Friday, 12 September 2008

Love Letters of Great Men

I first heard of this book when it was featured on the Sex and The City movie. I thought, that sounds like a mighty interesting read. I went to my nearest bookshop and I asked behind the desk if they had the book. The guy directed me to a girl who had seen the movie. She directed me to the poetry department, who directed me to the internet, which informed me that the book didn't exist. I then had to tell all three people who had helped that I had been duped along with apparently hundreds of others who had searched for the book.

Imagine my surprise when this week, I finished at my job and was presented with some gifts, among them being, this book. Not only was it an awesome leaving present, but a great read. According to sources, the book was published due to the immense interest sparked when a book of the same name and content was referred to by Carrie Bradshaw in the aforementioned Sex and the City.

I'll start by saying that I am not a mushy pile of chick flick stereotype.  I've never gotten a love letter. I don't claim to like soppy, over the top gestures; but these guys knew how to sweet talk a lady. You won't find 'txt me l8r, fancy a shag?' in these pages. Instead, passages like this, from Robert Browning to Elizabeth Barrett on their wedding day:

...When my heart is full it may run over; but the real fullness stays within...Words can never tell perfectly dear you are to me - perfectly dear to my heart and soul. I look back and in every one point, every word and gesture, every letter, every silence - you have been entirely perfect to me....

The book is comprised of letters from great (or at least, famous) men in history to their loves. A brief biography of each writer either confirms their devotion, or explains that their passion was fleeting, there was tragedy..etc. One letter is from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, and we all know how that turned out (spoiler alert: treason, incest, lost her head). Some of the letters are self centred, some quirky, and some heart wrenching. But all stir up a sense of the romance that we've lost in the age of text messaging and email. 

I'll leave you with this, used in the film and beautiful regardless; From Beethoven to his unnamed 'Immortal Beloved':

You - my Life - my All - Farewell. Oh, go on loving me - never doubt the faithfullest heart 
Of your beloved.

Ever thine,
Ever mine,
Ever ours.

Posted By: Cat

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