Famous love letters

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Mark Twain

Famous love letter by Mark Twain

May 12, 1869

Out of the depths of my happy heart wells a great tide of love and prayer for this priceless treasure that is confided to my life-long keeping.

You cannot see its intangible waves as they flow towards you, darling, but in these lines you will hear, as it were, the distant beating of the surf.

Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), American writer, to Olivia Langdon, his future wife.

James Joyce

Famous love letter by James Joyce

Irish-born writer James Joyce (1882 - 1941) lived in a variety of cities in Europe, but was always tied to Dublin, the city of his birth. It was the setting for many of his revolutionary and controversial works, and it was also where in 1904 he met Nora Barnacle, the woman who would eventually become his wife. This letter, written just months after Joyce first met Nora, shows the depth of his affection.

15 August, 1904

My dear Nora,

It has just struck me. I came in at half past eleven. Since then I have been sitting in an easy chair like a fool. I could do nothing. I hear nothing but your voice. I am like a fool hearing you call me 'Dear.' I offended two men today by leaving them coolly. I wanted to hear your voice, not theirs.

When I am with you I leave aside my contemptuous, suspicious nature. I wish I felt your head on my shoulder. I think I will go to bed.

I have been a half-hour writing this thing. Will you write something to me? I hope you will. How am I to sign myself? I won't sign anything at all, because I don't know what to sign myself.

Franz Kafka

Famous love letter by Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka (1883 - 1924) worked for much of his life as an official in an insurance company. His extrordinary works of fiction were written largely in his spare time and many of his novels were published after his death from tuberculosis. Kafka first met Felice Bauer in 1912; for five years they pursued a tempestuous and ultimately unfulfilled love affair.

11 November, 1912

Frulein Felice!

I am now going to ask you a favor which sounds quite crazy, and which I should regard as such, were I the one to receive the letter. It is also the very greatest test that even the kindest person could be put to. Well, this is it:

Write to me only once a week, so that your letter arrives on Sunday -- for I cannot endure your daily letters, I am incapable of enduring them. For instance, I answer one of your letters, then lie in bed in apparent calm, but my heart beats through my entire body and is conscious only of you. I belong to you; there is really no other way of expressing it, and that is not strong enough. But for this very reason I don't want to know what you are wearing; it confuses me so much that I cannot deal with life; and that's why I don't want to know that you are fond of me. If I did, how could I, fool that I am, go on sitting in my office, or here at home, instead of leaping onto a train with my eyes shut and opening them only when I am with you? Oh, there is a sad, sad reason for not doing so. To make it short: My health is only just good enough for myself alone, not good enough for marriage, let alone fatherhood. Yet when I read your letter, I feel I could overlook even what cannot possibly be overlooked.

If only I had your answer now! And how horribly I torment you, and how I compel you, in the stillness of your room, to read this letter, as nasty a letter as has ever lain on your desk! Honestly, it strikes me sometimes that I prey like a spectre on your felicitous name! If only I had mailed Saturday's letter, in which I implored you never to write to me again, and in which I gave a similar promise. Oh God, what prevented me from sending that letter? All would be well. But is a peaceful solution possible now? Would it help if we wrote to each other only once a week? No, if my suffering could be cured by such means it would not be serious. And already I foresee that I shan't be able to endure even the Sunday letters. And so, to compensate for Saturday's lost opportunity, I ask you with what energy remains to me at the end of this letter: If we value our lives, let us abandon it all.

Did I think of signing myself Dein? No, nothing could be more false. No, I am forever fettered to myself, that's what I am, and that's what I must try to live with.

Franz

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Love, romance and relationship quotes for your soul

  • 'I'm in the mood for love
    Simply because you're near me.
    Funny, but when you're near me
    I'm in the mood for love.'
    ~ Dorothy Fields
  • 'Love is an attempt to change a piece of a dream world into reality.'
    ~ Theodor Reik
  • 'The greatest thing you'll ever learn
    Is to love and be loved in return.'
    ~ From 'Unforgettable with Love' Natalie Cole

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