11 Love Letters Written By Famous Authors That'll Inspire You To Write Your Own This Valentine's Day
The idea of writing a romantic love letter is completely intimidating, even as a writer myself. In a world of texting, sexting, emojis, and brief phone calls, letter writing seems to have sadly taken a bow and disappeared in our everyday lives. Yet it's one of the most simple and heartwarming ways to tell someone your feelings. With writing, you can take time to craft each word to your liking and make it sound poetic, sexy, and romantic. If you're looking to put an extra special touch on your Valentine's Day festivities this year, consider taking some time out to write a love letter for your special someone.
If you're like me and get inspired by examples, I've found some of the most adorable, beautiful, and even steamy love letters written by famous authors. Back when language was just a little different, more romantic some might say, these authors could convey their love in ways that'll make you swoon. In other words, they're masters at this sort of thing.
Pull out a notebook, read these 11 amazing love letters, and start writing your own. Don't worry about making it perfect. Your partner is guaranteed to love it because it's coming from your heart, and it's a gift that'll last a lifetime.
1. Elizabeth Barrett Browning To Robert Browning
After marrying each other in secret, these two were infatuated with one another. Even though their relationship caused Browning to be disowned by her religious family, she was loved and loved deeply in return. This short, simple love letter shows how dedicated she was to her husband, and if you aren't quite ready to tackle a massive love letter, go with something poetic, sweet, and to the point like this:
And now listen to me in turn. You have touched me more profoundly than I thought even you could have touched me — my heart was full when you came here today. Henceforward I am yours for everything....
2. Oscar Wilde To Lord Alred "Bosie" Douglas
These two definitely had a risqué relationship, and not just because they were two men having an affair in a time when it was not tolerated. The two fought hard, made up quickly, and broke up again. Their love and lust was like an on-off switch, but that doesn't mean their heartfelt letters to one another weren't filled with romantic and kind words. Wilde definitely loved him, and it's obvious in his letters. Get in-tune with your inner Wilde, and consider relating your lover to roses, poetry, and Hyacinthus:
My Own Boy,
Your sonnet is quite lovely, and it is a marvel that those red rose-leaf lips of yours should be made no less for the madness of music and song than for the madness of kissing. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I know Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days...
3. E.B. White To His Wife, "Written" By Their Dog
When White's wife was pregnant, overwhelming emotions ran rampant through his mind, and it appears he couldn't quite express all the love he had for her in a way he'd prefer. So to tell her how amazing he thinks she is, he wrote from the perspective of their dog. If you want to express your love for your partner, try expressing it through your pet, because I honestly can't see how much more adorable it could get than this:
Dear Mrs. White:
... White has been stewing around for two days now, a little bit worried because he is not sure that he has made you realize how glad he is that there is to be what the column writer in the Mirror calls a blessed event. So I am taking this opportunity, Mrs. White, to help him out to the extent of writing you a brief note which I haven’t done in quite a long time but have been a little sick myself as you know. Well, the truth is White is beside himself and would have said more about it but is holding himself back, not wanting to appear ludicrous to a veteran mother. What he feels, he told me, is a strange queer tight little twitchy feeling around the inside of his throat whenever he thinks that something is happening which will require so much love and all on account of you being so wonderful.
Well, Mrs. White, I expect I am tiring you with this long letter, but as you often say yourself, a husband and wife should tell each other about the things that are on their mind, otherwise you get nowhere, and White didn’t seem to be able to tell you about his happiness, so thought I would attempt to put in a word.
White is getting me a new blanket, as the cushion in the bathroom is soiled.
4. Napoleon Bonaparte to Joséphine de Beauharnais
If you want to tell your lover something sweet, and something steamy, *wink wink*, you might be inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte. Seriously. By including intimate memories just between the two of them, and going on and on about how much he loves her body, your partner would definitely enjoy reading a letter similarly as charming as this:
I am going to bed with my heart full of your adorable image… I cannot wait to give you proofs of my ardent love… How happy I would be if I could assist you at your undressing, the little firm white breast, the adorable face, the hair tied up in a scarf a la creole. You know that I will never forget the little visits, you know, the little black forest… I kiss it a thousand times and wait impatiently for the moment I will be in it. To live within Josephine is to live in the Elysian fields. Kisses on your mouth, your eyes, your breast, everywhere, everywhere.
5. Katherine Mansfield To John Middleton Murry
Mansfield had an interesting love life, sometimes filled with broken hearts and affairs, including this one with Murry, but was honest about how she felt. I love the open and adorable way she describes every detail she loves about him. If you're looking for a clear and easy way to tell your partner all the little things you love about her or him, read this:
Last night, there was a moment before you got into bed. You stood, quite naked, bending forward a little, talking. It was only for an instant. I saw you — I loved you so, loved your body with such tenderness. Ah, my dear!
