Monday, May 17, 2010

DID YOU KNOW?! CONTINUED!

Here we go --- more fun facts!


Charles Dickens

  • Dickens' first novel, The Pickwick Papers, was published when he was just 24; after that, he was financially set for life. Lucky.
  • He had a little bit of OCD going on: the objects on his desk had to be in exactly the same position each day before he could begin writing. He also touched objects 3 times for luck and liked attending seances.
  • He was pretty much the Stephen King of his day: adored by legions of loyal friends, but unloved by critics (and foppish wits like Oscar Wilde)
  • Oh, how sweet! Dickens' pet names for his second wife, actress Catherine Hogarth, included "Dearest Pig" and "Donkey"
  • Oliver Twist was the first book in the English language with a child as its hero. Huh!

Charlotte & Emily Bronte
  • Little geniuses: As children, Charlotte and Emily created an imaginary world called "Glass Town" which they populated with the "descendants" of their brother Branwell's wooden soldiers. Hey, I created a world populated by my Playmobiles!
  • A lot of death ran in the family: the girls' mother died when they were small children; their older sisters died at boarding school (Jane Eyre inspiration, probably); their brother Branwell got alcohol poisoning and died a while later; at his funeral, Emily caught a cold and never recovered; and Anne died of tuberculosis. Charlotte outlived all her siblings, dying at 38 also of tuberculosis
  • Emily based the brooding character Heathcliff on her own brother, Branwell, an alcoholic and womanizer

Emily Dickinson

  • Emily was never a social butterfly. She once described the dictionary as her "only companion" and books as "the strongest friend."
  • In the 55 years she was alive, Emily left her home of Amherst no more than a dozen times
  • Emily was so reclusive, she forced doctors to "examine" her from behind a closed door
  • Popular legend has it that you can sing almost any Emily Dickinson poem to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas," "Amazing Grace," or the theme from Gilligan's Island. Seriously, try it! It's because she wrote in iambic tetrameter, the same rhythm used in such songs

Louisa May Alcott

  • By Louisa's own words, the Alcott family was "as poor as rats." When they had money, they ate vegetables - otherwise, meals generally consisted of apples and bread.
  • Louisa was a very daring and spirited individual and she was known for taking dares, like rubbing red peppers into her eyes or jumping off the barn.
  • Alcott never married, but she did have crushes on nearby literary notables Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Being single didn't bother her, though: "I would rather be a free spinster and paddle my own canoe," she once said.
  • She died two days after the death of her father - they had a joint funeral.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens ---- err, Mark Twain
  • He was a trickster as a child, and notably put snakes in his aunt's sewing basket, hid bats in his pockets for his mother to find, and faked his own death to get out of going to school. Sounds pretty Tom Sawyer-y, doesn't it!
  • "Mark Twain" means "safe water--twelve feet deep" and by age 28, he was using this phrase as a pen-name. However, his first appearance in a magazine was as Mike Swain, because the editor couldn't read his handwriting!
  • As much money as Twain made from his literary career, he would often lose it by investing in the wrong gadgets: he once lost $200,000 on a failed typesetting machine (and that was in the 19th century!)
  • Twain was a cat-lover and gave his feline friends names like Lazy, Satan, Sin, Cleveland, Pestilence, and Famine

6 shout-outs!:

Kelly said...

Ooo those are really fascinating! :)

Allie said...

I love Mark Twain. He was such a cool man!

Milli said...

Wow, the Brontes were not lucky people, were they? I should try that Emily Dickinson song thing:D

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Awesome. I loved reading this. Louisa was pretty!

Whitney said...

Great post! It's awesome that I could sing any Dickinson poem to the Gilligan's Island theme song :)

Rachel said...

This is one of the most interesting posts I have read in a long time! Thank you!

 
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