The Drawings of Jean-Paul Sartre

≡ Category: Art, Letters, Philosophy |Leave a Comment

We’ve established something of a tradition here of featuring drawings by famous authors. It seems, unsurprisingly, that skill with the pen often goes hand-in-glove with a keen visual sense, though admittedly some writers are more talented draftsmen than others.

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Kurt Vonnegut Urges Young People to Make Art and “Make Your Soul Grow”

≡ Category: Creativity, K-12, Letters, Literature |2 Comments

Art not only saves lives, it casts ripples, as Kurt Vonnegut surely knew when he replied—at length—to five New York City high school students who’d contacted him as part of a 2006 English assignment.

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Mark Twain Creates a List of His Favorite Books For Adults & Kids (1887)

≡ Category: Books, Letters, Literature |3 Comments

In January of 1887, Mark Twain wrote the above letter to a Reverend Charles D. Crane, pastor of a Methodist Episcopal Church in Maine, to advise him of the most suitable reading for both children and adults. Twain’s letter—which, as he did nearly all his letters, he signed with his given name of Samuel Clemens (or “S.L.

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David Foster Wallace’s Sharp Letter to His Editor: “Don’t F with the Mechanics of My Piece”

≡ Category: Letters, Literature |4 Comments

Click for expanded version
We might imagine that David Foster Wallace worked out his neuroses primarily in his voluminous fictional and critical output, but as we see from a fax above to Harper’s editor Joel Lovell, the painful self-consciousness that drove his writing manifested in even the most mundane of documents.

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Lewis Carroll’s 8 Still-Relevant Rules For Letter-Writing

≡ Category: Letters, Literature |1 Comment

My graduate school supervisor taught me all I know about professional email etiquette. Vague language? Poor form. Typos? Nothing worse. Run-on paragraphs? A big no-no. Spelling your recipient’s name wrong? No coming back from that one.

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Alfred Hitchcock and Vladimir Nabokov Trade Letters and Ideas for a Film Collaboration (1964)

≡ Category: Film, Letters, Literature |Leave a Comment

Alfred Hitchcock, writes James A. Davidson in Images, “is usually mentioned in the same breath with Cornell Woolrich, the literary ‘master of suspense,’” not least because he adapted a novella of Woolrich’s into Rear Window (1954).

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Big Friday Night? Discover Hunter S. Thompson’s Personal Hangover Cure (and the Real Science of Hangovers)

≡ Category: Food & Drink, Letters |2 Comments

Last year, we brought you a description of Hunter S. Thompson’s daily drug and alcohol regimen, consisting of frightening amounts of cocaine and liquor, supplanted by the occasional cup of coffee or acid tab. While the story may be apocryphal, Thompson was no dilettante when it came to psychoactive substances.

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Albert Einstein Imposes on His First Wife a Cruel List of Marital Demands

≡ Category: Letters, Physics, Science |15 Comments

Albert Einstein passionately wooed his first wife Mileva Maric, against his family’s wishes, and the two had a turbulent but intellectually rich relationship that they recorded for posterity in their letters.

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Akira Kurosawa to Ingmar Bergman: “A Human Is Not Really Capable of Creating Really Good Works Until He Reaches 80”

≡ Category: Film, Letters |2 Comments

In July of 1988, Ingmar Bergman—retired from film—turned 70. He had every reason to believe that his best work lay behind him. After all, he had won three Academy Awards (and the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award), two BAFTAs, seven Cannes prizes, six Golden Globes, and a host of other honors.

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Read J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Letter From Father Christmas” To His Young Children

≡ Category: Letters, Literature |1 Comment

J.R.R. Tolkien is best known for the sweeping fantasy landscapes of Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit. Apart from being a celebrated author, the Oxford University professor of Anglo-Saxon was also a devoted father who doted on his children.

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