Love Letters

2,000 Years of Romance

Edited by Andrea Clarke

Love Letters
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Edited by Andrea Clarke

Distributed for British Library

128 pages | 60 color plates | 5 3/4 x 8 1/4 | © 2011
Cloth $16.95 ISBN: 9780712358255 Published February 2012 For sale in North and South America only

 

Long before there were e-mail emoticons for love hearts and flirtatious text messages and photos sent via cell phone satellite, one had to actually try to articulate feelings of love and desire in real words and sentences. The love letter these days often seems like a lost art form, when even those of us who might wish to enclose sentiments in an envelope can turn to the assistance of Hallmark cards. But love letters are not just the made-up stuff of novels; once upon a time handwritten letters facilitated some of the most intimate exchanges between lovers.
 
This beautiful book from the British Library celebrates two thousand years of love letter history, from ancient Egypt to the present day. Included here are facsimile reproductions of twenty-five letters, which are fully transcribed along with engaging commentaries about the correspondents and their circumstances and portraits of the writers and recipients. Love Letters includes correspondence by figures such as Henry VIII, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Admiral Nelson, Oscar Wilde, and Mervyn Peake. The words of love letters allow us insights into the private relationships of people across centuries, cultures, and continents, and the original manuscripts of such letters grant the reader a direct connection with the author of such personal words.
 
A perfect gift for any beloved, this charming book may inspire many to pick up a pen and record some passionate missives of their own.

 

Contents
Introduction

Letter from Isaias to her husband, Hephaestion, 29 August 168 BC
Margery Brews to John Paston III, February 1477
Prince Arthur to Katherine of Aragon, 5 October 1499
Pierre Sala, Petit Livre d’Amour (letter to Marguerite Bullioud),  c.1500
Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, love notes in a Book of Hours, c.1528
Katherine Parr to Henry VIII, July 1544
Earl of Essex to Elizabeth I, 18 October 1591
Sir Thomas Baskerville to his wife, Mary, 21 August 1595
Thomas Knyvett to his wife, Katherine, 26 November 1621
George Villiers to James I, 29 August 1623
Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple, 15/16 October 1653
Sir John Fenwick to his wife, Mary, January 1697
Vanessa [Esther van Homrigh] to Jonathan Swift, 1714
Horatio Nelson’s last letter to Lady Emma Hamilton, 19 October 1805
Charles Dickens to his future wife, Catherine Hogarth, May 1835
Charlotte Brontë to Professor Constantin Héger, 18 November 1844
Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, De Profundis, January 1897
Gordon Bottomley to Emily Burton, 17 October 1899
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet 43 from Sonnets from the Portuguese, c.1846
Christina Rossetti, Valentine poem to her mother, 1884
Rupert Brook to Cathleen Nesbitt, 1913
Roger Keyes to his wife, Eva, 10 December 1914
Mervyn Peake to his wife, Maeve Gilmore, Early 1940s
Ted Hughes, c.1980
Ralph Richardson to his wife, Meriel Forbes, 1964–70

Picture Credits
Acknowledgements
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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