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Love Letters of Great Men and Women

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Together for the first time in one volume: the bestselling Love Letters of Great Men and Love Letters of Great Women From the private papers of Jane Austen and Mozart to those of Anne Boleyn and Nelson, Love Letters of Great Men and Women collects together some of the most romantic letters in history. For some of these great men, love is a ‘delicious poison’ (William Congr Together for the first time in one volume: the bestselling Love Letters of Great Men and Love Letters of Great Women From the private papers of Jane Austen and Mozart to those of Anne Boleyn and Nelson, Love Letters of Great Men and Women collects together some of the most romantic letters in history. For some of these great men, love is a ‘delicious poison’ (William Congreve); for others, ‘a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music’ (Charles Darwin). Love can scorch like the heat of the sun (Henry VIII), or penetrate the depths of one’s heart like a cooling rain (Flaubert). But what about the other side of the story? What of the secret hopes and lives of some of the greatest women in history? Taken together, these love letters show that perhaps little has changed over the last 2,000 years. Passion, jealousy, hope and longing are all represented here – as is the simple pleasure of sending a letter to, and receiving one from, the person you love most. Includes letters by: Anne Boleyn * Beethoven * Edith Wharton * Mark Twain * Mary Wordsworth * Nell Gwyn (mistress of Charles II) * Elizabeth Barrett Browning * GK Chesterton * Queen Victoria * Napoleon Bonaparte * The Empress Josephine * Mary Wollstonecraft * Amadeus Mozart * Katherine Mansfield Praise for Love Letters of Great Men : 'The most romantic book ever' Daily Mail 'Inspired by the Sex and the City movie... Famous men caught with pen in hand and heart in mouth' The Times About The Author: Ursula Doyle was born in 1967. She lives in London.


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Together for the first time in one volume: the bestselling Love Letters of Great Men and Love Letters of Great Women From the private papers of Jane Austen and Mozart to those of Anne Boleyn and Nelson, Love Letters of Great Men and Women collects together some of the most romantic letters in history. For some of these great men, love is a ‘delicious poison’ (William Congr Together for the first time in one volume: the bestselling Love Letters of Great Men and Love Letters of Great Women From the private papers of Jane Austen and Mozart to those of Anne Boleyn and Nelson, Love Letters of Great Men and Women collects together some of the most romantic letters in history. For some of these great men, love is a ‘delicious poison’ (William Congreve); for others, ‘a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music’ (Charles Darwin). Love can scorch like the heat of the sun (Henry VIII), or penetrate the depths of one’s heart like a cooling rain (Flaubert). But what about the other side of the story? What of the secret hopes and lives of some of the greatest women in history? Taken together, these love letters show that perhaps little has changed over the last 2,000 years. Passion, jealousy, hope and longing are all represented here – as is the simple pleasure of sending a letter to, and receiving one from, the person you love most. Includes letters by: Anne Boleyn * Beethoven * Edith Wharton * Mark Twain * Mary Wordsworth * Nell Gwyn (mistress of Charles II) * Elizabeth Barrett Browning * GK Chesterton * Queen Victoria * Napoleon Bonaparte * The Empress Josephine * Mary Wollstonecraft * Amadeus Mozart * Katherine Mansfield Praise for Love Letters of Great Men : 'The most romantic book ever' Daily Mail 'Inspired by the Sex and the City movie... Famous men caught with pen in hand and heart in mouth' The Times About The Author: Ursula Doyle was born in 1967. She lives in London.

