Diana Athill

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

To the Letter: A Journey Through a Vanishing World

By

Canongate 464pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

This wonderful book clamours for quotation, but if I started that there would be no end to it. It is a history of letter writing, full of examples of the art, which is to say of voices. When a hand transfers what a writer thinks or feels onto paper which another hand will later unfold, it can convey and preserve that writer’s nature more vividly than any other means of communication. Why that should be so is mysterious, but that it is so becomes increasingly evident as one progresses through this book; and so does one’s dismay increase at the fact that nowadays letter writing has become so rare.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Pollan has no doubt that the use of psychedelics could have a powerfully beneficial effect on a range of condition… ,
    • A memoir about an Untouchable family and the 'formation of modern India': 'Ants among Elephants' by @gidla_sujatha… ,
    • RT : First founded in Edinburgh in 1979, is considered a trusted independent source for reviews of new book… ,
    • 'In different ways Hatherley makes gritty Lódź and poor old which-country-are-we-in-this-week Lviv sound entrancing… ,
    • In this issue Lucy Popescu discusses the miscarriages of justice occurring in the investigation over Maltese journa… ,
    • 'Rodin’s fascination with ancient Greek sculpture is part of a long and distinguished French tradition.' A review o… ,
    • The New Testament, in a new translation by David Bentley Hart, reviewed by Salley Vickers ,