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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062077287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062077288
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 3.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“In this rollicking romp through a gallery of writers whose genius came with a price (alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, and other troubles), Shaffer offers a terrific blend of literary history, biography, and witty commentary.” (Publishers Weekly )

“Entertaining and well-researched.” (Kirkus Reviews )

From the Back Cover

A Wildly Funny and Shockingly True Compendium of the Bad Boys (and Girls) of Western Literature

Rock stars, rappers, and actors haven't always had a monopoly on misbehaving. There was a time when authors fought with both words and fists, a time when poets were the ones living fast and dying young. This witty, insightful, and wildly entertaining narrative profiles the literary greats who wrote generation-defining classics such as The Great Gatsby and On the Road while living and loving like hedonistic rock icons, who were as likely to go on epic benders as they were to hit the bestseller lists. Literary Rogues turns back the clock to consider these historical (and, in some cases, living) legends, including Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Hunter S. Thompson, and Bret Easton Ellis. Brimming with fasci- nating research, Literary Rogues is part nostalgia, part literary analysis, and a wholly raucous celebration of brilliant writers and their occasionally troubled legacies.


More About the Author

Andrew Shaffer is a humorist and author of Syfy's How to Survive a Sharknado (Three Rivers Press) and Fifty Shames of Earl Grey (Da Capo Press). He has appeared as a guest on FOX News, CBS, and NPR, and has been published in Mental Floss, Maxim, and The Daily Beast, among others. You can find him online at www.andrewshaffer.com.

Customer Reviews

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Books that have me checking how much more I have to read because I don't want them to end.
Regina W
Not that Shaffer attempts to romanticize these addicts and mentally ill people, but in a way, we as a culture do.
jrav
Andrew Shaffer has a fantastic sense of humor and wit that makes this book easy and fun to read.
Sheri Newton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In these brief biographies of approximately forty "literary rogues," from the Marquis de Sade (1740 - 1814) to James Frey (1969 - ), author Andrew Shaffer enumerates the many addictions of each author - virtually all of them associated with alcoholism and drugs and/or their frequent carryover into sexual obsession. Significantly, and reflective of the role of women writers during the times about which Shaffer writes, only six women receive more than a sentence of recognition: Mary Shelley; Zelda Fitzgerald, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Dorothy Parker, who were all contemporaries; Anne Sexton; and Elizabeth Wurtzel. While these women could probably hold their own with the literary male alcoholics and addicts of their times, they are small percentage of the small number of women who achieved fame as authors during this period. As Joyce Carol Oates pointed out, "Nobody tells anecdotes about the quiet people who just do their work,"

The first half of Shaffer's book deals with European authors, beginning with the Marquis de Sade, the source of the word "sadism," then moves on to Coleridge, an opium addict; Robert Burns, a hopeless alcoholic; and Thomas De Quincey, addicted to daily laudanum (mentioned in a chapter which also refers briefly to Louisa May Alcott's addiction to laudanum). The English Romantics, including Lord Byron (who may have impregnated his half-sister); Percy Bysshe Shelley; and Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, were hypersensitive, uninhibited, and prone to suicide. Poe, an American who married his thirteen-year-old cousin, used drink and drugs and was also a gambler. Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Verlaine added absinthe to the French drug culture of which they were part.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robbie on February 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Replete with references, this book does not judge but rather presents the Literary Rogues through their own eyes as well as the eyes of their fellow authors and contemporaries. It is an entertaining and insightful look into the lives of these wayward writers of whom Shaffer states "it ultimately wasn't because of their shocking behavior that they left behind anything of value-- it was in spite of it." This book is a must read for any obsessive compulsive reader (that would be me) or student of literary history. Author Andrew Shaffer has successfully penned a scholarly work that won't make you want to stick pins through your eyes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grammar Girl on April 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Shocking, entertaining, engrossing, gross, and sometimes funny. More than once I called out to my husband with "You gotta hear this," and read a passages to him.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By jrav on March 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
From thepickygirl.com:

*This book was offered to me via the publisher, Harper Perennial, in exchange for an honest review.

In January, a friend and I went to a Half Price Books. We separated, looking at the shelves obsessively. As I moved from one aisle to another, I heard this little gem:

"You know Hemingway hated women, right? He was, like, worse than Eminem."

I looked at the only other person in the aisle, who happened to be my friend, and raised my eyebrows. Poor Hemingway. Worse than Eminem. For whatever (ok, some justified) reason, Hemingway has always been the poster child of authors behaving badly. But he was far from the only one, and Andrew Shaffer's Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors takes a look at some of these authors, going all the way back to the Marquis de Sade and running up to (my least favorite) literary bad boy, Brett Easton Ellis.

Though you likely know at least a little about many of the authors included, Shaffer's focus on their addictions and afflictions makes for interesting reading, particularly in the drugs of choice, which change according to trends. Absinthe, opium, and alcohol all make the list, as does LSD. The presence of all that mind-altering material makes you wonder how these people could possibly get any work done. Give me a glass of wine, and I want sleep. Give most of these guys a liter, and they're workaholics.

Literary Rogues is like the crack it refers to so often. Even with my knowledge of almost all of these writers, I didn't want to stop reading. It's a compendium of bad behavior and a testament to the greatest generation of writers and their capabilities.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sheri Newton on February 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
Literary Rogues by Andrew Shaffer is a humorous look at how racy, scandalous, and quite wild literary authors can be. Read about real life authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Oscar Wilde, James Frey, and many more.

Literary Rogues is a book that literary lovers will enjoy reading. It would make for a perfect gift for a friend or family member that has a bookcase (or more) filled with literary classics and New York Times bestsellers. Book lovers love books, and this is one that is about many of their favorite authors, so honestly, you can't go wrong!

Andrew Shaffer has a fantastic sense of humor and wit that makes this book easy and fun to read. I learned more about some of my favorite authors, and enjoyed learning that many of them were also quite eccentric and wild. Authors aren't boring people, and this book really shows how true that is! I love it and highly recommend it for everyone who loves reading, which should really be everyone, right?

* Thank you to the publisher of Literary Rogues, Harper Perennial, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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