in its pursuit of justice through exposure. It draws a scathingly shameful portrait of how Chinese immigrants were treated in 19th century San Francisco. (Introduction by John Greenman)

Book cover Letters of Mark Twain, Complete

These letters were arranged in two volumes by Albert Bigelow Paine, Samuel L. Clemens's literary executor, as a supplement to Mark Twain, A Biography, which Paine wrote. They are, for the most part, every letter written by Clemens known to exist at the time of their publication in 1917. They begin with a fragment of a letter from teenaged Sam Clemens to his sister, Pamela, and conclude with a letter to his attorney two weeks before his death. These letters give us some degree of insight into the evolution of Twain's style of speech and prose over the period of his lifetime; they are a small window into the psyche that created the various characters of his stories...

By: Bram Stoker (1847-1912)

Dracula by Bram Stoker Dracula

Dracula tells the tale of a sinister Transylvanian aristocrat who seeks to retain his youth and strength by feeding off human blood. The author, Bram Stoker, a young Victorian theater professional, was probably inspired by the strange epidemic of vampirism that occurred in remote parts of Eastern Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. These stories were recounted by travelers who later arrived in England and other parts of Western Europe. Stoker initially meant the tale to be written as a play in which he wanted Sir Henry Irving, a leading Victorian actor, to play the role of the malevolent Count Dracula...

By: Edith Wharton (1862-1937)

The Touchstone by Edith Wharton The Touchstone

Stephen Glennard's career is falling apart and he desperately needs money so that he may marry his beautiful fiancee. He happens upon an advertisement in a London magazine promising the prospect of financial gain. Glennard was once pursued by Margaret Aubyn, a famous and recently deceased author, and he still has her passionate love letters to him. Glennard removes his name from the letters and sells them, making him a fortune and building a marriage based on the betrayal of another.

By: George MacDonald (1824-1905)

The Wise Woman by George MacDonald The Wise Woman

George MacDonald was an influential Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister. MacDonald’s works (particularly his fairy tales and fantasy novels) claimed the admiration of such authors as J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Madeleine L’Engle. The Wise Woman fairy tale was one of MacDonald’s more popular works. This delightful story describes how a woman of mysterious powers pays visits to two very different young girls: one a princess, the other a shepherd’s daughter. Neither girl is left unchanged by the startling events that are unleashed as a result: and the reader is confronted by astonishing fairy-worlds in which the girls are forced to choose between good and evil...

By: Henry James (1843-1916)

Book cover A Bundle of Letters

By: H. Beam Piper (1904-1964)

Book cover Operation R.S.V.P.

By: Wilkie Collins (1824-1889)

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White tells the story of two half-sisters, Laura Fairlie and Marian Halcombe who were embroiled in the sinister plot of Sir Percival Glyde and Count Fosco to take over their family’s wealth. It’s considered to be one of the first “sensation novels” to be published. Like most novels that fall into this category, the protagonists here are pushed to their limits by the villains before they finally got the justice they deserved. The story begins with Walter Hartright helping a woman dressed in white who turned out to have escaped from a mental asylum...

The Black Robe by Wilkie Collins The Black Robe

The church has lost out on a valuable piece of land through wars and transfers. Father Benwell is determined to reclaim that property by the conversion of the owner, Lewis Romayne. Enter beautiful Stella, who captures the heart of Romayne. Should Stella capture the love and devotion of Romayne, Father Benwell's scheme would fail, and that is something that he can not allow. Complicating things is the fact that both Romayne and Stella are hiding their own terrible secrets.The Black Robe is an 1881 epistolary novel by famed English writer, Wilkie Collins. The book centers around the misadventures of Lewis Romayne, and is also noted for a perceived anti-Catholic bias

By: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

Book cover The Sorrows of Young Werther

The Sorrows of Young Werther (German, Die Leiden des jungen Werther, originally published as Die Leiden des jungen Werthers) is an epistolary and loosely autobiographical novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first published in 1774. The story follows the life and sorrows of Werther after he falls desperately in love with a young woman who is married to another. A climactic scene prominently features Goethe's own German translation of a portion of James Macpherson's Ossian cycle of poems, which had originally been presented as translations of ancient works, and was later found to have been written by Macpherson. (Introduction by Wikipedia and Barry Eads)

By: Jean Webster (1876-1916)

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster Daddy-Long-Legs

Jerusha Abbott, an eighteen year old orphan, faces an uncertain future in the charity home where she has lived all her life. On reaching adulthood, the orphanage can no longer offer shelter to its inmates. Her anxiety leads her into wild speculation when she is summoned to the matron's office. But a surprise awaits her. One of the visitors, a wealthy Trustee of the orphanage, has offered to fund Jerusha's college education and fulfill her dreams of becoming a writer. The only condition he makes is that he remain anonymous and that she write to him regularly about her progress...