30 review for Love Letters of Great Men and Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    j n g

    This collection was, unfortunately, very disappointing to me. I picked it up randomly a few years ago and never got around to reading it, and I can’t say that I was really anxious to pick it up, but I did think it would be a lot more compelling and romantic than it was. My main issue with the collection is that I did not consider most of the letters to actually be love letters – on the contrary, most of them were very generic, and although I would’ve expected more from some of the gr This collection was, unfortunately, very disappointing to me. I picked it up randomly a few years ago and never got around to reading it, and I can’t say that I was really anxious to pick it up, but I did think it would be a lot more compelling and romantic than it was. My main issue with the collection is that I did not consider most of the letters to actually be love letters – on the contrary, most of them were very generic, and although I would’ve expected more from some of the great poets and writers included in the just over 300 pages, I found that the majority of the letters failed to touch me in any way whatsoever. Oddly enough, I found myself most interested in the biographies and short histories of each letter writer more than the actual letters themselves. However, I found that in most cases, the histories barely related whatsoever to the actual letters, and one seemingly minor person that was mentioned in the vast history of a writer’s life could end up being the recipient of the chosen letter without me having any idea why. I did find that I learned quite a bit from the biographies, though, so they were worth reading in that sense. One thing that also surprised me is that I found myself moved by letters written by people I had never even heard of, more so than by letters written by figures I was familiar with. For example, I bookmarked letters written by Daniel Webster and Pierre Currie on the men’s side, and Mary Hutchinson, Claire Clairmont, Clara Wieck and Rosa Luxemburg on the women’s side without having ever heard of them prior to picking up this collection. For some reason, their letters had more of an impact on me than any others, and as you can probably surmise from this list, I found the letters written by the women included in the book to be much more emotional and interesting than those written by the men. I will say that I was very entertained by reading the letters by Maria Branwell (mother of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë), as well as Queen Victoria. Maria’s letters sounded almost like they could’ve come from the pages of Jane Eyre (which I guess makes a lot of sense, in that her writing style is very similar to Charlotte’s), and Queen Victoria’s letter of grief after Prince Albert’s death was one of the most memorable of the entire collection and one I was particularly interested in. (Sidenote: I did find myself wondering, though, why none of Charlotte Brontë’s letters to her French professor Monsieur Héger were included in this collection, since her love for him was quite well-documented and historically significant.) All in all, I don’t know if I can recommend this collection because it just didn’t really satisfy me in any way. I feel that I could’ve found many of the historical details myself through a quick Google search, and the letters just weren’t interesting or profound enough to make picking up this specific collection seem all that worthwhile, sadly. ❥❥ (out of 5)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed this. I really almost want to go through it with a highlighter and marking passages and quotes. I'm a hopeless romantic, it's true so it was always going to appeal but in the collection we have letters from authors, leaders, politicians, composers, scientists and monarchs. We have Henry the VIII sending a portrait of himself as a sign of his affection to Anne Boleyn, and Anne Boleyn sending a letter back to him years later as she's imprisoned. We have Queen I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed this. I really almost want to go through it with a highlighter and marking passages and quotes. I'm a hopeless romantic, it's true so it was always going to appeal but in the collection we have letters from authors, leaders, politicians, composers, scientists and monarchs. We have Henry the VIII sending a portrait of himself as a sign of his affection to Anne Boleyn, and Anne Boleyn sending a letter back to him years later as she's imprisoned. We have Queen Victoria writing to Prince Albert making sure he was aware of his place in life before they were married, and then another where she wrote to King Leopold utterly heartbroken after Albert died. There is Beethoven's famous letters to his 'Immortal Beloved' and letters from famous womanisers like Lord Byron and Robert Burns. Not all the stories are about happily ever after and a shocking number of letters are addressed to mistresses and bit's on the side, but some of the most beautiful moments comes from guys like Nathaniel Hawthorne (this entries title is from the beginning and end of his letter to his wife), or Robert Browning (who refused to marry for the remainder of his life and spent the last 28 years of his life alone because 'his heart was buried in Florence'), or Mozart who spent his letters teasing and joking with his wife. It's just a beautiful book that I'm already trying to resist re-reading just because I need to get back on track in terms of churning out the books a little quicker.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mandi Ellsworth

