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LITERARY STYLE INSPIRATION: THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN

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ROLLING WITH JAMES JOYCE ON AN IRISH HILL

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ODE TO THE BOOKISH GIRLS

Letters

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Let us consider letters–how they come at breakfast, and at night, with their yellow stamps and their green stamps, immortalized by the postmark–for to see one’s own envelope on another’s table is to realize how soon deeds sever and become alien. Then at last the power of the mind to quit the body is manifest, and perhaps we fear or hate or wish annihilated this phantom of ourselves, lying on the table. Still, there are letters that merely say how dinner’s at seven; others ordering coal; making appointments. The hand in them is scarcely perceptible, let alone the voice or the scowl. Ah, but when the post knocks and the letter comes always the miracle seems repeated–speech attempted. Venerable are letters, infinitely brave, forlorn, and lost. ”

Jacob’s Room, Virginia Woolf.

“Why are you writing letters Madeliene?”

“Oh, um, a friend suggested it.”

“You do know there are easier ways to get in touch with someone nowadays?”

“Yes darling, I know, but letter writing is so rare these days that people seem to get a kick out of receiving a letter.”

“You misspelled Madeliene.”

“I think I know how to write my own name.”

“You pronounce it Madeleine no?”

“Yes, but Madeliene is how my name is written darling, keep up! Now, let me be, I have a pile of letters to go through.”

Piles and piles of letters to go through…and you can go through some of the tenderest, funniest and memorable ones yourself…

The letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

The letters of John Keats.

Love letters of famous men and women in the past and present century (1923), Volume 1 and Volume 2.

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