In today's 'Guardian' review section, Geoff Dyer explains why he spent well over £1,000 for a yellowing 1927 letter of no great historical value written by D.H. Lawrence. The purchase was, he says, 'ludicrous and completely out of character'. But he's not regretted buying the letter for a second. It's in a double sided frame on a wall in his study, where it makes him 'feel intimate with one of the most remarkable men of the 20th century'.
I wouldn't go for Lawrence, have never spent anywhere approaching a four figure sum on anything of this sort, and have no great desire to buy letters and manuscripts. But I do understand, and share, that love of tangible things - pamphlets, ephemera, association items - which allow a vicarious sense of connect with a moment, a movement, a man or woman. How better to get a touch, a feel, of the past.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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