It is an epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entriesnewspaper clippings 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

1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

2. Lord of the Rings


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


Read the linked text.

Another example: Song of Kali

  1. What do you learn about Calcutta? Why does the person in the story want to ”expunge” it, do you think?
  2. Who is Kali?
  3. What is Calcutta like? Google for images and info and describe it in your own words.

6 reaktioner till “Documentary”

  1. [voice message]
    Hello Aisha.
    Me and Asher arrived in Armenia a few hours ago and we´re on our way to the hotel we´re staying at. I read a little about the hotel we´re staying at and I came across something very interesting and frightning. I read an article that said a family of two parents and five kids had been brutally murdered and burned up in one of the rooms. They never found out who the killer was and what their intentions were. Apperently, people that lived in that room heard high pitched laughter especially kids laughter, things get thrown on the floor during the nights and clothes goes missing.
    our time and explore Armenia. happend a few months ago according to the article but the boh of us are actually eager to get that room but at the same time are we scared to be haunted. Well, aside from that, Asher and I are gonna take our time to explore Armenia.
    Goodbye, Isabella.


  2. 3 may 20018 my trip to Dubai was amazing I got to meet a lot of people there, the weather was just amazing compared to home. one I was walking minding my own business when suddenly a thief came and took my bag and my phone out of nowhere. I was so worried and began to panic but then I started to think and I got an idea, the idea was to call the police but then I realize that I couldn’t call them because I got no phone so the panic started again. so I became depressed and went back home, on my way home I saw the police station with was exactly what I needed. I went inside and spoke to a policeman about what happened and he said that he said that they would help me and that I should stop worrying. I thanked him and went back home feeling happy again because I had faith in the police. Three days later I got an email from my laptop that the police found the thief but not my phone, I began to worry and asked: ”are you sure you guys search oh his pocket?” the police answered that the thief already sold the phone on a black market. At that point, I lost all hope in everything and got mad, so mad I packed my bags and went back to home country, from there I bout a new phone and was happy again


  3. Giza, 1st June, 1946. The expedition just reached pyramid. Will enter after we’ve set up camp and had good rest.

    June 2nd. We just entered the pyramid after a good night’s rest. The workers seemed hesitant upon entering the pyramid but a quick bribe and their fear disappeared. It seems that a lot of local superstition is based upon the tomb of Nyarlathotep. Regardless, it is of great importance that I find this tomb as it will help me greatly with my paper. We will soon reach the tomb but for now, we rest for a day inside.

    June 3rd. Just reached the tomb entrance. The doors are adorned with various jewels and minerals, decorating the vast area. Must take a picture for reference. One worker tried to escape last night, it seems that the fear caught up with them. Though I fail to understand what there is to be afraid of in this small, dark, passage. The worker said some queer things though, thing you don’t hear often. He kept going on about how ”the great one is coming”. He promptly fainted after rambling for a while. We left him behind for the time being with some rations and water so he doesn’t die when he wakes up.

    We had some difficulty opening the gate as it felt like it was jammed shut. I forced the others to refrain from breaking the door as it was extremely valuable both as research material and as an object of monetary value. Feel extremely excited about researching it. As long as that ass, Vernon doesn’t take over. It took some great convincing to send me here. Those old crooks at the University don’t trust a woman to do ”a man’s work”. Oh, please. Go choke on a strand of spaghetti, Vernon. Anyway, I’ll return to noting when the doors have been opened.

    Finally, after a few hours of elbow grease, we have successfully pried the door open. Nothing broke, and we’re damn lucky. The door is very brittle from what I’ve noticed and the minerals impressed on it are even more so. It’s splattered with multiple colors from the different rocks. The tomb itself was a great room filled with treasure. There was gold everywhere. In the middle, there was a raised pedestal with a decorated coffin of around 2 meters of length and 70 centimeters of width. It’s coloring has faded but it was noticable that it once had very vibrant colors. We had the gold coins and various other objects placed in the multitude of bags we brought with us. We must take the coffin with us so I can further examine it when we have returned to the university.

    Goddamit. GOD. FUCKING. DAMNIT. I knew we shouldn’t have BROUGHT THE WORKERS WITH US INSIDE. Those fuckers dropped the coffin as soon as the picked it up and to make it worse, it’s broken. We’ll have to see if what those fools broke can be fixed. Otherwise, I’m fucked. FUCKED I SAY!

