Recommended Viewing: a 1952 documentary about William Faulkner and his hometown.
At the bottom of this picture is a urinal Ernest Hemingway once took from Sloppy Joe’s bar. He did it in part to piss off his wife, but also because he had “pissed away” so much of his money into the urinal that he owned it.
On June 25, 1903, in the tiny town of Motihari amid the torrid heat of the Indian plains, Ida Mabel Blair delivered her second child, a son. Her husband Richard was an Assistant Sub-Deputy Agent in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service of the British Raj. The opium trade between British India and China had been legalized since 1860 (although opium was still illegal in India) and the government had a whole department to attend to cultivating and exporting it. The Blairs named their newborn Eric. Eric Blair would go on to become one of the greatest writers of the century, an acknowledged master of prose who would be known in all corners of the globe, not by his given name but by his pen name: George Orwell.
”[George] Orwell’s birth home has languished in dilapidation for decades. Damaged by an earthquake in 1934, it deteriorated into a derelict building that stray animals sheltered in at night or during inclement weather. The homeless also used it; it became a place for people to gather to drink and gamble.”
In true Seinfeldian fashion, Arthur Martine, the Victorian writer behind Martine’s Handbook of Etiquette, drew up a detailed taxonomy of the various species of bore. These include the Loud Talker, who “silences a whole party by his sole power of lungs;” the Malaprop, who masters the art of inappropriate conversation; and the Life-Sharer, who may be familiar to the Facebook addicts of today.
For Germany, the Wagners are what the Atreidai are in Greek mythology. One of them, Atreus, committed a grave sin, casting a curse over all subsequent generations, beginning with Agamemnon and Menelaus, followed by Iphigenia, Orestes and Electra. The family is marked by enmity, as is the Wagner family.
Not quite a TARDIS, but close enough to entice New Yorkers.
Stand on Zanzibar is that rarity among science fiction novels — it really made accurate predictions about the future. The book, published in 1969, is set in the year 2010, and this allows us to make a point-by-point comparison, and marvel at novelist John Brunner’s uncanny ability to anticipate the shape of the world to come. Indeed, his vision of the year 2010 even includes a popular leader named President Obomi — face it, Nate Silver himself couldn’t have done that back in 1969!
“Russia’s most celebrated writers - including Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Nabokov, Bulgakov, Solzhenitsyn and Mandelstam - are often depicted as solitary geniuses. But many of their works were the fruits of creative partnerships with their wives. Far from being passive typists, they served as editors, researchers, translators, publishers and more.”