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10 Fan letters from famous authors, to famous authors
March 19, 2013 6:01 PM   Subscribe

10 Fan letters from famous authors, to famous authors.

William Gaddis to Don DeLillo, 1988
Norman Mailer to William Styron, 1953
Ray Bradbury to Robert Heinlein, 1976
Charles Dickens to George Eliot, 1858
Virginia Woolf to Olaf Stapledon, 1937
W.H. Auden to James Agee (or rather, his editors), 1944
Carson McCullers to Henry Miller, ca. 1942
James Joyce to Henrik Ibsen, 1901
George R.R. Martin to Stan Lee, 1964
William S. Burroughs to Truman Capote, 1970 (hate mail).
posted by louigi (20 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the same site: letters from famous authors to their children.
posted by louigi at 6:03 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is great. Includes the famous passage from Charles Dickens' letter to George Eliot (aka Mary Anne Evans):
"I should have been strongly disposed, if I had been left to my own devices, to address the said writer as a woman. I have observed what seem to me to be such womanly touches, in those moving fictions, that the assurance on the title-page is insufficient to satisfy me, even now. If they originated with no woman, I believe that no man ever before had the art of making himself, mentally, so like a woman, since the world began."
posted by Atom Eyes at 6:13 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anne Sexton signed the letter to her son with:
XOXOXO

Mom
OMG they XOXO'd during the 1960s?! I thought it was an Internet thing...
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:13 PM on March 19, 2013


OMG they XOXO'd during the 1960s?! I thought it was an Internet thing...

I must be getting old, I have no idea how to take that. Sigha.
posted by nevercalm at 6:18 PM on March 19, 2013 [25 favorites]


Burroughs seemed to have succeeded.
posted by mobunited at 6:19 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was surprisingly touched by Norman Mailer's sensitivity and encouragement toward William Styron.
posted by Fichereader at 6:43 PM on March 19, 2013


I'll have to dig up the exact text, but a very young Emma Thompson wrote to Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge, who translated the Asterix stories into English, to tell them that she was a huge fan.

I thought this was awesome. The fact that the letter still existed 40 years later is even more awesome.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:43 PM on March 19, 2013


DEAR RAY BRADBURY,

IF YOU DON'T RELEASE THE SHIFT LOCK KEY I WILL NOT HESITATE TO THROW ALL FURTHER CORRESPONDENCE ON THE FIRE.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:48 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Kate Beaton's take

I have been posting a lot of her stuff lately. I am a homeboy for Hark! a Vagrant.
posted by dismas at 6:59 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dear Clive Barker,

You're better than I am now.

Sincerely,
Stephen King
posted by Atom Eyes at 7:11 PM on March 19, 2013


You have betrayed and sold out the talent that was granted you by this department. That talent is now officially withdrawn. Enjoy your dirty money. You will never have anything else. You will never write another sentence above the level of In Cold Blood. As a writer you are finished. Over and out. Are you tracking me? Know who I am? You know me, Truman. You have known me for a long time. This is my last visit.

Dear God, I am so glad I never crossed Burroughs. He apparently actually had the power to revoke talent.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:44 PM on March 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


One foresees the sad day, indeed, when Agee on Films will be the subject of a Ph.D. thesis.

Ha. Prescient.
posted by smoke at 9:44 PM on March 19, 2013


Burrroughs' conception of self included some sort of black magician dealie. Correlation ain't causation however. Time and chance happens to them all &c.
posted by bukvich at 9:50 PM on March 19, 2013


OMG they XOXO'd during the 1960s?! I thought it was an Internet thing

Actually it often used to be XXX OOO (usually on separate lines, handwritten of course), until the MPAA created the X rating and the porn industry invented a new meaning for XXX. That's what I'm pretty sure I put on my Valentine's cards for my (whole! boys and girls! it was normal and not tinged by homophobia!) 1968 kindergarten class, anyway.

XOXOXO sounds like that Brazilian singer-actress to me.

(Seriously, I just found a 1905 Missouri Supreme Court case that states "defendant [said] that when he wrote X and O he meant hugs and kisses.")
posted by dhartung at 9:53 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


You choose instead to sell out a talent that is not yours to sell.

Even his hate mail is oddly quotable.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 PM on March 19, 2013


XOXOXO sounds like that Brazilian singer-actress to me.

It's what Spanish Santa says.
posted by Segundus at 1:14 AM on March 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


The burroughs letter was on here previously.

I loved the Joyce letter.
posted by lkc at 1:18 AM on March 20, 2013


Dear George R.R.,

please hurry up,

Gore
posted by biffa at 2:18 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Burroughs letter is the clear winner. Dismissive, concise and just insane enough to keep you reading.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:13 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


[...]

With dearest love,

Daddy

P.S. My come-back to your calling me Pappy is christening you by the word Egg, which implies that you belong to a very rudimentary state of life and that I could break you up and crack you open at my will and I think it would be a word that would hang on if I ever told it to your contemporaries. “Egg Fitzgerald.” How would you like that to go through life with — “Eggie Fitzgerald” or “Bad Egg Fitzgerald” or any form that might occur to fertile minds? Try it once more and I swear to God I will hang it on you and it will be up to you to shake it off. Why borrow trouble?

Love anyhow.

posted by 256 at 6:38 AM on March 20, 2013


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