Exciting letter finds!

Exciting letter finds!
Thinking about how to address a letter to Olive Schreiner as I go to sleep (in a previous blog) has been replaced by another question to mull over as part of a winding down routine. What would be the most exciting find in the world of letters and theorising them? Might it be something like the tablets brought down by Moses from Mount Sinai being found in an archaeological dig and turning out to be a set of ten letters – ‘Dear people, do and don’t do this and that, love God’? This would work for fundamentalist Christians or others interested in the Old Testament, and also those of us fascinated by the origins of the epistolary genre and its crossovers with other ways of writing, but would not be so exciting for others (most people). So what about if the Romanov imperial family letters written from their final imprisonment turned up in someone’s attic? If not, then just think of this: Elvis lives and his recent letters to daughter Lisa Marie have just been sold to the Humanities Research Center University of Texas at Austin! My personal favourite is that Olive Schreiner‘s letters to her close friend Eleanor Marx, daughter of the famous Karl, might not have been destroyed by the disgusting Edward Aveling but instead pawned and have been discovered at a London auction. An even better possibility to imagine is something only indirectly about letters but very practical – the invention of software that turns a photographed page of manuscript writing into perfect typescript in Word…

Last updated: 31 October 2019


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