Forms Used to Convey Reported Speech in French Epistolary Novel


  • Olga Rogoza Kyiv National Linguistic University, Ukraine



French epistolary novel, dialogue, direct speech, indirect speech, free indirect speech, reported speech.


The article is focused on the study of forms used to convey reported speech in the French epistolary novel of the 18th–20th centuries. The study is based on the novels Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Mémoires de deux jeunes mariées by Honoré de Balzac, and Les jeunes filles by Henry de Montherlant, which are prominent examples of the epistolary novel of the respective epochs. Proceeding from duality of the epistolary novel, i.e., a combination of the form of a letter and
the genre of the novel, the French epistolary novel is defined by its special structure and composition, which determine perception of the information delivered in the novel. The form that conveys reported speech is aligned with writer’s intention. A descriptive variant of presenting dialogues prevails, while the use of direct speech in decisive moments of narration results from the pursuit of credibility. When the credibility is not more important, the reported speech is used to describe the characters and cover their characterisations. Indirect speech is used in an epistolary novel more often, but free indirect speech is virtually absent, which is explained by the absence of narrative speech that is usually interpreted via free indirect speech.