My project shows how 15th-century humanists shaped their letter collections into autonomous narratives. I analyse the specific signposts that guide readers through a fragmented collection to an understanding of its overarching structure. Such a reading destabilises our current notion of these letters as historical accounts of their author’s personal experiences or intellectual development. The result is a new awareness of their multi-layered and fascinating literary character, which often tries to fashion the reader as much as it shapes an image of the author. The Epistole of Marsilio Ficino are central to my study, which puts them in the context of other authors such as Angelo Poliziano, Bartolommeo Fonzio and others.