Vladimir and Véra: in love for life

Nabokov’s love letters are some of the most rapturous ever written

27 September 2014 9:00 am

Vladimir Nabokov was happily married for over 50 years and rarely apart from his wife. More’s the pity, discovers Philip Hensher

Letters of Note includes letters from Elvis Presley to President Nixon Photo: Mondadori via Getty

'God has given me a new Turkish colleague called Mustapha Kunt...'

30 November 2013 9:00 am

Under normal circumstances, Simon Garfield’s chatty and informative excursion into the history of letter-writing would be a book to recommend.…

Leonard Bernstein in 1945

Did Leonard Bernstein do too much to be a great artist?

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Nigel Simeone’s title for his edition of Leonard Bernstein’s correspondence rings compellingly, novellistically, through the force of the definite article,…

Ernest Hemingway (Picture: Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Does the world need 17 volumes of Hemingway's letters?

26 October 2013 9:00 am

‘In the years since 1961 Hemingway’s reputation as “the outstanding author since the death of Shakespeare” shrank to the extent…

Diana Cooper,with her son John Julius Norwich in London, 1944

Darling Monster, edited by John Julius Norwich - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

It must have been awful for Diana and Duff Cooper to be separated from their only child during the war,…

Don Bachardy poses beside his portrait of Christopher Isherwood, Santa Monica, 2010

To 'Flufftail' from 'Pinkpaws': The Animals is only good for celebrity-spotting

21 September 2013 9:00 am

The correspondence between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy is good for celebrity-spotting but too cloyingly self-absorbed to be of wider interest, says D. J. Taylor

Dear Lumpy, by Roger Mortimer - review

25 May 2013 9:00 am

After the success of Dear Lupin, Roger Mortimer finds himself facing something not normally experienced by former Guards officers who…

Here and Now, by Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee - review

18 May 2013 9:00 am

In love, there is always one who kisses and one who offers the cheek. So too in the luckless genre…


‘A world dying of ugliness’

4 February 2012 11:00 am

Philip Hensher on the marvellous, brutal, excoriating letters of the novelist Joseph Roth


The truest man of letters

7 January 2012 10:00 am

Geoffrey Wheatcroft continues to mourn his friend John Gross on the first anniversary of his death

Friends across the sea

17 December 2011 8:00 pm

On 12 February 1952 the novelist Anthony Powell received a letter from a bookseller in New York. Robert Vanderbilt Jr…

A gimlet eye

10 December 2011 11:00 am

We should be grateful to families which encourage the culture of writing letters, and equally vital, the keeping of them.…

A serenely contented writer

3 December 2011 11:00 am

Beaming Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE, D.Litt. (Oxon), Mark Twain medallist and co-founder of the Hollywood Cricket Club (1881-1975), personified…


My Dear Hugh: Letters from Richard Cobb to Hugh Trevor-Roper and Others edited by Tim Heald

5 November 2011 10:00 am

Richard Cobb had many good friends, among them Hugh Trevor-Roper, who kept letters, and so made this selection possible. There…


The Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume II, 1941-56, edited by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck

29 October 2011 11:00 am

The die was miscast from the start, more’s the pity. As we reach the halfway point in this massy four-volume…


Dark art

22 January 2011 12:00 am

Shadow Catchers is an effective title, with its magical and occult associations, and a nice echo of body snatchers into the bargain.

Bad enemy, worse lover

11 December 2010 12:00 am

Five years after his death, Saul Bellow’s literary reputation has yet to suffer the usual post-mortem slump, and publication of these lively letters should help sustain his standing.


Two of a kind

23 October 2010 12:00 am

They were ‘soulmates’ according to people who knew both of them.


Young man on the make

28 August 2010 12:00 am

We are not going to agree about Bruce Chatwin.


Before she was a novelist

10 February 2010 12:00 am

‘It’s hard in letters quite to hit the mean between being earnest and sounding damn silly’ — as Iris Murdoch admits on page 205 of this book.

Delight and horror

11 November 2009 12:00 am

‘Everything that the lovingest of husbands can express to the best of wives, & love to the little ones, not forgetting the kicker in the dark,’ Jack Verney wrote to his pregnant wife in 1683.

Was he anti-Semitic?

11 November 2009 12:00 am

Letters give us the life as lived — day-to-day, shapeless, haphazard, contingent, imperfect, authentic.

A literary gypsy

4 November 2009 12:00 am

When Lavinia Greacen undertook her magisterial yet intimately sympathetic biography of James Gordon Farrell, she gained access to his diaries and many of his letters, especially love letters and letters to his literary agents, editors and publishers about his professional desires and requirements.

Surprising literary ventures

21 October 2009 12:00 am

Love Letters of a Japanese begins: ‘These letters are real.


More gossip with less art?

25 February 2009 12:00 am

The Letters of Samuel Beckett, 1929-40, Volume I, edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck