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12 Must-Read Collections of Famous Authors’ Letters

Letters of Note, the popular website that publishes exactly what its name implies, has finally put out a book filled with letters sent by everyone from Virginia Woolf to Nick Cave to Jack the Ripper. Not too surprisingly, that collection is also titled Letters of Note.

What might draw us to these letters is the fact that we just don’t send physical mail as much as we used to. Email correspondences are locked behind passwords, and no great thinkers have offered up the contents of their inbox to be published in a book (yet…). Letters of Note, both the site and this new collection, is a throwback of sorts, but the letters it publishes also help us understand famous people we are interested in, and give us a different way of looking into their thoughts.

The letters from writers are especially interesting, as they give us a glimpse into their innermost thoughts and feelings in a way their professional work might not. For those of us who need more than just one letter from an author, here are a few other great books that collect single writers’ correspondences.

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Saul Bellow: Letters

While Bellow’s popularity among contemporary readers has been called into question in the last few years, this collection, edited by Benjamin Taylor, offers a unique glimpse into the world of this private Nobel Prize winner, as well as a rare snapshot of the life and times of a public intellectual in the postwar era.