Monday, March 3, 2014

Newletter* (for Newsletter*)

It isn't just that people don't write thank you notes the way they used to back in the day: whether charming, literate, timely, or otherwise, it seems that such things rarely get mailed at all anymore. So our heartfelt thanks go out to Letters of Note, a wonderful website (and soon to be book) that makes old letters read like new letters again. One of my favorite missives posted there is from the English novelist Sylvia Townsend Warner to her friend and fellow author Alyse Gregory. Warner writes: "Usually one begins a thank-you letter by some graceless comparison, by saying, I have never been given such a very scarlet muffler, or, This is the largest horse I have ever been sent for Christmas. But your matchbox is a nonpareil, for never in my life have I been given a matchbox..." Sylvia's letter is silly and sweet, but also a profound meditation on the essence of true gratitude. Born in 1893, Warner was an artist, a lesbian, and a communist, and was counted among Britain's loosely knit cultural avant-garde during the 1920s, the Bright Young Things. We found 31 cases of Newletter* in OhioLINK today, and 908 in WorldCat.

(Sylvia Townsend Warner, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

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