Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Three Biographies Based on Letters

With "P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters" scheduled to be released this week, I was researching the book when I came across two additional books created by compiling the subjects' letters. I'm sure there are more, but today, I'll share these three, all published by The Random House Group publishing companies.

According the website, the Wodehouse book is "the definitive edition of P.G. Wodehouse's letters, edited with a commentary by Oxford academic Sophie Ratcliffe.  One of the funniest and most admired writers of the twentieth century, P. G. Wodehouse always shied away from the idea of a biography. A quiet, retiring man, he expressed himself through the written word. His letters - collected and expertly edited here - provide an illuminating biographical accompaniment to legendary comic creations such as Jeeves, Bertie Wooster, Psmith and the Empress of Blandings."

"Orwell: A Life in Letters," published last year, features previously unpublished material, including letters which shed new light on a love that would haunt George Orwell for his whole life, as well as revealing the inspiration for some of his most famous characters. Presented for the first time in a dedicated volume, the selection of Orwell's letters is a companion to his diaries.

According to the publisher's notes, "Orwell's letters afford a unique and fascinating view of his thoughts on matters both personal, political and much in between, from poltergeists, to girls' school songs and the art of playing croquet. In a note home to his mother from school, he reports having 'aufel fun after tea'; much later he writes of choosing a pseudonym and smuggling a copy of Ulysses into the country."

Francisco Goya was an artist in the 1700s and 1800s. According to the publisher's information about the book, "Goya: A Life in Letters," from an early age Goya was anxious to preserve a record of his life, but few of his writings have survived and his most personal records appear in his letters. He corresponded regularly with the aristocracy and the monarchy, as well as with friends. Goya's surviving letters reveal a highly emotional man, prepared to state his feelings as passionately to the authorities of a Cathedral as to a close friend. His letters make few concessions and are literary works in their own right. Uniquely individual, they signal a new attitude on the part of a fine artist towards his profession, his social position and his sources of inspiration.

1 comment:

Hexe said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and following. Your blog is interesting. I didn't know USPS is putting out an ornament and I work for them! In a rink dink office that probably won't carry them but still. Anyway, my letter passion stems from my first penpal at age 9 and I still love letters, paper, cards etc. It is an addiction...

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