Dear Enemy by Jean Webster Dear Enemy

Dear Enemy is the sequel to Jean Webster’s novel Daddy-Long-Legs. The story as presented in a series of letters written by Sallie McBride, Judy Abbott’s college mate in Daddy-Long-Legs. Among the recipients of the letters are the president of the orphanage where Sallie is filling in until a new director can be installed, his wife (Judy Abbott of Daddy-Long-Legs), and the orphanage’s doctor (to whom Sallie addresses her letters: “Dear Enemy”).

By: Eleanor Hallowell Abbott (1872-1958)

The Indiscreet Letter by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott The Indiscreet Letter

Three fellow travelers on a train enter into a discussion concerning what they would call an ‘indiscreet letter.’ The discussion albeit short, produces some rather interesting revelations during the journey and at journey’s end.

Molly Make-Believe by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott Molly Make-Believe

Carl Stanton is an invalid suffering from an unusual bout of rheumatism. His fiancée is gone for the winter and though he begs her to write to help ease his boredom and pain she is stingy with her letters. She sends him what she calls a "ridiculous circular" which she states is very apropos of his sentimental passion for letters. In a sudden fit of mischief, malice and rheumatism, Carl decides to respond to the circular which results in bringing about the necessary distraction in a flurry of letters that do ease Carl’s boredom and pain but also bring him something else that he never quite expected.

By: William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

Book cover The Fitz-Boodle Papers

By: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

Book cover Stark Munro Letters

"The letters of my friend Mr. Stark Munro appear to me to form so connected a whole, and to give so plain an account of some of the troubles which a young man may be called upon to face right away at the outset of his career, that I have handed them over to the gentleman who is about to edit them. There are two of them, the fifth and the ninth, from which some excisions are necessary; but in the main I hope that they may be reproduced as they stand. I am sure that there is no privilege which my friend...

By: Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810)

Book cover Wieland: or, the Transformation, an American Tale
Book cover Edgar Huntly or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker
Book cover Jane Talbot

By: Honore de Balzac (1799-1850)

Letters of Two Brides by Honore de Balzac Letters of Two Brides

An epistolary novel written by renowned French novelist Balzac, who is regarded as one of the founders of realism and a significant influence to later novelists, the novel focuses on two young women who preserve their friendship through regular correspondence. Originally published in the French newspaper La Presse in 1841 as a serial, the piece later became a part of Balzac’s distinguished novel sequence La Comédie Humaine, or The Human Comedy. Furthermore, Letters of Two Brides surrounds intriguing topics including love, romance, confusion, duty, and the complexity of relationships...

By: Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

Book cover Letters to His Children

The strong, vigorous, exalted character of a doting father who loved playing with his children and their pets, even while serving as the President of the United States, stands revealed in this selection of letters he wrote his children throughout their school years. They shed light on the cheerful man who remained throughout his life as pure and gentle as the soul of a child, plus many little reveals that there were squirrels nesting in the presidential bedroom, rats in the basement, and children's...

By: Fanny Burney

Evelina by Fanny Burney Evelina

In this epistolary novel, we find a young woman named Evelina, who was raised in rural seclusion until her eighteenth year because of her uncertain parentage. Through a series of harrowing and humorous events that take place in London and an English resort town, Evelina learns how to navigate the complex layers of 18th century society and earn the love of a distinguished and honorable nobleman. This comedy of manners often satirizes the society in which it is set; Evelina is a significant precursor to later works by Jane Austen and Maria Edgeworth, whose novels explore many of the same issues. (from Evelina’s wikipedia entry, modified by ettelocin)

By: Peter Abelard (1079-1142)

The Story of My Misfortunes by Peter Abelard The Story of My Misfortunes

Autobiographies from remote historical periods can be especially fascinating. Modes of self-presentation vary greatly across the centuries, as of course does the very concept of Self. Peter Abelard, the medieval philosopher and composer, here gives a concise but vivid survey of his notoriously calamitous life. The work is couched in the form of a letter to an afflicted friend. Abelard’s abrasively competitive, often arrogant personality emerges at once in the brief Foreword, where he informs his correspondent: “(I)n comparing your sorrows with mine, you may discover that yours are in truth nought.. and so shall you come to bear them the more easily.”

