Letters from Oxford: Hugh Trevor-Roper to Bernard Berenson by Richard Davenport-Hines (ed) - review by Adam Sisman

Adam Sisman

Missives from a Master

Letters from Oxford: Hugh Trevor-Roper to Bernard Berenson


Weidenfeld & Nicolson 326pp £20 order from our bookshop

We are often told that the art of letter-writing is dead. The erosion of high culture, the contraction of leisure, the evaporation of an intellectual elite and now the prevalence of email have combined to render the activity extinct. If it is true that nobody writes good letters any more, this very entertaining volume reminds us of what we have lost. 

It consists of letters written by the young Oxford don Hugh Trevor-Roper to the elderly connoisseur Bernard Berenson, from 1947 until Berenson’s death in 1959. Their correspondence began after Trevor-Roper had called on Berenson in Italy (the first of a dozen visits), arriving in a new Bentley purchased from the

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