An excellent letter of admiration from William Gaddis to Don DeLillo was recently published over at The Daily Beast. It's a reminder that writers are the biggest readers of all, and, by extension, probably even bigger fanboys and fangirls than anyone. To that end, here are a few wonderful fan letters (and one pointed anti-fan letter) from famous authors to their fellow famous authors, ranging from short and sweet to long and flowery.
From William Gaddis to Don DeLillo, 1988
Wainscott, New York 11975
19 July 1988
Dear Don DeLillo.
Why in the world have I waited till the day your Libra gets its nihil obstat from Christopher Lemondrop to send you a note. It showed up in galleys in New York 2 or 3 months ago when things were ghastly (health) about the time I saw you, I looked into it then & should certainly have written without waiting to read it through because my response was immediate, it is a terrific job. I don't know all your work & also hesitate to say to any writer whatever comparing one of his works to another but in this case must tell you I find it far beyond White Noise. Obviously if we take our work seriously we do not try to clone one novel to its predecessor so comparisons are indeed odious, & equally obviously the constantly shattered & reknit & fragmented again style of this new book appeals to me rather more than the linear narrative, when it's always 9 o'clock in the morning at 9 am & 3pm at 3 in the afternoon if you see what I mean; but the hard cover arrived here a couple of weeks ago & I've just read it & confirmed all my earlier impression, its marriage of style & content—that essential I used to bray about to 'students' in those grim days—is marvelously illustrated here I think & especially as it comes together at the end as we know it must, speaking of the 'nonfiction' novel if we must but why must we, except that concept does embrace the American writer's historic obsession getting the facts down clear (from "tells me more about whales than I really want to know" to Dreiser tapemeasuring Clyde's cell at Sing Sing, or Jack London's "Give me the fact, man, the irrefragable fact!") & again one marvels at what you've marshaled in this impressive piece of work. We'll be out of the country for August but may hope to see you in town in the fall, meanwhile high marks.