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So I Have Thought of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald. by Penelope Fitzgerald Hardcover – June 30, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (June 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007136404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007136407
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,239,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Of all the novelists in English of the last quarter-century, Penelope Fitzgerald has the most unarguable claim on greatness.' Philip Hensher Reviews for 'A House of Air': 'This generous selection of essays, reviews, introductions and other occasional writings proves yet again that stylistically, intellectually and morally Fitzgerald couldn't put a foot wrong if she'd tried. Hers is an impeccable and unique voice not just from another century but another world.' Michael Dibdin, Books of the Year, Daily Telegraph 'Remarkable. It is the range of her scholarship that impresses.' Doris Lessing, Books of the Year, Daily Telegraph 'An intelligent writer, superbly and unfailingly so. Wise and funny, with a dry wit allied to a great emotional sympathy.' Sunday Times

About the Author

Penelope Fitzgerald was one of the most distinctive voices in British literature. The prizewinning author of nine novels, three biographies, and one collection of short stories, she died in 2000.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By C. Williamson on September 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
That Fitzgerald is a little known genius still astonishes me. Her novels are one and all among the finest written in English. They are lyric, wise, and perfectly wrought, and if they are at times tragic, it is because they reflect the world as it is, and not as it ought to be. And their beauty makes up for their truth.

And now the letters. It's true that there aren't many--the ones between Fitzgerald and her husband, for example, went down when her houseboat sank (the adventure on which her book, Offshore is based). But what we have exemplify her at her best. Wry, tender, honest--sometimes curmudgeonly, other times hilarious--they show us the raw talent that percolated until the author was 60 years old.

Buy them, read them, and compare them to the best of the genre: The Collected Letters of Ted Hughes, Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Thomas Merton, Virginia Woolf, and Katherine Mansfield--just to name a few.

You can most of the British media reviews of this book by going to PenelopeFitzgerald.com
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Debra Monroe on September 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a Penelope Fitzgerald "completist." I've read everything she's written, all the novels, all three of the biographies, including the biography of her father and uncles. I am so willing to spend time in her company, to hear her voice, and I've naturally been curious about her life. There is no biography of her yet, and so this book of letters is what we have. Her son-in-law compiled several sets of her letters that had been saved by various friends and relatives and editors. And he wrote a brief introduction, politely summarizing the highlights of her life, and clarifying which novels were drawn from her life experiences. This can work. Barbara Pym's letters and journals, called *A Very Private Eye,* make for a great autobiography, but its editors--her sister and best friend--made the decision to put all the letters written by Barbara Pym and all the journal entries they could collect in chronological order.

This editor did not, not exactly. He put each set of letters to a single correspondent in chronological order, followed by another set, then another, and another. This means that a set of letters to one person begins for example in 1961 and ends in 1997. Then another set to another correspondent starts up, and the book is suddenly back to 1961 again. Sometimes, in the middle of one of these sets of letters, there will be 15 or 20 years missing, and no notation in the text that the last letter you read was written decades earlier than the one you are just starting to read. Then yet a new section begins, and again you move back in time. The idea, I suppose, was to keep all of the letters to one person together, each set of letters in its separate folder. But it makes a chronological hash of her life--you lose a sense of continuity over and over again.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Chao on September 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
These are letters of a level-headed and perfectly normal woman, if one can call well-educated and witty the norm, who has a life with a husband and three children, as well as working relationships with a number of publishers. Nothing extraordinary there.

In her letters to her daughters Fitzgerald writes about a mother's love and money worries ("...but, yes! You look pale - I do wish you didn't have to work in the vac:- I'm so sick of being poor!), the little daily annoyances ("Freddie scorns me. While I'm fiddling about trying to find my keys he stands on his hind legs and puts his paws on the keyhole in case I don't know where that it."), her thoughts on literature ("...though I would never dare saying it in public, the value of studying literature only really appears as you go on living, and find how it really is like life - that it all works..");

her letters to her friends, the humdrum of daily life (...but I think we middle class ladies are really driving ourselves mad by doing all the things that were formerly done by a 'staff' and keeping up our cultural interests as well..."), housekeeping in general ("...plenty of cupboards, which I am inclined to think are the great secret of home life.) and, very occasionally, her physical ailments ("...rather I feel sorry for my heart which has made such an effort for so long...");

her letters to her editors, her book reviews ("...1. forgiving hostile reviews, 2. not feeling morally superior because you've forgiven them."), other writers ("I don't think he (S Rushdie) ought to go into hiding, though. My local Patel grocery on the corner tells me that it is not a dignified act.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Heywood on December 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Penelope Fitzgerald's letters give a glimpse into an increasingly rare type of person. Witty, truly learned, earnest, as well as gentle and fiesty by turns. As with her novels, biographies and essays, Fitzgerald's letters handle the hopes and dissapointments of life with an amusing, light touch that nevertheless conveys the pathos and gravity of the small and everyday human experience.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Allen on January 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Perhaps you would have had to have read some of PF's books to really appreciate this one. She was such a real life mother and grandma - no detail escaped her amazingly - "found your other mitten" ! It is the writer's life and this juxtaposed that make this the 5* read it is for me. A truly amazing woman.
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