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Correspondence and her sisters

By Tom Chatfield  

“Whither correspondence?” is, for the sort of people who enjoy using words like “whither,” one of the great questions of future literary studies. For several centuries, a central feature of intellectual biography has been the fact that most great writers and thinkers have also been great letter-writers. Waugh, arguably, is at his sustained finest in his correspondence rather than his fiction; Yeats wrote letters at extraordinary length and with eloquent passion throughout his life; Ted Hughes’s posthumously-published letters are the crowning glory of his poetic career;…

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