Epistolary novel

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An epistolary novel, (from epistle, a long, formal letter) is one in which the story unfolds through a series of letters as opposed to a long narrative. The "letters" may take related forms, such as diary entries, and may be accompanied by other supporting documents such as newspaper articles.

One of the earliest writers of epistolary novels was Samuel Richardson (1689-1761), whose Pamela, Clarissa and Sir Charles Grandison are leading examples of the genre. Tobias Smollett (1721-1771) also used the form in his final novel, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker.

Jane Austen's little-known work Lady Susan, C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters and Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Color Purple. are examples.