I moved house a couple of months ago and I’ve recently completed the epic task of sorting through my books. Amongst them were a couple of forgotten coffee table books that i have left out to dip into now and again. One of them is Love Letters of Great Men.
I love this book, partly because this is the name of the book Carrie Bradshaw reads in the first SATC film. When the film was made, there was no such book (though there was a similar one). But because the letters were real, it was thankfully easy enough to recreate it.
The book includes the letter written by Beethoven to his unknown ‘immortal beloved’ which ends with those lines whispered by Big into Carrie’s ear at the end of the film:
One of my favourite letters, though, has to be one from Mozart to his wife, Constanze. He gives his ‘dear little wife’ some requests, and below are my favourites:
Not to be melancholy
To take care of your health and to beware of the spring breezes
Not to go out walking alone – and preferably not to go out walking at all
This letter was written on 16 April, 1789. The changes that time has brought about astound me, particularly as I read this letter just having had a text conversation with my husband about taking the car for a flat tyre to be fixed. No mention of spring breezes whatsoever, although we did both put some kisses, and I think I even used an emoticon.
But as much as language and attitudes have changed, the ultimate flavour of the book is one we can all relate to: missing someone who isn’t there; worrying about somebody you love; loving somebody who might hurt you; loving somebody you might hurt.
All of the letters say things that we talk about every day. Minus the emoticons.