The Curious Lives — And Deaths — Of Writers And Artists
  • Nicolas Chamfort: the cool sonofabitch who slit his own throat

    Under threat of arrest during the Reign of Terror, the French writer Nicolas Chamfort (1741 — 1794) shot himself in the head and slit his own throat. Then died of pneumonia while recovering in his bed.

    Whereas Lavoisier was guillotined in the Reign of Terror.

    “A good book is twice as good if it’s short.” Said Baltasar Gracian.

    On August 24, 1847, Charlotte Bronte, writing under a pseudonym Currer Bell, mailed off her unsolicited  manuscript Jane Eyre to a London publisher — and saw it in print seven weeks later.

    Franz Kafka was a vegetarian.

    Balzac, who was five-foot-one, wrote over 2000 characters into his Comedie Humaine.

    Saul of Tarsus — AKA Saint Paul — probably participated in the stoning of Saint Stephen.

    Tarsus is where Cleopatra arrives on her barge to meet Mark Antony, on the river Cydnus, in Turkey.

    Thackery convinced himself that Desdemona did actually have an affair with Cassio.

    T.S. Eliot’s first wife Vivian insisted upon washing her own bedsheets, even when staying at a hotel.

    There is no description of Helen’s beauty anywhere in the Iliad.

    “The Little Marcel” — Proust was called, all his life.

    “Do you think up that material when you’re drunk?” asked William Faulkner’s cousin.

    “No great talent has ever existed without a tinge of madness,” Seneca said Aristotle said.

    One of Robert Frost’s daughters went insane. One of his son’s committed suicide.

    “Life consists of what a [wo]man is thinking of all day,” said Emerson.

    Salvardo Dali once gave a lecture in London while wearing a diving helmut. And nearly suffocated as a result.

    “He alters and retouches the same phrases incessantly, and paces up and down like a madman,” reported a pupil of Chopin’s.

    “Through the dim purple air of Dante fly those who have stained the world with the beauty of their sin,” wrote Oscar Wilde.

    Captain Ahab is a Quaker.

About The Author

Ray Harvey

I was born and raised in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. I've worked as a short-order cook, construction laborer, crab fisherman, janitor, bartender, pedi-cab driver, copyeditor, and more. I've written and ghostwritten several published books and articles, but no matter where I've gone or what I've done to earn my living, there's always been literature and learning at the core of my life.

6 Responses and Counting...

  • Averil Dean 02.24.2012

    “Salvador Dali once gave a lecture in London while wearing a diving helmut. And nearly suffocated as a result.”

    Silly man, always with the pretentious mustache and googly eyes. Would have been a fitting death if the students had watched him slowly fade to blue and fall with a clunk on the lecture hall floor. How surreal, how very droll.

  • Googly eyes for your avatar, wishing he would have painted it (bluer sky, translucent daytime moon).

    I just finished a 12 hour bartending shift, toward the end of which I lectured a couple of customers on the finer points of olive-eating — not that I know much about it, understand. I got the distinct impression, however, they would have had me fade to blue, fall with a clunk to the floor.

  • So, so sexy, the bartending video. Please may I have a mojito? Extra muddling. . .

    I was not aware there was an art to eating olives. We get the kind stuffed with blue cheese, which I attack like I’m taking apart an Oreo. But if the olive is in a martini, what’s to know?

  • “I was not aware there was an art to eating olives.”

    Oh, but there is, Ms. Dean, there is. And if anyone knows his way around an olive, it’s Mr. Pulp. You may quote me wildly on that.

    “We get the kind stuffed with blue cheese”

    I’ll have you know that I and my irreplaceable bar-backs hand-stuff those confounding blue-cheese olives for our customers. In general, I believe people don’t have any concept how much I suffer for the blue-cheese olive.

    “Please may I have a mojito?”

    I thought you’d never ask.

  • “I believe people don’t have any concept how much I suffer for the blue-cheese olive.”

    Yes, but just think how the olive feels.

  • LOL, I never liked olives till I tried one of your blue cheese olives.

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