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Summer Blogging: Letters and Life IV

kent_mobyOne of our important holdings within our Special Collections is our Rockwell Kent collection, which is detailed here (along with digital representation).  There will be a more detailed appreciation of Kent’s letters in a post soon, but along with acknowledging this collection this summer of blogging about letters, lets ask the question, why are letters collectible?  We have literally hundreds of published collections of letters, but as I’m fond of quipping, “We’ve yet to buy anyone’s collection e-mails.”  It’s not just that letters are a paper-based genre; a letter is a window on the soul precisely because the writer is getting out, but, at the same time, doesn’t expect any help with their escape.  This comes from the time a letter opens up, that is, the time needed for a reply.  What makes a letter a unique literary form, at least in part, is that a personal letter is an essay written in the tone of a conversation.  It is a confession, but one with all the component parts of an essay.  One of the most approachable literary forms, it is also, like cursive through which a letter might be made, polished.  This is one reason, anyway of why libraries are collectible and Kent’s correspondence will give us a good place to start in on the other reasons…

~ by pdoty on .

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