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Letter In Literature

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#21 funkypeanut



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Posted 27 February 2012 - 18:11

The first book I ever read which was written in letter format was "Daddy Long Legs" by Jean Webster. I was about 12 when I read it and have been hooked on these letter type books ever since. It's about a girl in an orphanage. She has a benefactor who is paying for her education. In return she must write to him regularly.


I just finished reading this last week after seeing (again) the movie with Leslie Caron and Fred Astaire. I actually found the book much more entertaining, but the ending seemed much more rushed than in the film.

Someone mentioned Jane Austen upthread, but not Lady Susan, which is told entirely in letters. Dracula and Frankenstein both use letters and diaries. Wilkie Collins also liked this form, and I can recommend The Woman in White as a great, suspense-filled novel.

One of my lesser-known favorites is E.O. Parrot's The Dogsbody Papers, which traces European history through the documents of the fictional Dogsbody family, including lots of letters. Hilarious!

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#22 fncll


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Posted 04 April 2012 - 05:41

Continuing an earlier tangent.... I've slowly accumulated many volumes of letters, some of my favorites being the letters of Seneca, E. O. Wilson, Tolstoy, Robert Louis Stevenson, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Nabokov. I'm looking forward to the treasure trove of Joyce's letters that are becoming available as their copyright expires and Joyce's greedy ass of a son can't hide them any longer...
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#23 sidewinderwcc



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Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:31

My favorite book of all time is House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. IT is truly a remarkable book with a unique spin that was revolutionary when written. As a companion to the books plot, Danielewski also wrote a book called the Whalestoe Letters which is a book composed of letters written from the main character to his mother. It is amazing to read a book that is a page turner that is composed of entirely letters!

#24 eduardp


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Posted 30 April 2012 - 16:06

I really like/love Flaubert's letters. They are so sincere and they tell you so much about what writing is and they mirror him as a human with all his faults. Pity they are forgotten now.

#25 HandLikeAFist



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Posted 10 May 2012 - 22:58

A writer's collected letters is not the same thing as letters used in literature.

Let me think...

"One may as well begin with Helen's letters to her sister." Howard's End.

And of course, Richardson: both Pamela and Clarissa are entirely composed of letters, and none the easier to read because of that.

#26 Blade Runner

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 00:53

An Englishwoman's love letters (fiction)

#27 Alyssa_Eloise


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Posted 15 June 2012 - 16:35

My favorite is in Arthur Millers, The Crucible: the scene where John Proctor is signing the addmitance to witchcraft document, which saves his life, but kills his name. In English class once, we saw the movie version, and that scene was my favorite: there was so much tension, and a life at stake. In the end, he tears the document up, to save his name, and do the honest thing.

BTW: great topic!

Oh my gosh! Yes, one of my favorite pieces of American Literature. No not my name! I love how Arthur Miller used this play to escape the reality of the Red Scare. Although he was accused of being a Communist, he uses his literature to show the nonsensicality of society. (I may have made up a word...Oh well...)

#28 bjcmatthews


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Posted 11 July 2012 - 12:12

Dracula is an excellent story composed of letters/journal entries, although the noble/romantic personalities of the characters wore thin after I read it the second time.

My personal fave is THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE wherein the most significant twists of the plot are revealed in letter form, both post mortem the authors :D

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