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Writers Gone Wild: The Feuds, Frolics, and Follies of Literature's Great Adventurers, Drunkards, Lo vers, Iconoclasts, and Misanthropes Paperback – November 2, 2010
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I'll just give you a taste of the mishaps our authors got into:
When Voltaire was beaten, his friend just said, "You are a poet and you have been beaten. This is the order of things." Ain't that the truth.
Stuart Little was banned from the New York Public Library for "interspecies miscegenation." Upton Sinclair published an obituary for one of his characters to gain public attention. See, even back then authors had to market themselves. William Faulkner worked at the post office and would go through people's mail, throwing away what he thought they didn't need and keeping the magazines for himself. Virginia Woolf dressed up as an Abyssinian prince and fooled the British Royal Navy.
Honestly, most of these stories will make you laugh. Some are disgusting. I have a lot less respect for Ernest Hemingway and a few others. Some authors are examples of how very thin the line can be between genius and madness. I felt sorry for these and several authors, whose talent went unnoticed or ignored, or whose great writing arose from great personal struggle.
I really enjoyed this collection because it does give us a more realistic picture of some of these authors. In a way, it's nice to know that they had to deal with life just as we do. Some caved under the pressure, but others channeled their experiences into their work.
Mary Shelly, how she "was not" invited to Percy Shelly's funeral. Well, that's because women wern't allowed to attend funeral at that time. Elizabeth Riddel, having died of laudnum poisoning? Yes, she did, but she committed sucicide because her husband had had such a long string of lovers, had failed repeatedly upon his promises to finish paintings and help provide income (for which she was almost entirely responsible for providing). Oscar Wilde, visiting a brotel, then coming out and saying it was like cold mutton, and was the first, and last time in ten years, the author makes this out as though he's a freak for saying that, and tells the whole story in such a poor light, but neglects to mention that Oscar Wilde had recently been released from hard labor after protecting his lover from a scandal, and it had ruined his health to the point of near death. He was also suffering from the loss of his wife and children, who left him while he was in prison, and had been seperated (for his own good) from the lover who caused his early death. Where is the sympathy for that man? I feel like that was a horrible story to have in the book.
Most of the stories were about drunk writers, or drugged up writers, and as I said, full of half truths and a tone to paint every charachter in a poor light, depending on the author's desire. It's a shame, had I known, I wouldn't have wasted my money on this. too bad I can't take it back.
If you want the truth, read biographies.
Overall, I found this to be a pretty darn good book. As you might expect with a book like this, you will no doubt have heard some of these stories before, but the author spreads such a wide net that you are sure to find stories that will tickle your fancy. It's a very entertaining book, and I think that you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Writers Gone Wild: The Feuds, Frolics, and Follies of Literature's Great Adventurers, Drunkards, Lovers, Iconoclasts, and Misanthropes by Bill Peschel is both thoughtful and thoroughly entertaining. I can pick it up, read a few pages, and set it down, pick it up a few hours later, read a few more pages, and never miss a beat.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was hilarious. I had to shake my head several times at the bad behavior of these people. Was informative too.Published 6 months ago by Anglophile
Over the last couple of days I've been sampling this book, which is reading it as the author intended. It's not a cover to cover read. Read morePublished on April 11, 2014 by Brent Butler
This book probably won't wreck their views of their favorite authors, but it's not for the very young or for the tender-minded (along with story content, there is some frank... Read morePublished on January 16, 2013 by Leigh G.
Especially if you are a writer and have a tendency to worship those before you. Amazingly, it seems most put their pants on one leg at a time.Published on November 24, 2012 by professor
Malcolm Lowry's mysterious death. Boswell's lasciviousness. Simone de Beauvoir's relationship with Nelson Algren. Hemingway's pettiness. Fitzgerald's drunkenness. Read morePublished on June 24, 2011 by Sam Quixote
A pleasant, readable style and interesting annecdotes make Writers Gone Wild a fun read. There are a wide variety of writers mentioned and the stories range from comic to bizarre. Read morePublished on February 2, 2011 by Barb
In his Writers Gone Wild, Mr. Peschel has captured the essence of each literary faux pas in a pithy and well-written essay that is a delight to read. Read morePublished on January 11, 2011 by Amazing Blair Peery