First and foremost, I need to offer a huge apology to you for not corresponding with you earlier. There has been a hiatus of a good few months in the publication of Book Lovers Club News and only I am to blame. Without attempting an excuse, let me simply say that I have been hunting for a series of topics that would make interesting and valuable read to you. I have finally decided to delve on the various forms of Prose for the next few issues. Here are the few prose types that I have short listed for discussion: Letters, Diaries, Novels, Novellas, Short Stories and Plays.
In this issue of the Book Lovers Club News, I have some exciting snippets on Literary Letters as a Prose type.
The Literary Letter
The Literary Letter is primarily a personal letter that is published because it offers fascinating insights into the writer’s life or times. Many letters written by well known authors during the World Wars have been preserved because they throw poignant light on the sufferings of war. Love letters written by famous poets and novelists have their own literary value and make a delightful read.
It is often argued these days, that letter writing is a dying form of art. The ubiquitous email has replaced the traditional handwritten paper letter. Mails are delivered almost instantly; communication has become a lot more frequent, even frenzied. No one has the time or patience for a long drawn emotional epistolary. While the debate rages on, let us take heart in the fact that efforts are now being made to preserve the email correspondence of famous writers.
Here is a brief mention of some famous literary letters:
- CICERO AND CAESAR: A FATAL FRIENDSHIP [A SERIES OF LETTERS]
- CHARLES LAMB, AFTER HIS SISTER MARY HAS MURDERED THEIR MOTHER, BEGS SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE FOR THE CONSOLATIONS OF RELIGION [AN EXCHANGE OF LETTERS]
- WILLIAM BLAKE HAS AN APOCALYPTIC VISION OF ETERNITY [A LETTER TO JOHN FLAXMAN]
- ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, IN ROLLICKING VEIN,TELLS A FRIEND THAT WRITING TREASURE ISLAND IS "AWFUL FUN"[A LETTER TO WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY]
- RUDYARD KIPLING TELLS WILLIAM JAMES WHAT IS WRONG WITH AMERICAN CIVILIZATION
- RABINDRANATH TAGORE, REAFFIRMING HIS FAITH IN THE MORAL GREATNESS OF MAN, PAYS TRIBUTE TO MAHATMA GANDHI [A LETTER TO C. F. ANDREWS
…the list is endless.
Book Review Circle gossip
In this section, let me disclose a section of the letter that was used as evidence to prosecute Oscar Wilde on charges of obscenity. This letter was written to Lord Alfred Douglas in 1893.
“My Own Boy,
Your sonnet is quite lovely, and it is a marvel that those red-roseleaf lips of yours should be made no less for the madness of music and song than for the madness of kissing. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I know Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days. Why are you alone in London, and when do you go to Salisbury? Do go there to cool your hands in the grey twilight of Gothic things, and come here whenever you like. It is a lovely place and lacks only you; but go to Salisbury first.
Always, with undying love,
Book Review Circle suggested read:
A beautiful collection of famous and important letters:
A Treasury of the World's Great Letters from Ancient Days to Our Own Time: Containing the Characteristic and Crucial Communications, and Intimate Exchanges and Cycles of Correspondence, of Many of the Outstanding Figures of World History, and Some Notable Contemporaries by M. Lincoln Schuster.
Test your Literary Quotient
See if you know answers to the following
- Who sent the first E-mail Message?
- How Do You Spell E-mail? Is it e-mail, email, Email, E-Mail, E-mail or eMail?
- What is the @ Sign Called?
Do write in to me at email@example.com with your comments, updates and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.
- Ray Tomlinson is credited as being the first person to hit send on a network e-mail message.
- The Associated Press Stylebook still insists on seeing the word as an abbreviation of “electronic mail” and therefore sticks with e-mail.
- In English, “@” is commonly known as the “at” sign. Other languages have much more poetic ways to describe the symbol, many of them animal-related. In Dutch, it’s apestaart — “monkey’s tail.” In Swedish, it’s snabel-a — “A” with an elephant’s trunk. And in Italian, it’s chiocciolina — small snail.
Ok. I will leave you to munch on that.
Happy reading till we meet again.