Saturday, May 12, 2007

Letters between Betty Hester and Flannery O'Connor

I love reading letters between writers and friends. It’s one of the thing about the age of email that I fear we will lose these sorts of sustained correspondences and what they leave behind. I write a lot of letters myself from resistance to the computer and because I fetishize paper and cards. Betty Hester and Flannery O’Connor corresponded for over a decade and the letters are now open at the archive at Emory University. Hester was a lesbian and at the beginning of their relationship taken with O’Connor. The two had a close and intimate relationship until O’Connor died. I hope that someone will edit and publish a portion of the letters. They sound fascinating.


Nicki Hastie said...

Oh, I love reading letters, too, Julie. This correspondence sounds fascinating.

There is something about cards and letters over email. But email is a wonderful form of communication, too. Just like I keep every letter I've received, I keep every personal email. And of course, with email, I don't lose the words I have sent. It's a fully-rounded communication. That's such a bonus.

I agree there's nothing quite like receiving a handwritten note from a friend through the post, though. It seems to reveal an investment of effort that, however much energy and commitment goes into composing an email, an email can't always achieve. Sometimes email does achieve this. But a card or letter has a physicality; it is there, in all its tactile and sensual qualities, to return to and cherish.


Julie R. Enszer said...

Yes, letters are great. I think that my favorites these days are the letters between Rachel Carson and Juliet Huxley. They are really extraordinary. I'm reading Linda Lear's biography of Carson now. It's delightful, too.