To all those who most possess my thoughts

What can I say? I have never before been tempted to discuss the intricacies of my own writing — or his own — with any other poet — I have also gone on in a solitary and self-sufficient way — but with you I felt from the first that it must be the true things or nothing — there was no middle way. So I speak to you — or not speak, write to you, write written speech — a strange mixture of kinds — I speak to you as I might speak to all those who most possess my thoughts — to Shakespeare, to Thomas Browne, to John Donne, to John Keats — and find myself unpardonably lending you, who are alive, my voice, as I habitually lend it to those dead men — Which is much as to say — here is an author of Monologues — trying clumsily to construct a Dialogue — and encroaching on both halves of it. Forgive me.

Now if this were a true dialogue — but that is entirely as you may wish it.

— Randolph Henry Ash, in a letter to Christabel LaMotte
A. S. Byatt, Possession

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