previous next

XXII. women's letters.

“Would you desire,” says De Quincey in his “Essay on style,” “at this day to read our noble language in its native beauty, picturesque from idiomatic propriety, racy in its phraseology, delicate yet sinewy in its composition, steal the mail-bags and break open all the letters in female handwriting.” This he goes on to demonstrate, he himself writing in that involved and elaborate style of which he was so fond — a sort of Coleridge-and-water, or perhaps one light say, Coleridge-and-air-full of cloudy glimpses and rich treasures half displayed. Had De Quincey imitated the women's letters he described, his writings would have a longer lease of life. And in the same spirit with him, but in a better style, speaks one of the most cultivated of American scholars, himself a delightful letter-writer, Joseph G. Cogswell, first librarian and organizer of the Astor Library. This is his statement of the matter:

To preserve the true spirit of friendly correspondence, I conceive, requires more exercise of the

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Thomas De Quincey (2)
Joseph G. Cogswell (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: