19th century literature, some samples

  1. Short intro on Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde

It is an epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entriesnewspaperclippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic ”documents” such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use.

Key concept: suspension of disbelief, byronic hero

2. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

3. Slow paced and fast-paced epistolary narrative


by Bram Stoker

Chapter 1

Jonathan Harker’s Journal

3 May. Bistritz. __Left Munich at 8:35 P. M, on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible.

The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East; the most western of splendid bridges over the Danube, which is here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish rule.

We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh. Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem. get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called ”paprika hendl,” and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians.

I found my smattering of German very useful here, indeed, I don’t know how I should be able to get on without it.

Having had some time at my disposal when in London, I had visited the British Museum, and made search among the books and maps in the library regarding Transylvania; it had struck me that some foreknowledge of the country could hardly fail to have some importance in dealing with a nobleman of that country.

I find that the district he named is in the extreme east of the country, just on the borders of three states, Transylvania, Moldavia, and Bukovina, in the midst of the Carpathian mountains; one of the wildest and least known portions of Europe.

I was not able to light on any map or work giving the exact locality of the Castle Dracula, as there are no maps of this country as yet to compare with our own Ordance Survey Maps; but I found that Bistritz, the post town named by Count Dracula, is a fairly well-known place. I shall enter here some of my notes, as they may refresh my memory when I talk over my travels with Mina.

In the population of Transylvania there are four distinct nationalities: Saxons in the South, and mixed with them the Wallachs, who are the descendants of the Dacians; Magyars in the West, and Szekelys in the East and North. I am going among the latter, who claim to be descended from Attila and the Huns. This may be so, for when the Magyars conquered the country in the eleventh century they found the Huns settled in it.

I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting. (Mem., I must ask the Count all about them.)

I did not sleep well, though my bed was comfortable enough, for I had all sorts of queer dreams. There was a dog howling all night under my window, which may have had something to do with it; or it may have been the paprika, for I had to drink up all the water in my carafe, and was still thirsty. Towards morning I slept and was wakened by the continuous knocking at my door, so I guess I must have been sleeping soundly then.

I had for breakfast more paprika, and a sort of porridge of maize flour which they said was ”mamaliga”, and egg-plant stuffed with forcemeat, a very excellent dish, which they call ”impletata”. (Mem.,get recipe for this also.)

I had to hurry breakfast, for the train started a little before eight, or rather it ought to have done so, for after rushing to the station at 7:30 I had to sit in the carriage for more than an hour before we began to move.

It seems to me that the further east you go the more unpunctual are the trains. What ought they to be in China?


You are going to write a page from an epistolatory novel. You can be inspired by how Stoker and Tolkien does it.

In an epistolary novel there is often details such as dates, places, or equivalent, and the style is similar to that of which a tv reporter would use.

Post as a comment.

Suggestions for setting and mystery:

  • The tomb of Nyarlathotep in Egypt has been found
  • Numerous bodies are found in Calcutta, the thugee cult of Kali has returned?
  • Your own

Another example: Song of Kali

3 reaktioner till “19th century literature, some samples”

  1. Following the second incident at Blackwood-mountain, a transcription of the attempted calls made from the victims has been compiled as evidence.

    Alexandra Clarke, 18
    Friday 20 February, 12:34, To :”ICE Mom”
    ”Hi, mom. I’m sitting on the bus with Sam and Charlie now, so it’s going to be a while but at least we’re on our way! (Nervous laughter) I’m pretty excited, or at least I’m trying to be. Everyone’s a bit jittery with last year and all, but it’s going to go swell. The reception is pretty shitty up there and- (presumably looks at her phone) – ah, it’s already dead. Well, I talked to dad before I left, so you’ll just have to get this when I’m on my way back. Love you, bye!”

    Friday 20 February, 20:02, To: “ICE Mom”
    “Hi, again. Just so you know, we did not crash or fall out of the lift. I promise to call again when we’re on our way down, to spare you some anxiety. Bye!”

    Friday 20 February, 22:18, To: “ICE Mom”
    “(Sobbing) D-dad? (Sniveling inhale) I’m- I- Oh god… Josh is dead, I- Chris killed him, but it wasn’t his fault! There is some, some psycho up here and I don’t know where everybody- I’ve gotta go. Send the cops. (The following is hard to discern, but is believed to be: ‘Please god- Get the ca-‘ *further sobbing*)”


  2. June 6th 1944
    It was a long battle, many casualties, thousands of men lost. The aeroplanes flew in before us dropping many more soldiers behind enemy territory. God protect those brave souls. The beach and water is colored with the crimson red. You can hear the agonizing screams from the medical tent, most of them losing a limb or two. That doctor Mitchell is a miracle worker, good fellow too.
    June 10th 1944
    Heading in to the mainland, beautiful weather we have today, sunny with no clouds as far as the eye can see. Many of the men already miss home, especially the young ones. Keep finding abandoned Nazi camps, picked up and leaved pretty much. The boys are in a good mood, even though we lost three of ours; they probably don’t want to think about it. Better to stay positive.
    June 15th 1944
    We came across a village today. The town was almost abandoned, there was a family of four still in one of the destroyed houses, we showed them a way to camp nearby so they would have a place to sleep and eat. Don’t think the superiors will be to mad at us.
    June 29th 1944
    We had a bump in with a small group of Nazis, they were outnumbered, gave us a good fight with their machinegun before the retreated and disappeared. Mack got scraped on his left thigh, nothing serious luckily.


  3. 30th of August 1954

    Nothing seems right anymore after that Mrs Daniels came to the hotel. Weird sounds, flickering lights and odd voices from her room late at night. I am used to a silent hotel, people coming and going. Not staying for more than just a couple of days. But Mrs Daniels haven´t left her room for more than a week… It´s so odd… How will I ever be able to get a nice, good sleep when I just worries about what is wrong with her?

    15th of September 1954

    It´s just getting weirder and weirder. Today was the first day that she left her room. She went down to the restaurant for the ordinary breakfast, and she behaved… how should I but it… “Normal?”. But what wasn’t normal was what happened when the house keeping where going to clean Mrs Daniels room. When he went in to room he was “slapped in the face by a so gross smell that he almost fell backwards”. But as it was his duty to clean the room he continued in to the room, and the whole floor where covered with mouldy leaves. But, as the farmer boy the house keeping was, he didn’t think it was from the leaves that the smell came from. When he came close to the bathroom door, which were closed, he could sense that the smell grew. When he was so close that he could reach out and open the door, he was stopped by Mrs Daniels, who came rushing in to the room and threw the house keeping backwards. He fell, but he was fast up on his feet, because Mrs Daniels where furious, screamed that he couldn´t just stomp in to her room without her acknowledge. He tried to tell her that he worked for the hotel, but she wouldn’t listen to him. She started to scream odd words at him and began to ran at him, which made him turn and race out of the room, down the stairs and directly to me.
    After this I can´t let her stay in my hotel if she is going to behave like this, but I can´t throw her out either… This is going to be a tough one…

    17th of November 1954

    Now it has been almost two months Mrs Daniels moved in to my hotel. And yes, I say “moved in” because I can´t make her leave, even if I want it so badly. Tomorrow the police is going to come here to force her to leave. I couldn’t see another way to make her go, because all my efforts have been for nothing, in fact I think that she hasn’t even noticed me when I´ve talked to her about leaving. …



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