Awesome Letters


Written by Poppy Green
20 Sunday 20th May 2012

We’ve cherry-picked the best examples from Letters Of Note and the rest of the web to transport you back to a more mystical time (one before Gmail). We’re here to remind you that long before texting, authors were being filthy by snail mail, and people were making a difference without the aid of a viral YouTube video. And they still are. Yeah, you heard. Some of these are actually from a post-Internet age. I hope you feel lazy.

James Joyce Being Dirty

As every English Lit student knows, the King of Modernism himself, James Joyce, was a dirty bugger. Letters from the famous Dubliner to his darling wife Nora were published in 1975, teaching an entire generation of graduates how to be alarmingly filthy in a really well-written way. Just a few examples to turn you on/off:

“My sweet naughty little fuckbird, Here is another note to buy pretty drawers or stockings or garters. Buy whorish drawers, love, and be sure you sprinkle the legs of them with some nice sent and also discolour them just a little behind.”

Yeah, I know that sounds pretty tame. But this is 1909 lads! And, obviously, it gets better/worse:

“I wish I could hear your lips spluttering those heavenly exciting filthy words, see your mouth making dirty sounds and noises, feel your body wriggling under me, hear and smell the dirty fat girlish farts going pop pop out of your pretty bare girlish bum and fuck fuck fuck fuck my naughty little hot fuckbird's cunt for ever.”

Don’t ever doubt the author of Ulysses, 'cause his letters kick the “bare girlish bum” of your letters. Suck on that, Virginia Woolf.

A Three-Year-Old Getting Shit Done

So, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ll know about the insufferably adorable written exchange between three-year old Lily Robinson and Sainsbury’s employee Chris King. Lily made the observation that tiger bread looks more like a giraffe. Chris agreed and thought her letter was awesome. He signed off, “Chris King (age 27 &1/3)” and with those few words became the world’s best supermarket employee. So popular was this letter exchange that things got a little out of hand, and Sainsbury’s actually renamed the bread. Now I get peckish every time I see a giraffe OR tiger, thanks Lily (my carb intake goes through the roof when I watch wildlife documentaries)!

How To Get A Job

As many of the yoot around the country finally graduate during these next few months, and attempt to climb the scary first rung of the career ladder, the amount of job-related emails and letters thrown into a physical or virtual trashcan will go through the roof. Maybe this guy can provide some cover letter inspiration: when Robert Pirosh, who decided he wanted to be a screenwriter, moved to Hollywood in 1934, he was having none of it. This letter got him three interviews before he then started working at MGM. It seems that all you needed to make it in the Thirties were balls and a thesaurus. It is, however, still worth a read. Less a job application and more of a love letter to language, enjoy getting your tongue wrapped around these convoluted but incredible phrases.

“I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady.

... May I have a few with you?”

David Thorne Being A Dick

It feels like web designer David Thorne, better known as 27b/6, has been annoying idiots for as long as the Internet has existed. Remember the spider with seven legs that even got a mention on a bunch of panel shows? Well, despite a lot of this back-and-forth occurring via email, sometimes things just start in the most time-honoured manner – slipping a note to your annoying neighbour through their letterbox. In David’s latest rant, he reproduces a diagram explaining to his victim (Justin) how his newly installed floodlight happens to be penetrating his bedroom window. Hilarity ensues. Enjoy.

Clementine Churchill Being Awesome

In 1912, a pompous asshole named Almroth Wright wrote a letter to The Times arguing against a woman’s right to vote. A reply was later featured in the paper’s pages from none other than the wife of future Prime Minister herself, Winston Churchill. This beautifully crafted letter has all the wit and sarcasm you’d expect from such a lady, as it proclaims, "Ought women not to be abolished altogether?" A round of applause goes to Clemmie for her (then anonymous) contribution to the debate. We particularly enjoy her sign-off, which is heaving with a ‘fuck you’ sentiment –

“Yours obediently,


("One of the Doomed")”


A First Class Stamp cost 60p. Go send a letter.

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