Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Fun Facts on Authors

Charles Dickens :
His most famous story, A Christmas Carol, became more popular than his other classics, such as Oliver Twist, though it received less attention from literary critics than some of the other Dickens’s novels. Dickens, at age 31, wrote the short novel in 6 weeks and rushed it to be published before Christmas. The book was out December 19, 1843—the same year that the first Christmas card on record was sent. A Christmas Carol was Dickens’s first unserialized work. Most of the characters were based on people he knew personally, including Ebenezer Scrooge—based on Ebenezer Scroggie, a counselor at Edinburgh. Within its first year of publication, A Christmas Carol sold 15,000 copies and inspired the production of about 10 stage dramas.

Jane Austen:
July 1814, when Sir Walter Scott’s first novel Waverly was published, Jane Austen was a bit jealous. She wrote the following in a letter to her niece.
“Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones.—It is not fair.—He has fame and profit enough as a poet, and should not be taking the bread out of other people’s mouths.—I do not like him, and do not mean to like Waverly if I can help it—but fear I must.”
Ironically, today Jane Austen is a much more popular author than her contemporary Sir Walter Scott.

John Keats:
John Keats was only about 5 feet tall—nevertheless, by the time he died at age 24, he was a literary giant, surpassing any other 24-year old English writer. We can only wonder if Keats were to live to be an old man if his popularity today would exceed that of Shakespeare.

John Milton:
John Milton composed the greatest epic in the English language Paradise Lost after he was blind (between 1658 and 1664). He claimed that he received nightly divine inspiration, and during the day he composed his epic. Paradise Lost is packed with biblical and mythological allusions—attesting to Milton’s vast knowledge and incredible memory.

Harry Potter sold about 400 million copies worldwide and has been translated into over 65 languages.
Though before the book's popularity, Joanne Rowling had some difficulty finding a publisher that believed her book could amount to anything. Finally Bloomsburry Press agreed to publish the first edition of Harry Potter, but only printed 500 copies for the first edition for fear of them not selling. Also the publisher requested that the author would not use her first name (Joanne) but rather her initials to make it less obvious that the author is a woman assuming that the book's main audience young boys would not want to read a wizard book written by a woman. Since Joanne Rowling did not have a middle name, she chose K for Kathleen.

Leo Tolstoy:

  "Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly"
· Tolstoy was very sceptical about his writing jobs, including "War and Peace". In 1871 he sent a letter to a friend: "I am so happy.. that I won't right trifles like "War and Peace" any more!
· He always wore a miniature portrait of JJ Rousseau instead of a cross on his neck
· Leo Tolstoy's wife had to copy out War and Peace seven times by hand because typewriters and printers didn't exist yet

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