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Summer Blogging: Life and Letters VI

BIG BOOKS OF LETTERS…some of our collections of published letters are, well, leviathan.  Saul Bellow: Letters is 552 pages worth of letters (excluding index and acknowledgements).  Herzog is, in contrast, 341 pages.  Volume One of The Letters of Robert Frost is 773 pages of letters, Volume Two is apparently still in the offing (our copy has a book plate dedicated to Ladd L. Young of the class of 1944).  Volume IV of Henry James: Letters (four!) is 784 pages–I have no idea what the four volume total is, but there is another multi volume collection from the University of Nebraska Press.  The point here being that this is illustrative of the place letters took in some people’s lives, writing letters was a significant self-exploration within their existence.  Secondly if one wanted to immerse oneself in the life of a letter writer some summer, collections are available to accommodate.  On page 512 in Henry James’ letters he writes to Bernard Shaw, I do such things because I happen to be a man of imagination and taste, extremely interested in life, and because the imagination, thus, from the moment direction and motive play upon it from all sides, absolutely insists on and incurably leads a life of its own, for which just this vivacity itself is its warrant.  Lost for the summer, indeed, in the best possible way.

~ by pdoty on .

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