    I confess, I didn't read every letter because I found this book mostly depressing, despite its promising title. It seemed that nearly everyone was either writing to a mistress or someone else's wife for the men's part. And don't even get me started on the crazy lives of the women they chose to highlight. The two couples I can say were actually sweet, were Mark Twain and his wife, and John and Abagail Adams. It also seems that everyone died of tuberculosis. It was a very interesting read, and if I confess, I didn't read every letter because I found this book mostly depressing, despite its promising title. It seemed that nearly everyone was either writing to a mistress or someone else's wife for the men's part. And don't even get me started on the crazy lives of the women they chose to highlight. The two couples I can say were actually sweet, were Mark Twain and his wife, and John and Abagail Adams. It also seems that everyone died of tuberculosis. It was a very interesting read, and if you skip a lot of the letters, it's quick. Just don't read it if you're a sap, like me, because it's not what you're looking for.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I enjoyed the brief biographical introductions to the letters' authors much more than the letters themselves. By only showcasing one or two letters from each great man or great woman, it was difficult to build up the love story. Also, I would have preferred to read the letters to and from the great men and women to understand the dialogue between lovers better. This is a good coffee table book though as it is easy to dip in and out of.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Milka

    First of all, I just want to note that this book does not include love letters by Jane Austen even though the description says so. But even though I always love some Austen, this book was pretty good without it. Since I watched the Sex and the City movie I've been wanting to buy one of those love letter books there are in the bookstores. When I was hanging around at the Waterstone's at London I found this one and had to buy it since it looked so good. And I am happy I did since this was delightf First of all, I just want to note that this book does not include love letters by Jane Austen even though the description says so. But even though I always love some Austen, this book was pretty good without it. Since I watched the Sex and the City movie I've been wanting to buy one of those love letter books there are in the bookstores. When I was hanging around at the Waterstone's at London I found this one and had to buy it since it looked so good. And I am happy I did since this was delightful, a lot different read. I don't really read that much of nonfiction and I think this was actually the first letter book I've ever read. The fact that these letters were actually written by someone is amazing. Some of the letters are so full of emotion, especially love. I just wish I could receive letters like the letters in this book. My favorites were the letters by John Keats, Lord Byron and Amadeus Mozart. From my favorites it is evident that I enjoyed more that part with letters from men to women even though the both parts of the book were good. If you are looking for a light non-fiction read, this book is a perfect pick for you. And I never thought reading old letters could be that interesting. I have this book called "800 years of women's letters" or something like that in my bookshelf and I think I will pick it up soon. And I also have Jane Austen's collected letters which I haven't read yet. I know there are many different collections of love letters at bookstores and since I haven't read any other ones I cannot compare this to anything. But I think that the variety of the type of letters and the variety of writers made this an interesting read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mary.

    I've been reading historical non-fiction lately. And I have to say I was beginning to think people in the past did not believe in love. I was starting to fear that I may never find love either. But after picking this book, I now know that such thing as love really does exist. The letters of Mark Twain have been highlighted by my pen, and I am most certain I will come back for more. I will read them over and over again, until I have found love myself. And then, perhaps I may even write letters of I've been reading historical non-fiction lately. And I have to say I was beginning to think people in the past did not believe in love. I was starting to fear that I may never find love either. But after picking this book, I now know that such thing as love really does exist. The letters of Mark Twain have been highlighted by my pen, and I am most certain I will come back for more. I will read them over and over again, until I have found love myself. And then, perhaps I may even write letters of my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    B

    A bit hit-and-miss, to be honest. Some letters by Henry VIII, Napoleon, Queen Victoria, and George Sand were really beautiful and insightful. For most of it, though, the letters weren't really romantic or passionate. Maybe a bit more research could've been done on it. Plus, the uber basic write-ups on each letter-writer were a tad annoying as they were too vague.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Selma

