Turns out, there are thousands of dead people on Twitter, many of them writers. And they are dead fun. These accounts tend to fall into three categories: quote machines, parody accounts, and estate accounts. Here's a brief sampling of each:
Not since the bumper sticker has the pithy one-liner experienced such a renaissance. Jokes and flaccid self-help dominate the Twitterverse, so a little craftmanship is welcome in even the most carefully crafted feed.
Note: You gotta knock the champ out.
Representative Tweet: "I am so good a proficient in one quarter of an hour, that I can drink with any tinker in his own language during my life."
Note: Diarist of the Elizabethan Age. This feed gives a daily account of life in 17th Century England. Come for the slice of life, stay for the truly mesmerizing comma-usage.
Representative Tweet: "Took up my wife and Deb., and to the Park. Being in a hackney, and they undressed, was ashamed to go into the tour, but went round the park."
Note: I truly, deeply wish Dorothy Parker was alive for Twitter. Enough to make me want to smash my head on a toilet in hopes of designing a flux capacitor.
Representative Tweet: "Four be the things I'd have been better without: love, curiosity, freckles and doubt."
Note: Add a little gravitas to your feed; it makes all the differance. Or just be reminded why graduate literary studies kind of suck.
Representative Tweet: "we go through the detour of the sign. We take or give signs. We signal. The sign, in this sense, is deferred presence."
Note: Clever, inspiring, and despairing by turn. Sometimes all at once. Side note: I wish Tom Robbins tweeted.
Representative Tweet: "To me, wanting every habitable planet to be inhabited is like wanting everybody to have athlete's foot."
Take one part authorial identity. Add two parts clever interloper. Stir and enjoy.
Note: Satire on the events of the day from the gutter of Romanticism.
Representative Tweet: "Our savage selfish interior lives yearn to be followed, but dread w/ an ugly despair the tedium of following back."
Note: Imagine if the dean of English literary critics sat around watching TV. This would pretty much be the result. Also, I dare you to reverse-engineer the capitalization conventions. See you when you finish in 300 years.
Representative Tweet: "The Goodfolk of Brooklyn gad about clad as Lumberjacks, Jack-Tars & Mesmerists, to my Amusement & Mrs THRALE'S Wonderment"
This is an emerging category, and one I hope becomes robust. These accounts track events, articles, and goings-on about a particular writer.
Note: These good folk index the mind-bogglingly active world of Austen fanaticism and scholarship. From museum exhibits to arcane TV adaptations, they'll cover your Jane addiction.
Representative Tweet: "Mrs. Smith, A Portrait of a Regency Woman from the Rising Merchant Class & Mrs. Poole, Georgette Heyer's Vulgar Creature:http://t.co/dYz"
Note: This one is run by the honest-to-God literary estate of William Styron. Super, super smart move, and one that other literary estates should steal. I'm looking at you, people-who-control-the-David-Foster-Wallace stuff.
Representative Tweet: "Hilarious and cutting: Styron's play set in the Urological Ward of a U.S. Naval Hospital in the South, summer of '43http://bit.ly/gGkHoN"
If you just want a quick glance at these, I've collected them all in a Twitter list (don't need to use Twitter to see).
I'm sure there are other notable dead-writer feeds out there and would love recommendations. Who do you follow? Or what pulseless penman would you like to see Tweencarnated?
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