Check out The Paris Review's DNA of Literature for some clever excerpting of the letters between Edmund Wilson and Vladimir Nabokov. ("Dear Bunny, . . . We have spent most of the summer in Wellesley. I have given up smoking and have grown tremendously fat. We have passed our citizenship examinations. I know all the amendments.")
And a little more:
Tell me: Why do you think that Hamlet has always been so popular on the stage in the English-speaking countries? Of course it’s good but this can’t be the reason. Several of Shakespeare’s other plays ought to be more dramatically effective. It’s true that it gives the star a fat part, but there must be something more to it than this. Do give me the benefit of your opinion on this matter.
There are several reasons why Hamlet, even in the hideous garbled versions current on the stage, should be attractive both to the caviar eater and the groundling: (1) everybody likes to see a ghost on the stage; (2) kings and queens are also attractive; (3) the number and variety of lethal arrangements are unsurpassed and thus most pleasing--(a) murder by mistake, (b) poison (in dumb show), (c) suicide, (d) bathing and tree climbing casualty, (e) duel, (f) again poison--and other attractions backstage.