- Was captured by pirates and spent 5 years as their prisoner
- Had a lifelong stutter
- Shakespeare went prematurely bald, and this gave him a distinguished stage appearance; it is believed that he starred as the Ghost of Hamlet's Father in one particular performance of Hamlet
- Shakespeare was said to "never blot a line," meaning that he rarely made revisions once he had something down on paper (Mozart did this, too)
- His theater group was first known as the Chamberlain's Men, then it became known as the King's Men
- Austen liked Pride and Prejudice better than any of her other novels. Of the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, she said, "I think her as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print." Very modest, obviously
- When discussing the titular character Emma, Austen said she was a "heroine whom no one but myself will much like." Obviously, that has not proved true.
- The Prince of Wales was such a fan of Austen's that he had her dedicate Emma to him.
Hans Christian Andersen
- You can't pick your family. Hans' family history included crime, illiteracy, insanity, and alcoholism.
- At age eleven, Andersen was sent to work at a tobacco factory. He promptly ran away to Copenhagen, but imparted a good quote to his mother before he left: "First one has to endure terrible adversity, then you become famous." Out of the mouths of babes, eh?
- Hans was terribly afraid of death, and especially feared being buried alive. He had a note fastened to his bed that said "I AM NOT REALLY DEAD."
- He was a nature-lover all his life, and he was known to hug trees. For real.
Edgar Allan Poe
- When he was 27, Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, age 13. Eww.
- Poe wrote particularly nasty literary reviews, and used words like "sickening" and "worthless" to describe nearly every writer of the day. The only famous author not lambasted by Poe was Charles Dickens.
To be continued...