What happens to the un-notable letters?

Rachael Scarborough King

The short profile in the New Yorker online of epistolary blog Letters of Note makes clear both the totemic status letters hold in our current media moment, and how aberrant an interesting standalone letter is. The blog features mainly celebrity letters and each one has to hold the reader’s interest (the most interesting have also now been collected into a book). The letter represents a form of communication thought to be dead or dying, re-vivified through both the Internet and the printed book.

Key quotes:

[Editor Shaun] Usher has an evident knack for selecting letters that land with the force of a good short story, with personalities and dramatic arcs emerging swiftly, from just a page or two. Many of the writers are famous people, caught in a moment of accessibility and rawness or off-the-cuff virtuosity.

The idea behind the Letters of Note project—that correspondence holds a rare communicative and…

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