Monday, October 4, 2010

Letter-writing quotes

Here are some quotes about letter-writing, by which we mean writing letters by hand in the ‘old-fashioned’ way. They follow on very nicely from my post of Umberto Eco’s The lost art of handwriting and my own thoughts on the matter here and here.
I like the one about the old hotel.

In an age like ours, which is not given to letter-writing, we forget what an important part it used to play in people's lives.  Anatole Broyard

It seems a long time since the morning mail could be called correspondence.  Jacques Barzun

Take pains ... to write a neat round, plain hand, and you will find it a great convenience through life to write a small and compact hand as well as a fair and legible one.  Thomas Jefferson

I stayed in a really old hotel last night. They sent me a wake-up letter.  Steven Wright

In a man's letters you know, Madam, his soul lies naked, his letters are only the mirror of his breast, whatever passes within him is shown undisguised in its natural process.  Nothing is inverted, nothing distorted, you see systems in their elements, you discover actions in their motives.  Samuel Johnson

When he wrote a letter, he would put that which was most material in the postscript, as if it had been a by-matter.  Francis Bacon

In the midst of great joy do not promise to give a man anything; in the midst of great anger do not answer a man's letter.  Chinese proverb

The word that is heard perishes, but the letter that is written remains.  Proverbs

You don't know a woman until you have a letter from her.  Ada Leverson

To find out your real opinion of someone, judge the impression you have when you first see a letter from them.  Arthur Schopenhauer

Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.  Lord Byron

One good thing about not seeing you is that I can write you letters.  Svetlana Alliluveya

Letters have to pass two tests before they can be classed as good: they must express the personality both of the writer and of the recipient.  E. M. Forster

I have received no more than one or two letters in my life that were worth the postage.  Henry David Thoreau

Please write again soon. Though my own life is filled with activity, letters encourage momentary escape into others lives and I come back to my own with greater contentment.  Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey

Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls; for, thus friends absent speak.  John Donne

A letter is a blessing, a great and all-too-rare privilege that can turn a private moment into an exalted experience.  Alexandra Stoddard

We lay aside letters never to read them again, and at last we destroy them out of discretion, and so disappears the most beautiful, the most immediate breath of life, irrecoverable for ourselves and for others.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend.  Emily Dickinson

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Letters are like wine; if they are sound they ripen with keeping. A man should lay down letters as he does a cellar of wine.   Samuel Butler

The tender word forgotten,
The letter you did not write,
The flower you might have sent, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts tonight.  Margeret Elizabeth Sangster

It does me good to write a letter which is not a response to a demand, a gratuitous letter, so to speak, which has accumulated in me like the waters of a reservoir. Henry Miller

I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.  Blaise Pascal

A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill. Jane Austen

Letter writing is an excellent way of slowing down this lunatic helterskelter universe long enough to gather one’s thoughts.  Nick Bantock

Poets don’t draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently. Jean Cocteau

A Letter is a Joy of Earth -
It is denied the Gods.  Emily Dickinson

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting. Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.  Mother Theresa

Image by The Missive Maven. Check out her blog.

1 comment:

Marina said...

I'm very happy to find this selection! =)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond