November 21, 1977 12:00 PM

Chosen by Antonia Fraser

“Adieu! I will kiss your hair and go to bed…I kiss you a thousand times…Eternity in your arms…Heaven, Hell, everything, all is within you, redoubled…Methinks there is poetry in my head and heart since I have been in love with you…Oh! come back, my love, my life, come back…How I long to give myself up in ecstasy to your sweet breath…Without you, dearest dearest, I couldn’t see or hear or feel or think…” Whew. These are only tiny snippets from letters written by famous people or to famous people. Sometimes they sound foolish; often they are touching reminders that love is the one universal experience that demands to be set down on paper. Cyrano whispered words of devotion to Christian so he could woo Roxane. This slim volume is a less obvious aid to courting. (Alfred A. Knopf, $8.95)

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