Tuesday, October 18, 2011

how we lived, ate and didn’t wash

I was reading letters home from soldiers at work today (for an official Job Task, no less), and stumbled upon this collection of letters from Paul Hills, who served during WWI. He wrote his mother frequently, and the contents of his letters are some of the best writing I've read in months. Holy crap. Every comfortable first world author who thinks his work is dark (i.e. me) should read through some of these and see what real literary chiaroscuro looks like. Some of his passages go from funny to sad to heartbreaking and back to funny in a paragraph's time. My friend Justin calls that WW1 period "the peak of the highly literate middle class (in the sense of being well read and caring about writing)." 

Here, I'll paste in an example of what I mean: