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According to Toss, Ian Richards

Toss Woollaston: A Life in Letters ed Jill Trevelyan Te Papa Press, $59.99, ISBN 0909010072 The first thing you notice about this handsomely produced volume from Te Papa Press is the title Woollaston, in large red letters, running down the

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Posted in Biography, Letters, Non-fiction and Review

Life in detail, Lydia Wevers

Letters from the Bay of Islands: The Story of Marianne Williams ed Caroline Fitzgerald Penguin, $39.95, ISBN 0143019295 It is always the detail of the past that brings it most sharply to mind. William Colenso’s observation in the 1880s that

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Posted in History, Letters, Non-fiction and Review

Catching the post, Linda Burgess

The Penguin Book of New Zealand Letters ed Louise Lawrence Penguin, $34.95, ISBN 0143018663 Oh friends, friends – where would we be without them? Sometimes they move far away, as did Charlotte Bronte’s school friend and confidante Mary Taylor, who

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Young Jim, W H Oliver

Spark to a Waiting Fuse: James K Baxter’s correspondence with Noel Ginn 1942-1946 ed Paul Millar Victoria University Press, $49.95, ISBN 086473400X I began this book thinking that a shorter one might have been enough for a smallish collection of

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Posted in Letters, Literature, Poetry and Review

Passionate Victorians, Edmund Bohan

Tom’s Letters. The Private World of Thomas King, Victorian Gentleman Margot Fry Victoria University Press, $39.95, ISBN 0864733917 One of many challenges facing the biographer of 19th Century New Zealanders can be the lack of intimate letters or diaries. The vagaries

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‘I have been ill for 200 years’, Jane Stafford

The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume 3, 1919‑1920 Vincent O’Sullivan and Margaret Scott (eds), Clarendon Press, $110.95 It is only in fiction that illness makes people saintly. In real life, invalids are cantankerous, depressive and manipulative. To be close

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Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Letters, Literature, Non-fiction and Review

Lively and perceptive, Elizabeth Marsden

The Selected Letters of Mary Hobhouse Shirley Tunnicliff (ed), Daphne Brasell Associates Press, Wellington, 1992, $24.95 Mary Hobhouse came to New Zealand, arriving in March 1859, as the wife of the first Anglican Bishop of the province of Nelson. She

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