The Book of Letters

The Book of Letters

150 Years of Private Canadian Correspondence

Book - 2002
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Telephone calls cannot be bundled and tied with ribbon and stored for decades in a bottom drawer. E-mails can't take us back to our ancestors' ways of behaving and thinking and viewing the world. Letters - fresh and enduring, each one unique - tell us things about ourselves and our past that television documentaries and history books can only hint at. This is the first English-language collection of Canadian letters, dating back to the days before Confederation. Carefully selected from personal collections, archives, and museums, succinctly introduced to establish context, the letters in this collection range from heart-rending accounts of toil to the impassioned grandiloquence of premiers, from an escaped slave's chastising of his former master to an ardent nationalist's excoriation of a prime minister enamoured of free trade, from the atrocities of war to the sweet delights of young love. Stephen Leacock entertains his father. Marshall McLuhan educates Pierre Trudeau. Frederick Banting's jilted lover says a bittersweet farewell. And countless unheralded Canadians open their hearts, share their thoughts, and tell their secrets. Reading other people's letters is much more than voyeurism. In The Book of Letters, Paul and Audrey Grescoe perform a kind of literary archaeology, systematically disclosing layers of the past to reveal who we were and how we came to be who we are. Like the best oral history, like the most illuminating narratives of our past, it's destined to become a classic addition to our understanding of what makes Canada and its people unique. The Book of Letters is the first in a series. Readers are invited to submit copies of letters written by Canadians, or covering Canadian topics, for possible inclusion in two forthcoming volumes. The Book of War Letters: Two Centuries of Private Canadian Correspondence, to be published in 2003, will cover conflicts in which Canadians served - from the War of 1812 through the North-West Rebellion, the Boer War, and the Spanish Civil War, to the First and Second World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. The Book of Love Letters, scheduled for 2004, will contain correspondence of romance and friendship. If you have such letters or know of any that seem suitable, please send copies (which cannot be returned), along with background material and contact information, including a mailing address, an e-mail addres, an/or a daytime telphone number. If a letter you submit is chosen for inclusion in either book, the editors will contact you for formal permission to publish it. Letters can be sent to: Paul and Audrey Grescoe, R.R. 1, I-33, Bowen Island, BC, V0N 1G0. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Toronto : Macfarlane, Walter & Ross, 2002.
ISBN: 9781551991047
Branch Call Number: 971 B724
Characteristics: 333 p. ; 24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Grescoe, Audrey
Grescoe, Paul 1939-


From Library Staff

ser_library Jun 04, 2010

the commentary and background notes surrounding each letter are excellent

reading letters is immediate "history"

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Jul 03, 2018

Three letters from an escaped slave requesting an explanation of his treatment from a religious southern gentleman (none of which were answered); one of the poems written by Jacques Plante to his Swiss wife while he was one the road; some from the 1700's and some more recent, but most quite revealing and informative.

ser_library Jun 04, 2010

the commentary and background notes surrounding each letter are excellent

reading letters is immediate "history"

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