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John Lennon's letters to be published by Little, Brown

April 8, 2011 |  1:25 pm


The letters of John Lennon will be published in October 2012 by Little, Brown, the publisher announced Friday. "The Lennon Letters" have been compiled in cooperation with Yoko Ono, Lennon's widow. It's the first time she has given permission for a selection of his letters to be published.

Editing the book and writing its introduction is Hunter Davies, the official Beatles biographer, who has tapped Ono's own archives as well as tracked down correspondence from Lennon that is in the hands of collectors, dealers and the original intended recipients.

In the release about "The Lennon Letters," the publisher points out that Lennon, who died in 1980, never had a chance to convert to email. He was inclined to reach for pen and paper:

He lived -- and died -- in an age before emails and texts. Pen and ink were his medium. John wrote letters and postcards all of his life; to his friends, family, strangers, newspapers, organisations, lawyers and the laundry -- most of which were funny, informative, campaigning, wise, mad, poetic, anguished and sometimes heartbreaking....many of the letters are reproduced as they were, in his handwriting or typing, plus the odd cartoon or doodle.

Letters by John Lennon that have come up for auction in recent years tend to do well. Apparently, even people who got lambasted in a letter by Lennon -- like an art critic at the Syracuse Post-Standard -- wanted to save what he'd written. That letter to the art critic, handwritten by Lennon in 1971, sold in 2003 for more than $38,000.

Although the price for "The Lennon Letters" has not yet been announced, it will be considerably less.

After the jump: a video of John Lennon's "Starting Over," for your Friday afternoon enjoyment.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: The Beatles -- from left, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon -- in Bel Air in 1964. Credit: Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times