The thesis is about the importance of letter writing in Austen s novels. I focus on the following aspects: how the British postal services worked, the letters significance in people s social lives, and the 'rules' and conventions of the art of letter writing. After a historical account of the above-mentioned factors, I will use this background in a literary analysis where I take a closer look at how letter writing influences the plots in the novels; how it is used in character description, and how correspondence effects the characters social lives. Finally, I analyse four different letters to see how they reflect the letter writing 'rules' of the time. A considerable part of the thesis will focus on gender roles related to letter writing both historically and in Austen s novels.