    I love love and that was all that this book was about. It was -- as the title says -- a collection of love letters, and it was really interesting to read. This book gave a different insight into the lives of these famous men and women to see their most intimate thoughts and to see how they expressed themselves. There was a short introduction preceding each letter, giving a short history about the man or the woman telling the reader what they had done to be considered one of the greats. It also g I love love and that was all that this book was about. It was -- as the title says -- a collection of love letters, and it was really interesting to read. This book gave a different insight into the lives of these famous men and women to see their most intimate thoughts and to see how they expressed themselves. There was a short introduction preceding each letter, giving a short history about the man or the woman telling the reader what they had done to be considered one of the greats. It also gave you a brief knowledge of the people whom you did not know anything about beforehand, which I found very interesting. The letters were well chosen as some of them touched upon some very important historical events and theories that were pertinent to the persons existence. The book boasted letters from people such as Oscar Wilde -- who, to be quite frank, had a weird obsession with feet -- to queen Alexandra of Russia; thus, providing a wide range of people. Overall, I thought this was a really fun read with interesting information and facts about the authors of the letters allowing for a newfound view of them. Also allowing for a different side of these historical figures to be portrayed, meaning you get a different interpretation of their character and to a certain degree can understand why they did they things they did much better.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shin'itsirou Futono

    Exellent!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    TheGeekyBlogger

    Review: Love Letters Of Great Men And Women by C. H. Charles I loved this collection of love letters, as they are possibly the most private and intimate thoughts of these talented individuals! Two of my favorites: 1)Victor Hugo in 1821 (just a snippet: This is the love which you inspire in me….Your soul is made to love with the purity and passions of angels;…..” 2)Duff Cooper in 1918 (just a snippet: …that I never see beauty without thinking of you or scent happiness without thinking of you” There ar Review: Love Letters Of Great Men And Women by C. H. Charles I loved this collection of love letters, as they are possibly the most private and intimate thoughts of these talented individuals! Two of my favorites: 1)Victor Hugo in 1821 (just a snippet: This is the love which you inspire in me….Your soul is made to love with the purity and passions of angels;…..” 2)Duff Cooper in 1918 (just a snippet: …that I never see beauty without thinking of you or scent happiness without thinking of you” There are many great letters in this book and recommend it to any hopeful/hopeless romantic out there!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aphrodite

    I enjoyed this book more than I expected. I was always interested on the concept of what is behind the ‘myth’ on everything, including influential men and women, and this book somehow covers this aspect as it truly presents the more personal side of great people. I found myself in a delightful mood most of the time, while reading this book. I bought the book out of curiosity to see how men were expressing their affections (and maybe to compare the words of men vs. women? Idk) and wow, they can w I enjoyed this book more than I expected. I was always interested on the concept of what is behind the ‘myth’ on everything, including influential men and women, and this book somehow covers this aspect as it truly presents the more personal side of great people. I found myself in a delightful mood most of the time, while reading this book. I bought the book out of curiosity to see how men were expressing their affections (and maybe to compare the words of men vs. women? Idk) and wow, they can write alright and create something so beautiful. Now, I can say that I enjoyed men’s letters more than women’s, and yes, I could definitely see myself going back, re-reading some of the letters.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    The editing of this collection is a little heavy-handed, and some of the introductions to the authors of the letters are too long. However, the actual content is wonderful - a whole spectrum of the types and circumstances of love is covered, and I often had a huge smile on my face after reading them. Heartbreaking, life-affirming, all of that stuff and a sweet reminder as to how love can make us feel. Even if we don't write letters to our loves any more, the feelings remain the same, surely? Tha The editing of this collection is a little heavy-handed, and some of the introductions to the authors of the letters are too long. However, the actual content is wonderful - a whole spectrum of the types and circumstances of love is covered, and I often had a huge smile on my face after reading them. Heartbreaking, life-affirming, all of that stuff and a sweet reminder as to how love can make us feel. Even if we don't write letters to our loves any more, the feelings remain the same, surely? That's the hope I took away from this collection, anyway.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vassilena

    I read only the letters of great men, as I was looking for some patterns to see. Truly, people in love are not that different from each other and it shows by their wording and approach to showing affection. I like how you can learn about the writer's background and compare it to his way of expressing affection. Some are better, some are worse, but those letters are a nice and easy read. The literary power is not that great, but the analysis you can do with the texts is quite fun.

