Mary Davys: Familiar Letters betwixt a Gentleman and a Lady

(1337 words)
  • Martha F. Bowden

While most of her work makes adroit use of embedded letters, Familiar Letters Betwixt a Gentleman and a Lady is Mary Davys’s only wholly epistolary novel. The short work consists of a correspondence between two friends, Artander, the gentleman, who has gone into the countryside, and Berina, the lady, who has remained in London. Before the novel begins, they have promised each other that they will remain on a strict basis of friendship – no courtship, no love talk, just frank discussion. The promise proves more than Artander can manage, to Berina’s intense annoyance.

The names suggest the romance tradition (there are no surnames) and Artander’s countryside is a generic amalgam of characters and …

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Bowden, Martha F.. "Familiar Letters betwixt a Gentleman and a Lady". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 August 2005
[, accessed 07 July 2015.]