And I am not thinking of *passion*. No, of that other thing that makes me feel that every inch of you is so precious to me — your soft shoulders — your creamy warm skin, your ears cold like shells are cold — your long legs and your feet that I love to clasp with my feet — the feeling of your belly — and your thin young back. Just below that bone that sticks out at the back of your neck you have a little mole.
It is partly because we are young that I feel this tenderness. I love your mouth. I could not bear that it should be touched even by a cold wind if I were the Lord.We two, you know, have everything before us, and we shall do very great things. I have perfect faith in us, and so perfect is my love for you that I am, as it were, still, silent to my very soul.I want nobody but you for my lover and my friend and to nobody but you shall I be faithful. I am yours forever.
6. Virginia Woolf To Vita Sackville-West
Woolf isn't shy about stating her intentions, and neither should you in your love life. Her affair with Sackville-West was complicated, but not as scandalous as it sounds. Both women were married, and both husbands knew of the affair, but didn't object or worry. Although this love letter has to do with leaving a husband, look at it more for its immediacy and calling. Ask your partner to call in sick for a day and spend it with you, or ask to run away for a weekend together with the sort of flare that Woolf has.
Look Here Vita — throw over your man, and we’ll go to Hampton Court and dine on the river together and walk in the garden in the moonlight and come home late and have a bottle of wine and get tipsy, and I’ll tell you all the things I have in my head, millions, myriads — They won’t stir by day, only by dark on the river. Think of that. Throw over your man, I say, and come.
7. Vita Sackville-West To Virginia Woolf
Once again, these two had some incredible skills in writing love letters. In this declaration of love, it's hard not to feel inspired after reading this:
…I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your undumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it. And yet I believe you’ll be sensible of a little gap. But you’d clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it should lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark: I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal. So this letter is really just a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become. I suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things. Damn you, spoilt creature; I shan’t make you love me any more by giving myself away like this — But oh my dear, I can’t be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don’t love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defenses. And I don’t really resent it.
8. From John Keats to Fanny Brawne
Make your partner feel completely loved the way that Keats, a brilliant poet, did for his lover, Brawne, in this sweet love letter:
You fear, sometimes, I do not love you so much as you wish?
My dear Girl I love you ever and ever and without reserve.
The more I have known you the more have I lov’d. In every way – even my jealousies have been agonies of Love, in the hottest fit I ever had I would have died for you.
You are always new. The last of your kisses was ever the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest.
When you pass’d my window home yesterday, I was fill’d with as much admiration as if I had then seen you for the first time. Even if you did not love me I could not help an entire devotion to you: how much more deeply then must I feel for you knowing you love me.
My Mind has been the most discontented and restless one that ever was put into a body too small for it.
I never felt my Mind repose upon anything with complete and undistracted enjoyment – upon no person but you.
When you are in the room my thoughts never fly out of window: you always concentrate my whole senses.
9. Leo Tolstoy To Valeria Arsenev
Writing to his fiancé, Tolstoy shows how much his love is growing for her in a classic and charming way. He speaks of beauty, but also of the soul. Don't just tell your partner how beautiful they are, compliment his or her soul and what you find beautiful about it.
I already love in you your beauty, but I am only beginning to love in you that which is eternal and ever previous – your heat, your soul. Beauty one could get to know and fall in love with in one hour and cease to love it as speedily; but the soul one must learn to know. Believe me, nothing on earth is given without labour, even love, the most beautiful and natural of feelings.
10. Gustave Flaubert To Louise Colet
Both writers, Flaubert gets straight to the point about his lust for Colet. Skip the sexting and go for a more romantic but equally sexy way of telling your lover how much you want to please them, sort of like this:
I will cover you with love when next I see you, with caresses, with ecstasy. I want to gorge yu [sic] with all the joys of the flesh, so that you faint and die. I want you to be amazed by me, and to confess to yourself that you had never even dreamed of such transports… When you are old, I want you to recall those few hours, I want your dry bones to quiver with joy when you think of them.
11. Zelda Fitzgerald To F. Scott Fitzgerald
The young love between these two writers was incredibly romantic. In this letter to Scott, Zelda isn't afraid to put her heart on the line and to show how much love they each hold for each other. It's about the best damn thing I've read in a while.
There’s nothing in all the world I want but you and your precious love. All the material things are nothing. I’d just hate to live a sordid, colorless existence because you’d soon love me less and less and I’d do anything — anything — to keep your heart for my own. I don’t want to live—I want to love first, and live incidentally… Don’t—don’t ever think of the things you can’t give me. You’ve trusted me with the dearest heart of all—and it’s so damn much more than anybody else in all the world has ever had.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy (12)