23.3.13

Fan Letters: Famous Authors to Famous Authors

Letters from Joyce, Gaddis, Woolf, McCullers and others
A young James Joyce (1902)
Flavorwire has posted a fan letter written by James Joyce to the playwright Henrik Ibsen (link via Johann Gregory):
Honoured Sir,

I write to you to give you greeting on your seventy-third birthday and to join my voice to those of your well-wishers in all lands. You may remember that shortly after the publication of your latest play ‘When We Dead Awaken’, an appreciation of it appeared in one of the English reviews — The Fortnightly Review — over my name. I know that you have seen it because some short time afterwards Mr. William Archer wrote to me and told me that in a letter he had from you some days before, you had written, ‘I have read or rather spelled out a review in the Fortnightly Review by Mr. James Joyce which is very benevolent and for which I should greatly like to thank the author if only I had sufficient knowledge of the language.’ (My own knowledge of your language is not, as you see, great but I trust you will be able to decipher my meaning.) I can hardly tell you how moved I was by your message. I am a young, a very young man, and perhaps the telling of such tricks of the nerves will make you smile. But I am sure if you go back along your own life to the time when you were an undergraduate at the University as I am, and if you think what it would have meant to you to have earned a word from one who held so high a place in your esteem as you hold in mine, you will understand my feeling. One thing only I regret, namely, that an immature and hasty article should have met your eye, rather than something better and worthier of your praise. There may not have been any wilful stupidity in it, but truly I can say no more. It may annoy you to have your work at the mercy of striplings but I am sure you would prefer even hotheadedness to nerveless and ‘cultured’ paradoxes. [Read More]
The site has also posted letters by William Gaddis (to Don DeLillo), Norman Mailer (to William Styron), Ray Bradbury (to Robert Heinlein), Charles Dickens (to George Eliot), Virginia Woolf (to Olaf Stapledon), W. H. Auden (to James Agee), Carson McCullers (to Henry Miller), George R. R. Martin (to Stan Lee), and William S. Burroughs (to Truman Capote). [Read More]

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