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Love Letters of Great Men

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This is a collection of love letters but the history about the love affairs informing the letters, are even more interesting than the letters themselves.

As well as Mark Twain's wonderfully affectionate words to his wife, eloquent with his apparently deep and lasting lover for her: I want to end this review with an extract from my favourite letter as it highlights all this book means for me. The letter is question is a charming correspondence from Danial Webster to Josephine Seaton, a lady who left her bonnet at his house: To Calpurnia (my wife): “You will not believe what a longing for you posses me. The chief cause of this is my love; and then we have not grown used to be apart. So it comes to pass that I lie awake a great part of the night, thinking of you.”But I should not like you to take long walks without me. I entreat you to follow my advice exactly, for it comes from my heart.

The rest... Ugh, just UGH. Alexander Pope explicitly writes that he takes a woman's silence as her "consent." Several of the men refer to the women as prizes to be "won." Laurence Sterne called his "beloved" a slut. One of the men (and by this point I was so fed up with this, I didn't note which) referred to a woman as a literal "object" that he desired. Darwin wrote about how he wanted a nice "soft wife" to look pretty "on the sofa," like some decoration -- and not, y'know, a human being. Napoleon threw tantrums because his wife -- GOD FORBID! -- had a social life and didn't sit around waiting for him to return from battle. Nearly every letter made me want to throw up. p  p   p p pp  p pp3p"p pp p p"p p p p pp p# pp p  4p p 4p"p  p  p  p pp  p  pp pp pp pp p  7pp p c        pp p # p p p p8pp p *  ppp p p  p p p p p p" p'   p pp p % p ppp p  p  Some were really funny. There's one inside from Daniel Webster who writes a letter to a woman who forgot her hat at his place after a dinner party. To Josephine at Milan “That day when you say ‘I love you less’ will mark the end of my love and the last day of my life. Have you ceased to love me? My heart, obsessed by you, is full of fears which prostrate me with misery. You alone are the joy and torment of my life.”Most letters weren't "romantic" enough, at most it was a flirtatious correspondence, also I had a problem with the male dominant nature of these "supervising" figures which doesn't sit well with my feminist thinking. Also most of the letters were preludes or committed during adultery as most men and the women they corresponded with were married to other people or at least with other people and lot of them didn't even end up together. So, despite being a lover of love letters, these weren't what I hoped for. William Hazlitt's letter was also a favorite, though I can't tell which one was more sad, the letter or the story behind the letter. Hazlitt, an admirable essayist, ("On The Pleasure of Hating" is one I've studied for its surprising mixture of ambiguity and clarity) fell in love with a twenty-three year old while he was still married. He wanted a divorce but remarriage after a divorce was only allowed in Scotland, so he went to Scotland. While waiting on the process, his young lover started a relationship with someone else and the devastated Hazlitt anonymously wrote a book about the experience but his critics ousted him as the author and it shattered his career. p  pp ppp  !pp p p  p pp"p p  p p p  pp !p"pp  p  p pp pp p p  p p p p 

Translation: “You, you got what I need, but you say you’re just a friend…” (on being friend zoned). Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Legendary Composer For a few years you may flutter in some frivolous circle. But the time will come when you will sigh for any heart that could be fond and despair of one that can be faithful. [...] then you will recall to your memory the passionate heart that you have forfeited, and the genius you have betrayed.Everything comes together so perfectly in this chorus; Her voice, the high splashing of the high-hat, the strong strums of the guitar. The chorus leads out with the swirling sensation the guitar provides, along with the underlying bass that constantly pounds in the midst of the chaos. 2. “Conduct” from “Roses” p p p p p   p pp   p p &p p p  pp"p p p p"p  p  p  ppp p &p+ The Cranberries - Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why CAN`t We ? 1993 The Cranberries - Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why CAN`t We ? 1993. Adieu—my love—my only one. Do not catch them in the air—those 2999½ little kisses from me which are flying about, waiting for someone to snap them up. Listen, I want to whisper something in your ear…” These letters and the short biographical notes reveal some interesting, sometimes amusing details about famous people's private lives, such as the fact that Mozart and his wife both loved scatological jokes; Robert Burns was a dog (he got two women pregnant while carrying on with his "main", I guess you'd say, mistress; one of the pregnant women was the mistress's maid); Napoleon Bonaparte seems to have been very insecure about his wife's love for him and tortured over it; Charles Darwin made a pro-/con list when he considered marriage, "better than a dog anyhow" was on the pro- side and "not forced to visit relatives" in the con side (he subsequently sounded very happy with his choice though, even though he married his first cousin); Robert Browning's love for Elizabeth Barrett started as a fan's admiration; Mark Twain's in-laws had been conductors on the Underground Railroad; Alfred Douglas did not abandon Oscar Wilde after his process, on the contrary, he campaigned in the press against the sentence and petitioned the Queen for clemency.

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