By: Publius Ovidius Naso

Heroides by Publius Ovidius Naso Heroides

The Heroides, also known as the Heroines, the Letters of the Heroines or simply as Epistles are a very famous collection of poems by Ovid, not only for their interesting subject – letters by famous mythological characters addressed to their beloved ones – but also because it’s considered by some the first example of the Epistle as a literary genre – a statement made by Ovid himself in his Ars Amatoria. The book as we have it nowadays consists of 21 letters, divided in two parts. The first...

By: Samuel Richardson

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded

Now first Published In order to cultivate the Principles of Virtue and Religion in the Minds of the YOUTH of BOTH SEXES.A Narrative which has its Foundation in TRUTH and NATURE; and at the same time that it agreeably entertains, by a Variety of curious and affecting Incidents, is intirely divested of all those Images, which, in too many Pieces calculated for Amusement only, tend to inflame the Minds they should instruct.(From the frontspiece of the first edition)Pamela tells the story of a 14 year old lady’s maid named Pamela whose master, Mr...

Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady

Clarissa Harlowe, the tragic heroine of Clarissa, is a beautiful and virtuous young lady whose family has become very wealthy only in recent years and is now eager to become part of the aristocracy by acquiring estates and titles through advantageous pairings. Clarissa’s relatives attempt to force her to marry a rich but heartless man (Roger Solmes) against her will and, more importantly, against her own sense of virtue. Desperate to remain free, she is tricked by a young gentleman of her acquaintance, Lovelace, into escaping with him. However, she refuses to marry him, longing — unusual for a girl in her time — to live by herself in peace.

Book cover Clarissa: Preface, Hints of Prefaces, and Postscript

By: Ring Lardner (1885-1933)

You Know Me Al by Ring Lardner You Know Me Al

Big, fat, dumb, lazy, vain, headstrong and cheap, Jack Keefe is a journeyman pitcher with the Chicago White Sox in the rowdy days of the Deadball Era, circa 1915, ruled by the likes of Ty Cobb and John McGraw. In You Know Me Al, we follow Jack Keefe’s life on-field and off, via the letters Jack writes to his old chum Al in his home town of Bedford, Indiana.Ring Lardner was a Chicago sportswriter who covered the White Sox, and he brought an insider’s knowledge of clubhouse life together with his biting wit and gift for the vernacular to create a comic gem in You Know Me Al...

By: Lucian of Samosata (120—180)

Trips to the Moon by Lucian of Samosata Trips to the Moon

The endeavour of small Greek historians to add interest to their work by magnifying the exploits of their countrymen, and piling wonder upon wonder, Lucian first condemned in his Instructions for Writing History, and then caricatured in his True History, wherein is contained the account of a trip to the moon, a piece which must have been enjoyed by Rabelais, which suggested to Cyrano de Bergerac his Voyages to the Moon and to the Sun, and insensibly contributed, perhaps, directly or through Bergerac, to the conception of Gulliver’s Travels. The Icaro-Menippus Dialogue describes another trip to the moon, though its satire is more especially directed against the philosophers.

By: Elinore Pruitt Stewart (1878-1933)

Book cover Letters on an Elk Hunt

This is a sequel to Letters of a Woman Homesteader in which Elinore Rupert (Pruitt) Stewart describes her arrival and early years on a Burntfork Wyoming ranch in 1909-1913. The letters are written to her elderly friend, Mrs. Coney, in Denver. In the present collection of letters, Elinore describes a lively excursion on horseback and wagon into the Wyoming wilderness during July-October 1914. Her traveling companions are her husband “Mr. Stewart,” their three oldest children, and kind-hearted, opinionated neighbor Mrs...


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