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ABOUT THIS BOOK

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FORMAT: Paperback
ISBN: 9780857868619
RRP: £9.99
PAGES: 464
PUBLICATION DATE: July 3, 2014

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To the Letter: A Curious History of Correspondence

By (author) Simon Garfield

Every letter contains a miniature story, and here are some of the greatest. From Oscar Wilde’s unconventional method of using the mail to cycling enthusiast Reginald Bray’s quest to post himself, Simon Garfield uncovers a host of stories that capture the enchantment of this irreplaceable art (with a supporting cast including Pliny the Younger, Ted Hughes, Virginia Woolf, Napoleon Bonaparte, Lewis Carroll, Jane Austen, David Foster Wallace and the Little Red-Haired Girl). There is also a brief history of the letter-writing guide, with instructions on when and when not to send fish as a wedding gift. And as these accounts unfold, so does the tale of a compelling wartime correspondence that shows how the simplest of letters can change the course of a life.

Reviews of To the Letter: A Curious History of Correspondence

* Garfield being Garfield, there's a rich cull of curiosities … A shining success — John Carey The Sunday Times * Wonderful … One of the things which makes this book so attractive is Garfield's enjoyment of his subject. He writes with a winning informality and freshness — Diana Athill Literary Review * A wonderfully elegant history Observer * A brilliant account of a lost art … funny letters, sad letters, pompous letters, famous letters, farewell letters, saucy letters, letters from soldiers and letters from swindlers: they are all here — Craig Brown Mail on Sunday * A hymn of praise to twenty centuries of letter-writing. It spurs a desire to reach once more for the pad and envelope…Garfield's knowledge is wide and his enthusiasm matchless — Libby Purves The Times * Excellent, amusing and moving Financial Times * Superb Independent on Sunday * Garfield is an elegant and perceptive writer … his judgment is immaculate Daily Mail * To the Letter thrills and engages most when it cuts to the core of human relationships, showing personalities pinned to the page in all their painful imperfections Observer * Delightful Daily Mail * An informative lament for the mail Metro * From wooden tablets dug up at the ancient Roman garrison Vindolanda, UK, to the epistolary gems of novelist Virginia Woolf, this is a billet-doux to two millennia of the impassioned, often life-changing power of private correspondence Nature * Garfield has a keen eye for what makes a good letter … he is a knowledgeable guide to his subject Scotsman * A Paean to the dying art of letter writing…fascinating…moving and illuminating Herald Scotland * Wonderful Woman & Home * A love letter to what is already an outdated mode of communication … Cantering through two millennia of letters with Garfield as our guide, it's fun to spot the things that never change Guardian * A well-timed, engrossing study of epistolary art through the ages … an inspiring read The Lady * Stuffed with marvellous anecdotes, fascinating historical tidbits and excerpts from epistolary masters both ancient and modern … infectious New York Times * An addictive account of a dying artform Red * A book to recommend Spectator * A shining tribute to the dying art of letter writing The Sunday Times * In digging through two centuries of letters, Garfield unearths a heap of epistolary ruins … fascinating … Quirky stories abound Washington Post * Garfield has impressively condensed 2000 years and a lot of wonderful characters into an accessible, comprehensively-researched book bubbling with his customary wit and joy in the absurd … A fascinating book We Love This Book * An endlessly informative book from one of Britain's best non-fiction writers Reader's Digest * Fresh and informative throughout. It would be difficult for anyone to read this book without finding something they enjoyed or found incredibly interesting. I would recommend this book to anybody Literature Works * Wonderful … vivid, witty and moving Sunday Business Post * Utterly compelling and surprisingly moving … Full of fascinating facts and wonderful stories Sunday Business Post

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