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Q's Legacy Paperback – August 5, 1986


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Q's Legacy + Duchess of Bloomsbury Street + 84, Charing Cross Road
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 177 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (August 5, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140089365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140089363
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I love it and was sorry to reach the end.
W. L. Gray
Almost with every turn of the page in Q's Legacy I'm jotting down the title of a new book to read, or an old book to re-read with new perspective.
Amazon Customer
Overall, this is one of the best books I've read in a long time and I know it will become an oft-read favorite.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

155 of 157 people found the following review helpful By R. Tiedemann on July 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
When Helene Hanff runs out of money and has to leave college, she takes her education into her own hands. In the public library she searches for books on English literature "the Best -- written in language I could understand." Beginning with the A's, taking down one volume after another, she works her way through the alphabet, arriving at the M's without finding what she wants.
Most of the books were of 19th and 20th century writers and she wanted the great works of England: Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, the Bible, etc.
"I went on through the N's, O's and P's," she writes, "fighting a suspicion that what I wanted didn't exist. There was only one book under Q."
And what a book. ON THE ART OF WRITING by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, M.A., King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge. Impressed with his credentials and the simplicity and clarity of his writing, she decides she can study with "Q," as she calls him, "without necessarily agreeing with everything he said." So she takes him home.
"In the first chapter," she writes, "he threw so many marvelous quotes at me...from Walton's ANGLER and Newman's IDEA OF THE UNIVERSITY and Milton's PARADISE LOST -- that I rushed back to the library and brought home all three, determined to read them before going on to Q's second lecture." And so it went. From PARADISE LOST to the New Testament to . . . ad infinitum.
Life and reality (the need to find a job) intrude; she gets involved in community theater, becomes publicity agent (sort of) for the Theater Guild of New York, works as a reader for the New York Story Department of Paramount Pictures, all the while reading her way through Q's list of classical English literature.
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71 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Ladyce West on October 14, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What an upbeat book!
This is the romance of life's unpredictability; of life's path. Helene Hanff the author and our heroine in this autobiography is a person we can all identify with: with a high school education, a survivor's tenacity, a bright mind and a bit of luck she turns what could have been a mediocre existence into an exciting if quietly successful life! One could not have a more prototypical American dream. But here, it appears represented without the scrubbed clean, sanitized methods of Holywood.
Her wonderfully charming narration, leads us through her struggles as a writer in New York, through the apparent lucky accident of her book "84, Charring Cross Road," and the mesmerizing consequences that a successful book brings to her life. It is her persona though, who is fascinating: a strong woman with few doubts about likes and dislikes, who fights doggedly for a living, with a good sense of humor, generosity towards others and an apparent humility. What a combination! But to top it off she is sharp, quick, loves books and what they can teach her.
This is a book to be read in one sitting, but only after you read "84 Charring Cross Road." It is fun, upbeat, a charmer and it also has an almost oldfashioned value: it celebrates life!
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
My journey to this book took a few twists. My friend Sadie introduced me to the movie 84, Charing Cross Road in honor of Anne Bancroft. From there I knew I had to find out more about the real Helene Hanff and a mad google search ensued.

I came across a list of some of her works and set out to find the book all about her correspondence with Frank Doel who worked in the bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road and with whom she exchanged letters for almost 30 years. My library's copy of 84, Charing Cross Road was checked out and our local bookstore was sold out. So, I hopped online at Amazon and discovered Q's Legacy - a wonderful book all about her "homeschool" with Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (1863-1944) - of Cambridge no less! "Q" became Helene's "teacher" across the miles and the years and having never met each other. Helene stumbled across him in the library one afternoon and through his work On the Art of Writing (a collection of his lectures published in 1916), he showed her how to read the classics - lessons which would continue the rest of her life.

I found out that Helene (as I've come to feel that we are on a first name basis now) and I have much in common,if you over look the little part about her being dead: we both lean toward non-fiction, we're both aspiring writers (okay, she a moderately successful one, but she toiled for years on just a dream), we both love books but we're both too broke to be able to splurge the way we'd love to. We must make our selections carefully.

Almost with every turn of the page in Q's Legacy I'm jotting down the title of a new book to read, or an old book to re-read with new perspective. And, I'm keeping my eyes out for the works of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. A new legacy has been born. Thank you, Q. And thank you, H.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful By R. Tiedemann on July 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
When Helene Hanff runs out of money and has to leave college, she takes her education into her own hands. In the public library she searches for books on English literature "the Best -- written in language I could understand." Beginning with the A's, taking down one volume after another, she works her way through the alphabet, arriving at the M's without finding what she wants.
Most of the books were of 19th and 20th century writers and she wanted the great works of England: Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, the Bible, etc.
"I went on through the N's, O's and P's," she writes, "fighting a suspicion that what I wanted didn't exist. There was only one book under Q."
And what a book. ON THE ART OF WRITING by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, M.A., King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge. Impressed with his credentials and the simplicity and clarity of his writing, she decides she can study with "Q," as she calls him, "without necessarily agreeing with everything he said." So she takes him home.
"In the first chapter," she writes, "he threw so many marvelous quotes at me...from Walton's ANGLER and Newman's IDEA OF THE UNIVERSITY and Milton's PARADISE LOST -- that I rushed back to the library and brought home all three, determined to read them before going on to Q's second lecture." And so it went. From PARADISE LOST to the New Testament to . . . ad infinitum.
Life and reality (the need to find a job) intrude; she gets involved in community theater, becomes publicity agent (sort of) for the Theater Guild of New York, works as a reader for the New York Story Department of Paramount Pictures, all the while reading her way through Q's list of classical English literature.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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