  14. 4 out of 5

    H.J. Aridan

    I love this book-- This was my second copy, having given away my first. I can't tell you how much some of these letters bring a smile to my lips. Out of every letter, I would advise you to pay particular attention to John Keat's. They are simply stunning. Also, Oscar Wilde... living up to his name. In all seriousness, it is a wonderful read to bring a smile to your heart when you're happy or give warmth to your soul when you are feeling down. Do not miss this gem!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Despina Frantzi♡

    Not your average read-it-in-one-day book. It's a book to read inbetween other books. It's actually a nice collection of love letters,with all those cliche quotes and that swoony feeling. I didn't read it fast,because it's not a book that has a plot,it's just a collection. Nevertheless,being a hopeless romantic soul,I really liked it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Keixie Pallagud

    A compilation of possibly the greatest true to life love letters, not to mention the history and story that goes along with it, ever written. The beauty of the words, the playful string of them all. It's not only soothing to the heart but to the mind too. Refreshing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Shapland

    Absolutely beautiful book that shows all the different ways that love has been expressed over the centuries, not just by well known individuals, but also the common man. I will read my favourite ones from this collection over and over again.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Xy

    Men had more to say in writing and expressed more than today.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amaal Ibrahim

    i really liked the Men's pieces. wasn't fond of the Women's though

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tiff

    This book is the reason why I love the older kind of love and not teenage love. :) The letters are so sweet!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robin M

    Like others before me have mentioned this would be a great coffee table book. Easy to pick up for a quick read without getting too attached. I found myself more interested in the authors biographies than the actual love letters. To add, most of these letters were not romantic. Many were melancholy and lacking context. Instead, I believe in would have been really interesting to see the exchanges between the lovers with multiple letters in order to better understand the romantic relationships. Over Like others before me have mentioned this would be a great coffee table book. Easy to pick up for a quick read without getting too attached. I found myself more interested in the authors biographies than the actual love letters. To add, most of these letters were not romantic. Many were melancholy and lacking context. Instead, I believe in would have been really interesting to see the exchanges between the lovers with multiple letters in order to better understand the romantic relationships. Overall it was a fun read. However, it doesn't exactly hit the spot for my sappy heart.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Titus Hjelm

    Love is so difficult to write about without sounding corny. Hence, learning from the love letters of 'great men and women' would have been interesting. Alas, apparently to save on copyright costs, all the letters here are from WWI or earlier. As the editor says, this was a more innocent time, so for modern ears the letters sound, well, corny. Interesting historical documents, but not much inspiration for modern love letter writers.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bianca

    This book had been sitting in my boyfriend’s bookshelf for a while so I thought I’d give it a read. I thought I was going to love it, but it just didn’t connect with me. The most interesting part of this book for me was the synopsis about the person before you read their letter. Instead of being a love celebration, reading about so many lost loves in a short book kind of made me disillusioned about love.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ntshh

    Got me forever to get through this book. Few pages (few people's letters) were interesting; but I mainly used the book to get to sleep and to learn 6 new (old) English words. Bought it because of the romantisation from the Sex & the City movie. Couldn't be enchanted by the book itself unfortunately - doubting between 1 and 2 stars; not my cup of tea. Got me forever to get through this book. Few pages (few people's letters) were interesting; but I mainly used the book to get to sleep and to learn 6 new (old) English words. Bought it because of the romantisation from the Sex & the City movie. Couldn't be enchanted by the book itself unfortunately - doubting between 1 and 2 stars; not my cup of tea.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jesteen Schaetz

    I only read this book as part of the popsugar 2017 reading challenge, its nothing I ever would have chosen myself. I found the bios interesting, although uneven. The letters themselves were pretty boring.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Daniela Said

    I enjoyed the book, and the brief description of the lives of those who wrote the letters. Yet, I feel as if some more depth could have been added by giving more than a mere taste of each love story. More letters qould have been appreciated.

