Can the collective powers of all forms of electronic communication ever beat that of a handwritten letter? In terms of romance, can a Tweet ever be as romantic as words on the page? There are those who would argue yes; they are the same if not better. I suppose a Tweet can be romantic, but I’m not sure I agree that it is better than a letter. Either way, it would seem that letters are on their way out, in favour of these quicker ways of communicating, but today I would like to highlight some words from this book – Love Letters of Great Men. I suppose that if these men had had access to email they no doubt would still have written these words, but they perhaps would not have been found and read by someone other than the intended recipient and compiled into this book. Here are two of my favourites.
Lord Byron (1788-1824) – his name is synonymous with romance thanks to his poetry, though his behaviour and his poems scandalised most of Europe. This letter was not to his wife, but to a married woman, the Countess Guicciloi, who he met in Venice after his wife had left him. The words were inscribed into the pages of a novel she had lent him.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) – another man to cause scandal in his lifetime. Oscar wrote these words to Lord Alfred Douglas, known as Bosie. Because of his love, Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labour, and Bosie wrote to the Queen asking for clemency, sadly to no avail.