The epistolary novel shares, at the turn of the Enlightenment, the crisis which invests the work and opens the literary genres caused by the erosion of notions of totality and normative relevance, crisis which is expressed in the poetics of ruins inaugurated by Diderot and the aesthetics of the fragment, theorized by Friedrich Schlegel and the Jena school. From that time, the work is no longer seen as something accomplished and immutable, but as the result of a review process theoretically infinite, a state among others, whose publication would be the result of a combination of circumstances, an "accident" rather than the precise will of an author. Far from representing the last act which completes it, the work identifies itself more and more will all stages of revision contributing to its transformation. It is a matter of modern concept affirming the problematic nature of the work: the illegitimacy of its origin, its impossible completion. The incompleteness is one of the keywords of modernity, the "open form" being felt as a guarantee against the untruth threatening the myth of totality. The fragmentary choice is the turntable around which the epistolary novel rotates at the turn of the Enlightenment. A choice which cannot in any case be limited to a simple technicality, but which reproduces a mental attitude, a new thinking approach. A revolution, according to Michel Foucault, for whom "the last years of the eighteenth century were broken by a discontinuity similar to that which broke in the early seventeenth century, the Renaissance thought; [.] knowledge residing in a new space.
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