    The workers who picked it up are unresponsive. They fell and started convulsing and now we have more fuckers to be worried about. We have to escort them out now. Get them to a hospital.

    How the fuck is this happening? This shouldn’t be possible. No. Damn. Way. A handful of workers had just dropped to the ground, convulsing. I ordered them to bring them out. So how the fuck are we back in the tomb? Did we walk in a circle? But that’s impossible. I’m sure we took the same way back.

    Right, everyone is becoming paranoid. We’ve been here for a while. Must make sure morale is high. But it’s dwindling, bit by bit. It seems as if no matter where we go, we end up back here in the tomb. Though it should be impossible. Decided to set up camp for today. Rest enough to try to leave tomorrow.

    Two of the workers were found dead when we woke up. It was…horrible to say the least. The scr- the screams woke us up. The bodies were contorted into various inhuman shapes as if the bones were broken in various places. The hearts were missing as well. We have decided to store the bodies in the corner for now. Even though it is inhumane, we can’t carry around dead weight. Literally.

    June 7. I think. It’s hard to keep track when you have no daylight. The bodies have disappeared and everyone is restless and paranoid. We can’t get out. I hear voices when I sleep. They…entice me. To think horrible things, to say…horrible things. I just hit one of the workers with a tool we brought with us and I felt… Good. Though it disturbs me. I can’t turn it off. I can’t turn it off I can’t turn it off I can’t turn it off I can’t turn it off icantturnitofficantturnitofficantturnitoff

    It’s finally over. They’re all asleep, in a better place. They have ascended to the field of reeds. The workers. The helpers. My friends. No. My sacrifice. I didn’t feel anything. Not a single thing as I ran a blade through the their chests. The blood is everywhere. But there is a good thing in this. The voices. They stopped. It’s finally quiet. I can finally res-


  4. Song of Kali
    1. That person meant that the place is so horrible and tragic or too evil to exist, that it should disappear completely. It should not exist that’s what he meant with “it should be expunged”.
    2. Kali is a “god”. Part of religion people believed in Callcuta. Cult of Kapalikas worshiped Kali
    3. is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River approximately 75 kilometres (47 mi) west of the border with Bangladesh, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India’s oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port. The city is widely regarded as the ”cultural capital” of India, and is also nicknamed the ”City of Joy”.[1][2][3] According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the seventh most populous city; the city had a population of 4.5 million, while the suburb population brought the total to 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India.
    By the 1850s, Calcutta had two areas: White Town, which was primarily British and centred on Chowringhee and Dalhousie Square; and Black Town, mainly Indian and centred on North Calcutta.


  5. Song of Kali
    1. They told, “it should be expunged” which they mean, that the place is so horrible and too evil to exist and that it should disappear completely.

    2. Kali is some kind of god/leader. Which the people in Calcutta believe in. ”Cult of Kapalikas worshipped Kali”.

    3. Calcutta Is the capital of an Indian state in West Bengal. It’s ”located on the east bank of the Hooghly River approximately 75 kilometres west of the border with Bangladesh”, It’s also east Indias educational, commercial and cultural centre. Calcutta is regarded as the ”cultural capital” of India. according to wikapedia in 2015 had Calcutta a population of 4.2 million, while the suburb population brought the total to 13.8 million.


  6. December 12, 1873
    Dear diary,
    I know that I haven’t written in you in long, and I apologize deeply for that.
    But these kinds of feelings I have, I can’t keep within me, for I am in love.
    The boy with the mocha eyes has left me in awe, I am completely mad for him.
    I will speak to him tomorrow. Do not worry, dear diary, I will keep you updated.

    December 17, 1873
    Dear diary,
    I am sorry for not telling you how it went straight away, but I have been filled with joy!
    The boy I love, loves me back. He put his lips against mine already that night, and I now know what happiness tastes like. I will meet him again in an hour, and I can’t wait to feel his arms around me.
    Thanks dear diary, for always listening.

    July 23, 1875
    Hello again, dear diary.
    It has been a while, a while indeed. Last time I wrote to you, I was filled with euphoria. And today, it is quite the opposite. Dysphoria is pumping through my veins, and I cannot stop crying. My boy with the mocha eyes loves another girl. He told me so. He loved me for a year and a half. A year, seven months and four days, to be exact. I cannot be happy without him.
    Because of that, this is the last thing I will write in you, for I will not live to see another day.
    Thanks dear diary, for always listening.



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