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Love Letters: 2000 Years of Romance (hardback)

Published Date:
October 2011
British Library
Bibliographic Details:
Hardback, 128 pages, 210 x 148mm, 60 colour illustrations
Andrea Clarke
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Love letters have been collected and lovingly transcribed to produce this wonderfully romantic collection from some of Britain's greatest writers and historic figures. Over the ages handwritten love letters have facilitated some of the most intimate exchanges between people. The words of love letters allow us insights into the private relationships of people across centuries, cultures and continents. While many anthologies of love letters exist, a book reproducing actual love letters in the author’s own hand has not previously been published and this book features letters from ancient Egypt to the present day. The original manuscripts of such letters grant the reader a direct connection with the person who actually wrote those personal words, sometimes many centuries ago.

This charming book reproduces and transcribes in full 25 love letters with engaging commentaries about the correspondents and their circumstances, as well as portraits of the writers and recipients. It includes letters by figures such as Henry VIII, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Horatio Lord Nelson, Oscar Wilde and Mervyn Peake.

`Letters that reveal raw emotions such as joyous or unrequited love are gold dust`
The Telegraph
`the first ever anthology to reproduce original love letters in each of the writers’ own hand.`
The Mail
`…physicality is the key virtue of the hand-written letter. Each is an act of intimacy and self-exposure. Tangible and personal between two people—unmediated by screens or servers, uncopied and unique.`
The Economist
'...a timely reminder in this age of texts and tweets: of the power of the love letter.'
Country Life
`Drawing on the British Library's archives, Clarke's selection ranges from ancient Egypt to 20th-century England. The facsimiles of the manuscripts are revealing: quirks of handwriting, deletions, tear stains, expressive doodles. Carefully constructed or dashed out in passionate haste, these intimate missives celebrate Eros in its many facets: infatuation, companionship, heartbreak and loss.`
The Lady Magazine

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