  27. 4 out of 5

    R

    The concept of this novel fascinated me. These great men and women of history are very often seen in one dimension; great writers, terrible dictators, fearless explorers and entertaining sources of anecdotes. Love is a funny thing. It makes people go crazy, do things that normally wouldn't, reveal a different side to them, and in some cases, can make an individual much more...human. Of course as with any sort of epistolary novel, I get a little bored. The concept of letter writing is romantic but The concept of this novel fascinated me. These great men and women of history are very often seen in one dimension; great writers, terrible dictators, fearless explorers and entertaining sources of anecdotes. Love is a funny thing. It makes people go crazy, do things that normally wouldn't, reveal a different side to them, and in some cases, can make an individual much more...human. Of course as with any sort of epistolary novel, I get a little bored. The concept of letter writing is romantic but the lack of an actual plot, the loss of details as well as the rather long and tedious pages of declared love...it gets to be a little much. Not to say that I wasn't impressed by the plot line or the premise, it's just that this type of format is not my favorite. However, it's truly a remarkable thing to read the inner thoughts and ideas of these fascinating individuals. I remember especially being thrown off by Napoleon; no offense meant but a man who declared himself Emperor, who made all these legendary campaigns, essentially a very charismatic leader is the same man I was reading about, bemoaning his love and being disappointed at the lack of letters he himself was receiving. To be perfectly honest, these were my favorite moments. As a bonus, each chapter would have a little page or so dedicated to the history and biography of the said individual. That was also quite interesting, so to that I have to say that it broke up the banality of the epistolary narrative. In any case, it's a lovely little insight into the humanity of people. Sometimes it's very easy to forget that these famous people have the same base emotions as us but little novels like this certainly switch that concept around.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    I read this over the course of months and I find it most refreshing to read a few pages now and then to restore an age old passion for words. We just don't use the kind of words they used to describe their longing, their need, their love. We don't write letters anymore. It's most interesting to see a more intimate and personal side to historic and famous people who have contributed much to the world. They too had their problems. They too went just a little bit crazy for that guy or girl. I catch I read this over the course of months and I find it most refreshing to read a few pages now and then to restore an age old passion for words. We just don't use the kind of words they used to describe their longing, their need, their love. We don't write letters anymore. It's most interesting to see a more intimate and personal side to historic and famous people who have contributed much to the world. They too had their problems. They too went just a little bit crazy for that guy or girl. I catch myself reading aloud sometimes, liking how the words sound. Lovely, really. Call me a hopeless romantic- I really kind of am.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Annabelle

    Doubtless most of the letters here are great. Not so most of the men and women. The playwrights and the critics, all men, were generally exceptional in their expression. Most of the men veer into narcissism and the women sound desperate, if not despondent. For readers to better appreciate the letters, the compilers could have provided a bit more information for each letter writer. Still, I'd like to reread some of these again. I'll be updating this soon as I want documentation on my favorite let Doubtless most of the letters here are great. Not so most of the men and women. The playwrights and the critics, all men, were generally exceptional in their expression. Most of the men veer into narcissism and the women sound desperate, if not despondent. For readers to better appreciate the letters, the compilers could have provided a bit more information for each letter writer. Still, I'd like to reread some of these again. I'll be updating this soon as I want documentation on my favorite letter writers, because clearly the question, which I cannot answer as yet, begs asking: who wrote it best?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tessie

    2017 - Brought back so many memories. I love reading love letters from before love letters became a lost art. The quick paragraph explaining who the writer is and who they were writing to really helps. 2017 St. Mary's County Library Summer Reading Program Challenge: A Book Of Letters 2011 - I read this book while my boyfriend (now husband) was deployed. I wrote him a letter each day he was deployed, and often used this book for inspiration. We took to using the last 3 lines of Beethoven's 3 unsent 2017 - Brought back so many memories. I love reading love letters from before love letters became a lost art. The quick paragraph explaining who the writer is and who they were writing to really helps. 2017 St. Mary's County Library Summer Reading Program Challenge: A Book Of Letters 2011 - I read this book while my boyfriend (now husband) was deployed. I wrote him a letter each day he was deployed, and often used this book for inspiration. We took to using the last 3 lines of Beethoven's 3 unsent letters (Ever Thine/Ever Mine/Ever Ours) at the end of our own letters, emails, etc.

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