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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > May 2017 > You’ve got mail

You’ve got mail

Letters between Jane Rule and Rick Bébout offer a provocative snapshot of a time and place

EDITOR’S CHOICE

A Queer Love Story: The Letters of Jane Rule and Rick Bébout

Marilyn R. Schuster, ed.

UBC Press

ONE OF THE most dismal consequences of the Internet’s cultural ubiquity has been the demise of the personal letter. Not surprisingly, the loss is felt especially where writers are concerned. Though there has always been something undeniably voyeuristic about reading someone else’s mail (particularly letters that were never intended for publication), a writer’s personal correspondence frequently offers unique opportunities to glimpse aspects of process or quotidian concerns that, explicitly or otherwise, animate an author’s work. The unguarded quality of, say, Flannery O’Connor’s letters (collected in the indispensable single volume The Habit of Being) sheds at least as much light on her work as the essays and public speeches she produced.

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