Even though we have already utilized and got used to the electronic mail, we are not yet fully recognized its meaning. Literary interest in the correspondence has also turned to Email, and produced so-called “e-epistolary” novels. Epistolarity, or the theory of epistolary novels deliberated by Janet Gurkin Altman, is now discussed in the broader milieu of the letter including the media and the post system, in which the concept of letter could be emulated with literature itself. In this context, this paper explores epistolarity of Email, analyzing seven Email novels. Even though these works are eager to seize the idiosyncrasy of the new medium, they are not really successful in realizing their own characteristics. But every work struggles with the intrinsic problems of digital writing and mail by seeing beyond virtual images, and sets up Epistolarity of Email as an intriguingly cutting-edge issue of the time. Not only does each work involve the questions of media and communication, but it also foregrounds the difficulties of the digital culture. Esoteric and enigmatic features of the Email system remind us of the radical postal ghost, the media noise, or the intrinsic problems of communication and knowing. It is in fact those ghosts who haunt the Email epistolary novels. First, after a brief history of Email, the literature-oriented criticism of Email is surveyed. The most significant critic is Jacques Derrida, who has introduced the philosophical concept of the post into the theory of the letter. Derrida does not directly discuss Email, but already sees through to the essential question of archiving with regard to Internet and digital communication. Also the meaning of a significant figure of the media “ghost” is examined. Then the paper analyzes seven Email novels: Exegesis (1997), The Metaphysical Touch (1998), e (2000), Love Virtually (2006), Who Moved My Black Berry (2006), Eleven (2006), and an illustrated storybook The Venetian's Wife (1996), and concludes that they are more or less haunted by epistolary ghosts that epitomize the monstrocity of digital media.
ルイザ・メイ・オルコットは児童文学作家，家庭小説作家として知られているが，成人を対象とした，社会問題について考察した作品もある．そうした社会的な問題を扱った作品のひとつである，Work: A Story of Experience (1873) はオルコット自身の様々な仕事経験を通じて，仕事の価値を描いている．しかしながら，オルコットにとって主たる職業で，生計手段であったはずの仕事である「作家業」はWork: A Story of Experience において取り上げられていない．本研究はオルコットにとって「作家」という仕事が複雑な性質を持っていたことに焦点を当て，Work: A Story of Experience における「作家業」の不在の意味を分析するものである．この小説が人間にとって理想的な仕事像を描いたものであるにもかかわらず，作家という仕事はその複雑さゆえに理想の仕事として位置づけられなかったことを述べる．