Do actions always speak louder than words?
In years gone by, separated from their loved ones by oceans and war, great men poured out their feelings on paper. Victoria Marston revisits the love letters of those who made history
In years gone by, great men poured out their feelings on paper. Victoria Marston peeks at their love letters
HENRY VIII, Mozart, Napoleon and Darwin: the actions of each of them left a legacy known to all of us, but what of the man behind those exceptional feats? ‘Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them,’ said German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Love letters, in particular, are revealing— who would have thought that the absence of word from his wife could leave Napoleon in a state of despair and insecurity?
Did you know that Mozart preferred his love not to go walking without him, that Disraeli was thought a fortune hunter, that one of Nelson’s last deeds was to write a letter home or that the poet Alexander Pope could apparently only express his own emotions when drunk?
In this age of instant communication, letter writing is becoming a lost art, yet our descendants are unlikely to sit and study our love texts—or, more likely, missives stating at what time we will arrive home. Let us look to the love letters of the great men of the past, learn about them and learn from their (sometimes) eloquent example.