PDF The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1834-1872, Volume I

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I really miss writing letters. I used to do a lot of letter-writing years ago. But I found that more and more people turned to email to the effect that when I would write, I was getting fewer and fewer replies. I wasn't very motivated to maintain one-sided correspondence. Now, I only have a handful of friends who still don't use email and will actually write me back. Most of them drive a horse and buggy.

There is a point to all this, at least in my mind. I figured a read through the correspondence of two such influential men like Carlyle and Emerson would prove interesting and insightful. These folks knew how to write a letter, knew how to put their heart and soul into it. Emerson even wrote rough drafts of his letters to Carlyle before re-writing what he would actually send. That they took the task seriously, there is no doubt.

The book did keep my attention, especially the first third or so. But then the conversations began revolving primarily around matters concerning the printing of Carlyle's books. Emerson was able to print them cheaper in America than Carlyle was in England. This did generate a wider audience for Carlyle in the States. It also enabled Carlyle to put up a fight against the age-old writer's foe: poverty. The correspondence was still entertaining, just not up to the same level of the witty parrying interspersed with classical references that the two engaged in early on.

I was impressed that their correspondence, which covered decades, began with Emerson stopping by Carlyle's house one day when he was in England. They chatted for an afternoon, both immediately recognized a kindred spirit in the other, and remained steadfast friends.

I don't know if I'll try to tackle Volume II. At least, I don't plan to do so any time soon.

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30.11.2016

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The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1834-1872, Volume I PDF ebook download
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