History’s hand-written love letters still meaningful

Love Letters of Great Men

Are hand written expressions of love a thing of the past? Even in this age of e-mails, tweets and texted “I luv u’s” surely there is still a place for a real note from the heart. A real love letter will touch the recipient in a way an electronic message never could. It will also be saved and re-read many times — something not likely to happen with electronic forms of love letters. This book reminds us that nothing can compare to the simple joy of sitting down to read a letter from the one you love.

There have been volumes of love letters of great men published, but this one is the collection of letters read by Carrie Bradshaw in the movie “Sex and the City.” Laura Weeks, owner of Vicksburg’s Lorelei Books, says readers rushed out to buy the book after the movie only to find this particular book didn’t exist. “St. Martin’s Press published it after book sellers reported the public demand for it,” she said. “Frankly, I would dump a man who text messaged me with deeply personal sentiments instead of putting pen to paper.”

She adds that although the book is not a recent release, it is more timely now than ever due to the decline in written correspondence.

The book contains some of history’s most romantic letters from the private papers of Beethoven, Mark Twain, Mozart and Lord Byron. For some of these great men love is a “delicious poison” (William Congreve); for others “a nice soft wife on a sofa with a good fire, books and music” (Charles Darwin). French writer Flaubert wrote that “love can penetrate the depths of one’s heart like a cooling rain.”

Every shade of love is in this timeless collection of letters from the exquisite eloquence of Oscar Wilde and the simple devotion of Robert Browning to the wonderfully modern misery of the Roman Pliny the Younger losing himself in work to forget how much he misses his beloved wife, Calpurnia. These letters show that men haven’t changed all that much over the past 2,000 years.

>> Love Letters of Great Men
By Ursula Doyle
St. Martin’s Press
$16.99 hardcover

— Lynn Lofton, mbj@msbusiness.com

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