Literary Fun Fact of the Day: Modern novelist and professional pretentious douche bag Johnathan Franzen told Entertainment Weekly that he doesn’t like J. D. Salinger. “Salinger’s fiction seems to me a slender reed on which to hang the weight of world-changing genius that’s currently being ascribed to him.” It’s obvious what’s happening here: somebody’s jealous that a fictional family is smarter than him.
Literary Fun Fact of the Day (Halloween Edition!): Guess which famous feminist writer is in this picture? Can’t tell? It’s Virginia Woolf! On Feb 7, 1910, she and 5 friends boarded the pride of the British Royal Navy, the HMS Dreadnought, dressed in blackface and outlandish stage costumes. In what became known as “The Dreadnought Hoax,” the six convinced the Dreadnought’s officers that they were the “Emperor of Abyssinia” (now Ethiopia) and his entourage, and they were received with high honors.
So Virginia Woolf fooled the military. Uh, who knew she was such a badass?
Note: Do not try this costume at home. It’s kinda racist.
Literary Fun Fact of the Day: IT’S FITZGERALD IN DRAG, Y’ALL! My inner Hemgerald (Fitzingway?) fan girl likes to think that Ernest Hemingway had this picture pinned up in his bedroom, where he stared longingly at it into the night…
Anyways, Fitzgerald played a show girl in the Princeton Triangle Club’s musical, “the Evil Eye.” (If you’ve ever read This Side of Paradise, you might remember that Fitzgerald’s fictional alter-ego, Amory, was also part of the PTC.) These pictures appeared in The New York Times, which called Fitzgerald “the most beautiful” showgirl in the production.
I think this picture might just explain Nick Carraway’s latent and totally awesome gayness, but we’ll save that topic for another day…
Literary Fun Fact of the Day: J. D. Salinger actually wrote a lot of The Catcher in the Rye while hiding out in foxholes during World War II. For more info about his war days, you should definitely read Kenneth Slawenski’s Salinger, a Life, which is pretty freaking awesome.
Here’s a rare photo of Jerry during his war days. The rareness of this photo strikes me as funny because while it’s rare because no one had ever seen it until this year, I like to think it’s rare because it’s one of the few pictures I’ve seen of Salinger where he looks genuinely happy.
Literary Fun Fact of the Day: Right when Ernest Hemingway had only just met future bff F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald asked Hemingway to take a trip with him. Hemingway happily obliged, but soon realized he had made a mistake; Fitzgerald decided to convince himself that he was dying of lung failure and made Hemingway run all over town looking for a thermometer. On top of that, Fitzgerald randomly fainted at breakfast the next morning, causing a perturbed Hemingway to note in his memoir, A Moveable Feast, that he should only go on trips with people he loves.
I know I’ve posted this picture before, but it never gets old, man. Here’s a visual interpretation of Hemingway’s thoughts during that trip:
Literary Fun Fact of the Day: While Walt Whitman was an advocate of man, few know that he was also quite found of men- Oscar Wilde being one of them. That’s right, you guys- WALT WHITMAN AND OSCAR WILDE DID IT. Even better, when talking to the press the next day about his first meeting with Wilde, Whitman described him as a “great big, splendid boy.” How did history come up with this before the fan-fiction writers did?
For the full story, read this article, which is possibly the best thing on the Internet.
Still don’t believe that Whitman was gay? Read Leaves of Grass- or just look at his sassy pose below. Werk it, Walt.
Literary Fun Fact of the Day: Franz Kafka, the novelist in most need of a big hug, if you ask me, came to a tragic, early end by starvation brought on by tuberculosis- it was too painful for him to swallow anything. Ouch. However, Kafka got lucky- years later, his sisters were all murdered in concentration camps, as their family was Jewish.
I’m sorry that this fact wasn’t incredibly fun. To make up for it, here’s a picture of Franz wearing a snazzy hat whilst sitting next to a suspicious looking dog that makes me think of Sirius Black’s animagus form.
SERIOUSLY THOUGH THAT THING IS A GRIM AND THAT’S WHY KAFKA DIED SO YOUNG
Literary Fun Fact of the Day: Kierkegaard, the wildly depressed father of existentialism, actually invented the word “angst” to describe the way he felt most of the time.
Kierkegaard was the world’s first angsty teenager!
The more you know