Friday, November 12, 2010

Literary Fact of the Day Round Up: Oct 28-November 12, 2010

In case you don't use Twitter or for some inexcusable reason have missed a LFOTD from the last couple of weeks, here's a recap:

  • At age 26, Edgar Allan Poe married his 13 year old cousin, Virginia Clemm. 
  • Robert Lowell was a conscientous objector during World War II and spend several months in Danbury's minimum security prison.
  • Edna St Vincent Millay got her middle name from the NYC hospital where her uncle's life was saved just before her birth.
  • The creator of Lifesavers candy was the father of the poet Hart Crane, who drowned in the Gulf of Mexico. (Can't make this stuff up)
  • Wallace Stevens' father disapproved of his son's marriage, and after the engagement announcement they never spoke to each other again
  •  In 1912, William Carlos Williams married Florence Herman, but only after her older sister rejected his proposal.
  • Joyce Carol Oates was Foer's advisor @ Princeton & oversaw his senior thesis, which would eventually become EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED.
  • Annie Proulx and her four sisters had not been all in the same room for more than 40 years until their father's funeral.
  • During the Nazi occupation of Italy, Italo Calvino went into hiding to avoid conscription & the Nazis put his parents in detention.
  • Ralph Ellison wrote over 2000 pages for his second novel, worked on it for more than 30 years, and never finished it.
  • If Dostoyevsky had not submitted CRIME & PUNISHMENT to his publisher on-time, he would have lost his rights to all past & future work.
  • In 1824, Lafayette returned to an adoring US. During his parade in NY, he embraced a boy in the crowd. It was 5 year old Walt Whitman.
  • Princeton has conferred multiple honorary degrees on only one person: Booth Tarkington.
  • Only three writers have multiple Pulitzer Prizes for fiction: Updike, Faulker, and Booth Tarkington.
  • Acutely aware of his condition & ever the wit, Oscar Wilde's last words were "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do." Wallpaper stayed.


  1. Found you through Reddit. Great post about literary theory. Looking forward to reading more.

  2. Oo, love it. I love literary gossip. William Burroughs shot his wife in the head. Ernest Hemingway beat the crap out of Wallace Stevens one time and landed him in the hospital.