Posts Tagged: letter writing

Simply and Swiftly

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In 1906, aged 21, D.H. Lawrence wrote to his future fiancée Louise Burrows with writing advice after reading an essay on art she’d sent to him. Among many other remarkable lines, the British author told Burrows that “[l]ike most girl writers you are wordy” and suggested not being “didactic; try and make things reveal their mysteries to you, then tell them over simply and swiftly, without exaggerating as I do.

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Dear Son or Daughter

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Here is the problem in writing letters to your kids—perhaps especially as a writer, who has arguably spent her entire professional life writing letters to everyone who isn’t her kids: How do you suddenly start writing in a grand literary fashion to two small people whom, heretofore, you pretty much have only talked to as follows: “Did you brush?” “Did you wash your hands?” “Did you put it in the hamper?” and “Don’t flush it before I can see it.”

Peep here for a meditation on writing letters to your little Yous, and to read missives sent from the likes of Fitzgerald, Vonnegut, and Sexton to their offspring.

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Friends Indeed

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It turns out that French poet Charles Baudelaire wasn’t very fond of his compatriot Victor Hugo. Despite having the novelist’s support when prosecuted after publishing Les Fleurs du Malthe poet may have secretly despised (or perhaps just envied) Hugo—in a newly discovered letter from Baudelaire to an unknown correspondent, he calls the writer “stupid” and an “idiot.”

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Darwin’s Penpal

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The Public Domain Review flips through Darwin’s unusual photo collection and his correspondence with neurologist James Crichton-Browne. The correspondence between Darwin and Crichton-Browne led Darwin to write The Expression of Emotions of Man and Animals. Darwin found Crichton-Browne’s help so invaluable that he even wanted to list the neurologist as the book’s co-author (an offer Crichton-Browne politely declined).

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