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Novels starting with the claim that the story has been “found”



Posted May 7, 2016 by

Novels starting with the claim that the story has been “found”

Novels that start with a preface by the narrator or the author claiming that they have found the story that follows in a lost notebook or in a book at an exotic location or in an ancient manuscript etc.

Posted by Lale on 9/2/2015, 9:46:02

Can you think of books that start by the narrator’s (or author’s) claim that he/she has found a book/a letter/ a manuscript which contained the story to follow, as in The Name of he Rose?

Orhan Pamuk has done this in one of his books (I believe it was White Castle) but then again he is the self-professed “Umberto Eco of Turkey.”

This semester I am taking Early English Literature and one of the books we are reading is Thomas Lodge’s A Margarite of America. The author prefaces the book by saying he has found a book in Brazil (he did travel to the new world with an exploratory mission). Much has been made about this. I wanted to provide other examples of such introductions but I can’t think of any books other than The Name of the Rose.



Posted by Steven on 9/2/2015, 11:23:37, in reply to “The Name of the Rose”

There is, obviously, The Manuscript Found at Saragossa by Jan Potocki. (I read it last year.) Melmoth the Wanderer by Maturin is a found manuscript. The Turn of the Screw also has a narrator reading a manuscript. There are many more “found manuscripts” in early gothic and science fiction works, but most of them are probably too obscure for your purposes. I’m reading one now called Across the Zodiac by Percy Greg. It is the third novel I’ve read in the last couple of years which begins with a manuscript found inside a metal container that was embedded in a meteorite.

saragossa  zodiac


Posted by Steven on 9/2/2015, 11:28:45, in reply to “Re: The Name of the Rose”

Here is a dissertation on the “discovered manuscript trope” in Gothic fiction.



Posted by Joffre on 9/2/2015, 14:19:17, in reply to “Re: The Name of the Rose”

Off the top of my head: Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, The Handmaid’s Tale, Lolita might fit.

Frankenstein is Victor’s story relayed by Captain Walton.


Posted by Sterling on 9/2/2015, 15:02:58, in reply to “Re: The Name of the Rose”

Oddly, The Manuscript Found in Saragossa was the first example that came to my mind.

Check out the “Fiction” section of this Wikipedia page. Several are not what you’re looking for, but there are some good ideas here:



Posted by guillermo maynez on 10/2/2015, 14:19:38, in reply to “Re: The Name of the Rose”

“Don Quixote” is supposedly, from chapter IX on, a translation by Cervantes of an earlier manuscript by one Cide Hamete Benengeli, a fictional character.





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