The Epistolary Novel in the Classics of Literature: The Precedent of the “Portuguese Letters” by Guilleragues and the “Letters from a Peruvian” by F. de Graffigny




epistolary novel, hoax, bestseller, French literature, Guilleragues, F. de Graffigny


The dynamics of the text’s stay in the circle of literary classics becomes clear only over time: the experience of epistolary novels of the Enlightenment is very indicative of many aspects of literary production. “Portuguese Letters” by Guilleragues (second half of the XVIIth century) and “Letters from a Peruvian” by F. de Graffigny (middle of the XVIIIth century) offer material for understanding the mechanisms of the novel’s timeless success. These texts have experienced powerful recognition, oblivion, and rediscovery throughout history. From the history of creation, genre canon, literary process to the system of motives, rhetoric, figures, and metaphors – everything in these works is a kaleidoscope of the widest readership. The extra-literary factors and intra-textual mechanisms of the two novels by Guilleragues and F. de Graffigny together shed light on the secret of the power of the work in the context of the classics of literature. At the same time, they encourage us to check the essence of such categories as author’s mystification, fictionality, mimeticity in the communication arch of an artistic work. The article reveals these questions, which allows us to introduce the “Portuguese Letters” of Guilleragues and the “Letters from a Peruvian” by F. de Graffigny into the circle of current issues of modern literary studies to fill the gap in Ukrainian literary studies around the theme of the formation, flowering, and power of the epistolary genre in the history of French literature.

Author Biography

Yuliia Pavlenko, Kyiv National Linguistic University

Докторка філологічних наук, доцентка

Кафедра теорії та історії світової літератури

Київський національний лінгвістичний університет

Вул. Велика Васильківська, 73, 03680, м. Київ, Україна


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How to Cite

Pavlenko, Y. “The Epistolary Novel in the Classics of Literature: The Precedent of the “Portuguese Letters” by Guilleragues and the ‘Letters from a Peruvian’ by F. De Graffigny”. Pitannâ lìteraturoznavstva, no. 107, June 2023, pp. 80-96, doi:10.31861/pytlit2023.107.080.



Literature: Markers of Success