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Letters on Literature   By: (1844-1912)

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Letters on Literature by Andrew Lang is an exceptional collection of literary correspondences, offering readers a unique and insightful perspective into the power of literature. Divided into different sections, the book presents a variety of letters written by the author to friends, fellow writers, and scholars across an array of genres and periods.

One of the most captivating aspects of this collection is Lang's ability to capture the essence and beauty of literature through his words. His letters display a profound appreciation for various literary works, allowing readers to perceive the depth of his knowledge and his enthusiasm for the written word. From Shakespeare to Dickens, Lang's extensive repertoire is showcased in these engaging correspondences.

Moreover, Letters on Literature offers readers a glimpse into the author's thoughts on literary criticism and the importance of context. Lang’s insightful analysis and commentary provide a refreshing perspective on the works discussed, making the book an invaluable resource for both scholars and literature enthusiasts alike.

What sets this collection apart is Lang's ability to blend literary analysis with personal reflections. Through his letters, he invites readers into his world, sharing his personal connections to the works he discusses. The inclusion of personal anecdotes and digressions makes the book immensely relatable, bridging the gap between the author and the reader.

While the book encompasses a wide range of topics, it could benefit from a more structured approach. At times, the collection feels slightly disjointed, lacking a clear narrative thread to connect the different letters. However, this minor drawback does not detract from the overall quality of the book.

In conclusion, Letters on Literature is an essential read for any lover of literature. Andrew Lang's eloquent style and profound insights breathe life into these written correspondences, making them accessible and engaging. Whether one is seeking a deeper understanding of classic works or simply wishes to embark on an intellectual journey, this book effortlessly fulfills those desires. It serves as a reminder of the transformative power of literature, leaving readers with an enduring appreciation for the written word.

First Page:



Introductory: Of Modern English Poetry Of Modern English Poetry Fielding Longfellow A Friend of Keats On Virgil Aucassin and Nicolette Plotinus (A.D. 200 262) Lucretius To a Young American Book Hunter Rochefoucauld Of Vers de Societe On Vers de Societe Richardson Gerard de Nerval On Books About Red Men Appendix I Appendix II


Dear Mr. Way,

After so many letters to people who never existed, may I venture a short one, to a person very real to me, though I have never seen him, and only know him by his many kindnesses? Perhaps you will add another to these by accepting the Dedication of a little work, of a sort experimental in English, and in prose, though Horace in Latin and in verse was successful with it long ago ?

Very sincerely yours ,


To W. J. Way , Esq . Topeka , Kansas .


These Letters were originally published in the Independent of New York. The idea of writing them occurred to the author after he had produced "Letters to Dead Authors." That kind of Epistle was open to the objection that nobody would write so frankly to a correspondent about his own work, and yet it seemed that the form of Letters might be attempted again. The Lettres a Emilie sur la Mythologie are a well known model, but Emilie was not an imaginary correspondent... Continue reading book >>

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