Phone Number
Phone Number

To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing

Category: Book
By (author): Garfield, Simon
Subject:  HISTORY / Social History
  LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Composition & Creative Writing
  REFERENCE / Writing Skills
Publisher: Gotham
Published: November 2014
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 464
Size: 8.24in x 5.48in x 1.13in
Our Price:
$ 20.00
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*The New York Times bestselling author of Just My Type and On the Map offers an ode to letter writing and its possible salvation in the digital age. 

Few things are as exciting-and potentially life-changing-as discovering an old letter. And while etiquette books still extol the practice, letter writing seems to be disappearing amid a flurry of e-mails, texting, and tweeting. The recent decline in letter writing marks a cultural shift so vast that in the future historians may divide time not between BC and AD but between the eras when people wrote letters and when they did not. So New York Times bestselling author Simon Garfield asks: Can anything be done to revive a practice that has dictated and tracked the progress of civilization for more than five hundred years?

In To the Letter, Garfield traces the fascinating history of letter writing from the love letter and the business letter to the chain letter and the letter of recommendation. He provides a tender critique of early letter-writing manuals and analyzes celebrated correspondence from Erasmus to Princess Diana. He also considers the role that letters have played as a literary device from Shakespeare to the epistolary novel, all the rage in the eighteenth century and alive and well today with bestsellers like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. At a time when the decline of letter writing appears to be irreversible, Garfield is the perfect candidate to inspire bibliophiles to put pen to paper and create "a form of expression, emotion, and tactile delight we may clasp to our heart."
Review Quote*"Stuffed with marvelous anecdotes, fascinating historical tidbits and excerpts...[Garfield's] epistolary ardor proves infectious."
-The New York Times Book Review 
"Thoroughly captivating…Garfield shows us the poetic nature of the written word. . . . An overdue homage to something we once took for granted but really was an art."
-The Tampa Tribune

"A wonderfully elegant history."

"Garfield is a best-selling writer of irresistible enthusiasm….[His] robust and propulsive engagement with letters as an essential embodiment of the human spirit and a driving cultural force makes for exciting reading and thoughtful speculation about the future of scholarship and communication."

"This endlessly informative book from one of Britain's best non-fiction writers provides a heartfelt reminder of just how much we'd lose... the book serves up any number of vivid examples from people famous and unknown."
-Reader's Digest

"He offers hope for the letter as a form of writing- though it is not his theme- because he makes clear that people's instinct to share, discuss, and transmit their deepest, most strongly held feelings survives and adapts, even as technology changes."
-Financial Times
Biographical NoteSimon Garfield is the author of fourteen acclaimed books of nonfiction including Just My Type and On the Map. He lives in London and St. Ives, Cornwall.