One thing that I am overly happy about that comes with the end of the school year is reading. I used to always find time to read while in school but more recently I was too stressed to do anything but stress over stressful school things. Yeah. Can you tell that last semester was a testament to my strength as a student? Now I can just relax with a cup of tea and a book, the perfect day if you ask me. The latest book that I have completed is Love Letters of Great Men and Women.
Don’t let that title fool you though. A lot of the letters in this book were not from who I would consider ‘great’ people. Half of them I had never even heard of. A lot of the men, in fact, were magazine editors and the likes. I am sure that for their time they were great and very influential in society, but I expected this book to mostly include people whos names are still mentioned today. Such as Mark Twain and Queen Victoria. To put it in simple terms, I was deceived by the title. Perhaps I was the only one, who knows.
Now onto the letters. Some I could not understand at all (theres 15th century English for you), while others were extremely sad and the rest what you’d usually expect from a love letter. This book was an eye opener to the amount of affairs that have taken place over the last few centuries. Holy. I think about half of the letters in this book were addressed to not so significant others. It makes sense when thinking about the fact that a lot of marriages were arranged in the past, but I still felt quite sick at the thought. I suppose it is considered romantic to run off with your lover and leave your not so lovely husband/wife behind, which is probably why those letters were included.
My favorite letters I have to say were definitely from Mozart to his wife. The way he wrote them was so playful and childish, it made me overjoyed to think he would write to his wife in such a manner. I probably enjoyed his letters the most due to the fact that they were refreshing to read compared to the others. They were far more care free and less traditional.
I have to say that I did enjoy this book immensely, but not for the letters themselves. I found out that I love learning about peoples lives, especially in other time periods. For each ‘great’ person thats letters are contained in this book there was an introduction in order to learn about there life and the context of the letters. These introductions were my favorite part of the entire book. Plus, to my surprise, these letters did not actually make me want to receive a love letter. Shocking, I know. Letters seem to be the greatest romantic notion these days, especially with instant communication. But after reading so many, it doesn’t appeal to me as much. Not that I wouldn’t be glad to receive one, but they have lost their romantic luster. I certainly did not expect that by reading this book I would lose interest in love letters. Strange to say the least.