Elegance is a refinement of simplicity rather than a flourish of excess. Elegance prompts wit rather than comedy, sentiment rather than sentimentality. Such restraint is the lens through which all the diffuse sensations of desire are focused into the flame of passion.
Posts Tagged: letter writing
All that is nonsense though. Write what you like. If you haven’t facts make up with lyricism.
In 1892, Anton Chekhov sent a letter to V. A. Tihonov including a fictitious 200-word bio. 123 years later to the day, the letter has been translated into English by Constance Garnett over at the Paris Review....more
For the Tin House blog, Heather Hartley spends the holiday season perusing letters between T.S. Eliot and Groucho Marx. Through their love of “good cigars” and a “weakness for making puns,” Eliot and Marx show a humorous affection that inspires Hartley to do some letter writing of her own....more
I imagined if I had been writing in the 1950s and 1960s, I, too, may have been writing for the pulps. I got the sense that [Jim] saw me as a kindred spirit, that I reminded him of himself as a young(ish) pulp writer trying to find success in an uncertain industry.
For The Millions, Nathan Scott McNamara tracks John Barth and John Updike’s friendship through a series of letters written over the authors’ celebrated careers. While early letters show a relationship of admiration and respect, differences in philosophy and style led to in an increasingly “thorny” rapport in later years....more
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....more
Most literate adults can tell e-disaster stories: information sent to the wrong recipient or group, or discovered by the wrong person, or issued in careless wording that gave offense, or did real damage. Some of these stories are funny. Some end marriages, families, careers.
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....more
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 Mal, the 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.”...more
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)....more
Paper notes and postcards have all but joined rotary phones and singing telegrams in the history books of communication. Email and text messages might have the advantage of speed (and sometimes playful naughtiness), but neither can compensate for the tangible quality of a physical letter....more
Fellow Letters in the Mail enthusiasts, take note of this forthcoming exhibit devoted to the USPS as a public service. The multi-media exhibition, Post Haste, will grace Oakland’s MacArthur B Arthur Gallery from May 4 to 28.
“Post Haste is, of course, as much a critical artistic endeavor as it is a eulogy to a public institution, letter writing and tangible human exchange.”...more