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Illustrated Letters: Artists and Writers Correspond Hardcover – November 1, 1999
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From Library Journal
This plentifully illustrated volume contains beautiful drawings accompanying letters sent by (among others) van Gogh, Mir?, and Picasso. Most of the drawings (as well as the letters that contain them) have never before been printed--and, although they fail to reveal much of anything new about the artists who made them, they are interesting, spontaneous, and delightful. As for text, de Ayala (an independent historian) and Gu?no (formerly of France's Biblioth?que Nationale) provide a good bibliography, an index, and the text of the letters, which are sometimes difficult to read in the reproductions. An amusing coffee-table book for general readeres.
-Martin Chasin, Adult Inst., Bridgeport, CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The sight of a handwritten letter amid junk mail and bills quickens the heart, but letters have always been longed for and treasured, especially when correspondents combined word with image. Sixty illustrated letters by nineteenth-and early-twentieth-century European artists and writers are presented in this magnificent volume, and, as Francine Prose observes in her engaging foreword, reading these letters is like watching someone switch fluently between two languages. The editors provide biographical contexts for both the text of the letter and the accompanying drawings, which vary from mere doodles and cartoons, such as George Sand's teasing sketch accompanying a plea for money, to Victor Hugo's dramatic letter in which the text breaks on the edges of his powerful drawing of Ghent's town square. It is to be expected that the letters of Delacroix, Corot, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Manet are beautifully illustrated, but the drawing skills of Colette, Turgenev, Mallarme, and Charles Giraud come as a surprise, proving that for some blessed individuals, creativity has no bounds. Donna Seaman
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It is helping my daughter's French-- many letters are in French (with translations!) as well as giving us perspective on their lives and the times the writers were in. I have never sent a blank note to anyone and now thata I see how these letters are cherished years later, I resolve to keep up with my own work!