I was reading "Letters to a Young Contrarian" by Christopher Hitchens. In the preface, he writes a sentence which I can't understand fully.

... I thought I would write you a closing letter by way of beginning.

What does this expression mean? I tried to search it over the internet and tried understanding it comparing to my own language but I can't understand it clearly. Can anyone help me understand what he means here?

  • a letter at the end of something non-specified as a way to begin something else.
    – Lambie
    Apr 29 at 15:38

The sentence is paradoxical.

A closing letter is a final letter in any correspondence.

Hitchens is saying that he will begin by writing a closing letter (a letter that finalises the matter). He is deliberately using a construction that surprises the reader - for the sake of effect. To understand the matter better, we would have to know more about the context.


  • "The sentence is paradoxical" - it is to a contrarian, isn't it? Apr 29 at 19:14

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