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The Hound of the Baskervilles

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Student Question

Why is The Hound of the Baskervilles considered an epistolary novel?

Expert Answers

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This particular story of Homes and Watson is considered epistolary because of the sections of the story that are told through letters or "epistles" from Watson as well as his diaries but generally addressed to Holmes as Holmes has sent Watson on ahead as he has pressing matters to take care of in London.

This technique is one that is attributed to Wilke Collins' influence on Arthur Conan Doyle as well as perhaps the style of Poe, both authors that Doyle was familiar with.  The technique was considered successful at creating a sense of familiarity and giving the reader a chance to be ahead of the characters.

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