|Gustave Flaubert. |
(Not pictured: his mother and his syphilis)
- The first 3000-copy printing of MOBY DICK did not sell out in Melville's lifetime and netted him less than $600.
- Flaubert suffered from multiple venereal diseases and lived with his mother for most of his adult life. Go figure.
- Dostoyevsky was sentenced to death for his radical ideas + was even lined up before a firing squad before his sentence was commuted.
- Ralph Ellison used to copy Hemingway's short stories by hand to get a feel for what it meant to write like him.
- "Un"paralleled: Shakespeare was the first to use "unreal," "uncomfortable," "unaware," "unearthly," "undress" among many others.
- Whitman paid to have the first 800 copies LEAVES OF GRASS published.
- Faulkner's most notable screenwriting efforts were adaptations of novels not written by him: TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT and THE BIG SLEEP.
- M. Chabon got an 155k advance for MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH, after one of his professors, unbeknownst to Chabon, sent it to an agent.
- Coleridge wrote all 300 lines of "Kublai Khan" in one sitting after waking from a dream at 4am.
- At Fitzgerald's funeral, Dorothy Parker reportedly said "the poor son-of-a-bitch," which was also said at the funeral of Jay Gatsby.
- Reading at JFK's inaugural, Robert Frost was blinded by sunlight and so recited "The Gift Outright" from memory.
- Allen Ginsberg once stripped naked during a reading of "Howl" as a retort to a heckler.
- In 1950, Gwendolyn Brooks become the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.