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Love Letters: 2,000 Years of Romance


Love Letters: 2,000 Years of Romance Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Long before there were e-mail emoticons for love hearts and flirtatious text messages and photos sent via cell phone satellite, one had to actually try to articulate feelings of love and desire in real words and sentences. The love letter these days often seems like a lost art form, when even those of us who might wish to enclose sentiments in an envelope can turn to the assistance of Hallmark cards. But love letters are not just the made-up stuff of novels; once upon a time handwritten letters facilitated some of the most intimate exchanges between lovers.
This beautiful book from the British Library celebrates two thousand years of love letter history, from ancient Egypt to the present day. Included here are facsimile reproductions of twenty-five letters, which are fully transcribed along with engaging commentaries about the correspondents and their circumstances and portraits of the writers and recipients. Love Letters includes correspondence by figures such as Henry VIII, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Admiral Nelson, Oscar Wilde, and Mervyn Peake. The words of love letters allow us insights into the private relationships of people across centuries, cultures, and continents, and the original manuscripts of such letters grant the reader a direct connection with the author of such personal words.
A perfect gift for any beloved, this charming book may inspire many to pick up a pen and record some passionate missives of their own.


About the Author

Andrea Clarke is curator of early modern historical manuscripts at the British Library.

Table of Contents


Letter from Isaias to her husband, Hephaestion, 29 August 168 BC

Margery Brews to John Paston III, February 1477

Prince Arthur to Katherine of Aragon, 5 October 1499

Pierre Sala, Petit Livre dAmour (letter to Marguerite Bullioud),  c.1500

Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, love notes in a Book of Hours, c.1528

Katherine Parr to Henry VIII, July 1544

Earl of Essex to Elizabeth I, 18 October 1591

Sir Thomas Baskerville to his wife, Mary, 21 August 1595

Thomas Knyvett to his wife, Katherine, 26 November 1621

George Villiers to James I, 29 August 1623

Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple, 15/16 October 1653

Sir John Fenwick to his wife, Mary, January 1697

Vanessa [Esther van Homrigh] to Jonathan Swift, 1714

Horatio Nelsons last letter to Lady Emma Hamilton, 19 October 1805

Charles Dickens to his future wife, Catherine Hogarth, May 1835

Charlotte Brontë to Professor Constantin Héger, 18 November 1844

Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, De Profundis, January 1897

Gordon Bottomley to Emily Burton, 17 October 1899

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet 43 from Sonnets from the Portuguese, c.1846

Christina Rossetti, Valentine poem to her mother, 1884

Rupert Brook to Cathleen Nesbitt, 1913

Roger Keyes to his wife, Eva, 10 December 1914

Mervyn Peake to his wife, Maeve Gilmore, Early 1940s

Ted Hughes, c.1980

Ralph Richardson to his wife, Meriel Forbes, 1964-70

Picture Credits


Product Details

Clarke, Andrea
British Library
Clarke, Andrea
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
60 color plates
8.25 x 5.75 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » General
Reference » Anthologies of Letters and Journals
Reference » Rhetoric

Love Letters: 2,000 Years of Romance New Hardcover
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$16.95 In Stock
Product details 128 pages British Library - English 9780712358255 Reviews:
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