For the Love of Letters

The Joy of Slow Communication

by John O’Connell

  • Published: 01 Nov 2012
  • Price: £12.99
  • Format: Hardback
  • Extent: 224p
  • ISBN: 978-1-78072-109-5
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Remember letters? They were good, weren’t they? The thrill of receiving that battered envelope  all the better for the wait…

For the Love of Letters is a celebration of letter-writing in all its guises, a showcase for the masterpieces we would all write if we had the time and inclination – the perfect thankyou letter, a riotous despatch from a far-flung location, that heartfelt declaration of love.

As John O’Connell shows, the best letters have much to teach us – Samuel Richardson’s ‘familiar letters’; Wilfred Owen’s outpourings to his mother; the schoolboy scatology of Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin; Churchill and Clementine’s reflections on the ‘colour & jostle of the highway’ they trod together; the sly observational charms of Jane Austen…

In this richly entertaining book, O’Connell puts forward a passionate case for the value of letter-writing in a distracted, technology-obsessed world. A properly crafted letter is something to be cherished, an act of exposure which gives shape and meaning to the chaos of life. In the words of John Donne, ‘Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls;/For, thus friends absent speak.’

About John O’Connell

John O’Connell worked for years – far, far too long – at the London listings magazine Time Out, where he was Books Editor. Since being made redundant on the grounds that ‘no-one really reads books anymore’, he has been writing, mostly about books, for The Times, The Guardian, New Statesman and The National. He is the author of I Told You I Was Ill: Adventures in Hypochondria and The Midlife Manual (Short Books). He is 37 and lives in south London with his wife and two children.