Eulogy for the Love Letter


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. Writing for Vogue, Rumpus contributor Jami Attenberg reminisces on the magic of love letters:

Sadly, e-mail has triggered the decline of the handwritten note; I have seen its near-disappearance in my lifetime. I do not mourn the death of the printed letter in a snobby, East Coast, patrician way—“Where have our manners gone?”—but because I love objects, I love paper, and I love something that I can hold to my chest for a moment.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →