Quotation by Elizabeth Hardwick

Many people believe letters the most personal and revealing form of communication. In them, we expect to find the charmer at his nap, slumped, open-mouthed, profoundly himself without thought for appearances. Yet, this is not quite true. Letters are above all useful as a means of expressing the ideal self; and no other method of communication is quite so good for this purpose. In conversation, those uneasy eyes upon you, those lips ready with an emendation before you have begun to speak, are a powerful deterrent to unreality, even to hope.
Elizabeth Hardwick (b. 1916), U.S. author. "Anderson, Millay and Crane in Their Letters," A View of My Own: Essays on Literature and Society, Ecco (1962).
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