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Real Absences

Barbara Johnson, 19 October 1995

Post Scripts: The Writer’s Workshop 
by Vincent Kaufmann, translated by Deborah Treisman.
Harvard, 199 pp., £31.95, June 1994, 0 674 69330 2
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The Oxford Book of Letters 
edited by Frank Kermode and Anita Kermode.
Oxford, 559 pp., £20, July 1995, 0 19 214188 0
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... Reading others people’s letters, like reading private diaries, offers thrilling and unexpected glimpses into the lives of others,’ claims the dustjacket of The Oxford Book of Letters. In contrast, Vincent Kaufmann cheerfully introduces his study of writers’ letters by admitting that ‘there is nothing more tedious in a writer’s work than his correspondence ...

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