Epistolary Fiction in Europe, 1500-1850 innbundetEngelsk, 1999


Thomas O. Beebee examines epistolary fiction as a major phenomenon in Europe from the Renaissance to the mid-nineteenth century. His study is the first to consider epistolary fiction as a pan-European form of importance to all major European languages. It demonstrates that such fiction can be found everywhere, not just in texts aimed specifically at aesthetic consumption. Beebee begins with the premise that the letter was a Protean form which crystallized social relationships in a variety of ways, and that fictional uses of the letter appropriated the status and power the letter had already acquired from its established functions within other discursive practices. He discusses the letter-writing manual, self-referential aspects of the letter, news and travel reporting, the relationship between letters and gender, and historically specific use of epistolarity by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century authors including Austen, Balzac, and Dostoevsky. The book also offers a bibliography of major European epistolary fiction to 1850.