22 January (1944): James Agee to Father Flye

I’m very sorry not to have returned David’s letter long before this. It got mixed up in a change of coats, then in my work, then in my guilt, which can neatly prevent my doing just what would relieve it. Much the same is why I’ve for so long failed to write at least a line…

21 January (1954): Mary McCarthy to Hannah Arendt

The new Madame is a Mlle. Carole, in her late thirties, smoking a perpetual cigarette and wearing a red bolero jacket and a little English shirtwaist buttoned up at the neck. She has a certain Marlene Dietrich melancholy grace that indicates, I think, that she is about to be ruined financially.

16 January (1981): James Dickey to Christopher Dickey

When you come out of this, a legend will come with you: the legend of what you write, which will be also what you have lived and what you have dared and surmounted and made possible in the way of understanding. That is heroic, son; nothing else. Believe me, my blood and your mother’s must be good, for it is in you and had produced you. Just don’t spill any of it…

15 January (1936): Sherwood Anderson to Jasper Deeter

You know, Jap, he went in for a kind of super-realism. The imaginative world, as I understood it, was to be more or less chucked but it seems to me that in trying for this he has only got into a kind of romanticization of the so-called real…a kind of ecstasy over elephant dung, killing, death, etc., etc. And then too he talks about writing the perfect sentence—something of that sort. Isn’t that rot?