Letters sent

Many of the greatest ideas are the simplest, those you can’t believe no-one has come up with before, and that definitely applies to the fascinating website Letters of Note. The site simply reproduces the private and personal letters (in most cases showing the paper original)  of a wildly diverse array of famous individuals, from Kafka to Hitler,   from Beethoven to  Bertand Russell, Jimi Hendrix to Edgar Allen Poe. A few are not from the famous but to them, such as the heartrending letter from Winnie Johnson to Myra Hindley.  In many others an extra side is shown to people who you thought you knew, or those you didn’t know at all. Hours, weeks of absorption are here. A few stray favourites:

Sweet and attentive reply by Dickens to a six year old fan

Einstein’s letter of admiration to Gandhi, and the latter’s reply

Wilde’s explanation to an enquirer of “all art is quite useless”

Waspish, facetious and hilarious screeds by  a pre-fame Steven Morrissey to his Scottish pen-pal

Endearingly goofy and gauche responses to fans from Iggy Pop

Tolkien’s irate response to Nazi publishers enquiring if he was of “Aryan heritage”

Stephen Fry’s caring and considered response to a fan suffering from depression

Double-edged response by Rik Mayall to an autograph hunter





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