In the 18century the Epistulary novel arrived in Europe because long letters were considerated important for the comunication.
The first international succes is "Lettres persones",a philosophical novel by Montesquieu.
The epistolary novel shows in fact a variety of contents:
-novel based on unhappy love like Goethe and Foscolo's novel
-novel whit strong social tones like novel by Richardson
The epistolary novel presents a great tecnical variety.We may distinguish between "a single-point-of-view" epistolary novel or "a composite-point-of-view" epistolary novel.(difference is in a one or more correspondents)
Also importanto is the role of EDITOR who pretends to have found the letters and presents them to the pubblic.
Samuel Richardson(1689-1761) was the first writer who drammatize letter-writing.He uses many devices for making his letters lively and intensly dramatic,as if they were written to the moment.Such is the dramatic, or melodramatic power of Richarson's novels that letters in them seem to have a life of their own:they are interrupted,idden,lost,found,stolen,given back,counterfeited.
Society in Epistolary novel
The epistolary novel served a dual purpose:
-On the one hand, writer found in letters the ideal for giving their view of man and society
-On the other hand, became the means of psichological analysis of characters.
(In this Richardson was the first acclaimed master and his lesson was soon followed by other European writers.