Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors

Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors

Andrew Shaffer

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0062077287

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A Wildly Funny and Shockingly True Compendium of the Bad Boys (and Girls) of Western Literature
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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 fascinating research, Literary Rogues is part nostalgia, part literary analysis, and a wholly raucous celebration of brilliant writers and their occasionally troubled legacies.

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when he was drinking he was about one of the most disagreeable men I have ever met.” In 1842, Virginia was playing piano when she began coughing up blood. Doctors diagnosed her with tuberculosis, the same disease that had killed Poe’s mother, father, and brother. Poe, distraught at the prospect of losing another family member, ramped up his drinking and soon found himself on the doorstep of an old girlfriend, Mary Deveraux. He accused her of not loving her husband; she promptly sent her drunken

abasement of the men of this generation.” Baudelaire’s dislike for Sand may be partially attributed to her ignoring his request to put one of his friends, the beautiful but untalented actress Marie Daubrun, in one of her plays in 1855. But another, more insidious, reason for his hatred can be traced to his jealousy of her voluminous creative output that far overshadowed his own slim volume of work. Baudelaire was a brilliant poet and critic who suffered from many addictions (laudanum, expensive

was tapped after all,” Hotchner wrote. “In the years since, I have tried to reconcile Ernest’s fear of the FBI, which I regretfully misjudged, with the reality of the FBI file. I now believe he truly sensed the surveillance, and that it substantially contributed to his anguish and his suicide.” One of Hemingway’s favorite sayings was, “Man can be destroyed, but not defeated.” But when Hemingway loaded his shotgun for the last time on July 2, 1961, he was both destroyed and defeated. The man who

1943 before being honorably discharged on psychiatric grounds after just eight days of active duty. “I just can’t stand it,” he told the military medical examiner. “I like to be by myself.” Kerouac married his girlfriend, Edie Parker, in 1944; they divorced just two months later. As he said, he liked to be by himself. Back in New York City after his military discharge and divorce, he met the trio of Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, and William S. Burroughs. “What a great city New York is!” he

accustom myself: Ellman, Oscar Wilde, p. 40. 91 Dowson is very talented: Jad Adams, Madder Music, Stronger Wine: The Life of Ernest Dowson, Poet and Decadent (London: I. B. Tauris, 2000), p. 145. 92 Whisky and beer for fools: Desmond Flower and Henry Maas, eds., The Letters of Ernest Dowson (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 1967), p. 441. 92 The sight of young Englishmen: Plarr, Ernest Dowson 1888–1897, p. 23. 92 We will cut a long story short: Ibid., p. 103. 93 Absinthe has the

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