The Daily

Correspondence

Let’s Talk About Skin

May 9, 2016 | by

Charles Landseer, 1813. Wellcome Library, London. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Charles Landseer, 1813. Wellcome Library, London.

In the exchange below, J. D. Daniels and Mike Nagel discuss Didier Anzieu’s The Skin-Egoavailable in a new translation by Naomi Segal. Anzieu (1923–99) was a French psychoanalyst and theorist whose work brought the body back to the center of psychoanalytic inquiry; The Skin-Ego, first published in the mideighties, found him meditating on the function and structures of the skin as a “psychic envelope.” Naomi Segal is a professor of modern languages, specializing in comparative literary and cultural studies, gender, psychoanalysis and the body.

 

Dear Mike,

I just got back from New Orleans, where my friend Nicky told me his theory of swamp karma.

Anything you drop down here will sprout, he said, whether it’s a seed from a plant or a deed you sow. This land is fertile and karma is quick. If you do good, you get good. If you do bad, you get bad. If you don’t know how you did, you can always check on what you got. Read More »

Ever Affectionately Yours

March 28, 2016 | by

Two letters from Iris Murdoch.

Letter to Raymond Queneau, October 29, 1949, Text below. Click to enlarge.

To Raymond Queneau. Read More »

A Thing That Wants Virginia

March 9, 2016 | by

William Strang, Lady with a Red Hat (A portrait of Vita Sackville-West), 1918, oil on canvas.

Vita Sackville-West, born on this day in 1892, and Virginia Woolf exchanged the letters below in January 1926. The two began an affair in the midtwenties that inspired Woolf’s novel Orlando. These letters came after their first separation; their affair ended in 1929. Original spelling and punctuation have been retained. Their correspondence is collected in The Letters of Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf.Read More »

The Entrepreneurial Kafka

March 8, 2016 | by

These two excerpts from Reiner Stach’s Is That Kafka? 99 Finds reveal a new side to Kafka—and new shades of meaning for the Kafkaesque.

Is that Kafka?

How Kafka and Brod Almost Became Millionaires

During a trip that they took together in August and September of 1911, traveling to Paris via Lugano and Milan, Kafka and Max Brod hit on the idea of creating a new type of travel guide. “It would be called Billig (On the Cheap),” Brod remembered. “Franz was tireless and got a childlike pleasure out of elaborating all the principles down to the nest detail for this new type of guide, which was supposed to make us millionaires, and above all wrest us away from our awful office work. Then I engaged in a very serious correspondence with publishers about our ‘Reform of Guidebooks.’ The negotiations failed because we didn’t want to disclose our precious secret without an enormous advance.” Read More »

From the Guy Davenport Collection

February 24, 2016 | by

BehrensLetterFront

BehrensEnvelopeBack

The Harry Ransom Center’s Guy Davenport collection opens to the public this month. The papers cover sixty years of his career as a writer, scholar, and painter; they include journals, artwork, and manuscript pages. But much of the collection is given over to correspondence. From his home in Kentucky, Davenport traded letters with some twenty-three hundred people, many among the brightest minds of their day: John Updike, Eudora Welty, Marianne Moore, Louis Zukofsky, Cormac McCarthy, Hugh Kenner, Joyce Carol Oates, Dorothy Parker, Ezra Pound, and more, their exchanges sometimes spanning decades.

To celebrate the collection, the Ransom Center has shared the three letters below with us—one from the writer and designer Roy Behrens, whose stationery is appropriately a work of art, and the other two from Davenport himself. To explore the collection more, use the Ransom Center’s finding aid and schedule a visit

Read More »

Euro Road Trip, Twelve Cadillacs

February 11, 2016 | by

Patrick Leigh Fermor

The British travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, born on this day in 1915, sent this letter to Deborah Devonshire in October 1960, having completed a road trip through plenty of Eastern Europe. Read more of their letters in In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh FermorRead More »