Friday, July 10, 2009

writers and their crazy lives

July 4th's Writer's Almanac had a nice story of Joyce and his marriage, which is highly recommended and can be listened to here:

Highlights include:

On Nora's decision to leave Ireland with him: "The fact that you can choose to stand beside me in this way in my hazardous life fills me with great pride and joy."

"Nora, for her part, complained that Joyce knew nothing of women. She was utterly apathetic to his writing, and remarked to an admirer of his soon after Ulysses was published: 'I've always told him he should give up writing and take up singing.'"

A somewhat unrelated link, but still in the vein of writers and their interesting lives: did you know Hemingway might have been a Soviet spy in Cuba?

My favorite paragraph:

Although there is no evidence that Hemingway did any actual work for the KGB, his brushes with the clandestine world were apparently intoxicating. He remained infatuated with espionage for the next several years. Upon returning to Cuba, he organized a crew of his drinking and fishing pals and former Spanish Civil War veterans to spy on pro-German elements on the island, even obtaining some funds from the American ambassador to pay for the operation. Later derisively named “the Crook Factory” by Gellhorn, this motley crew outfitted a fishing boat with light weapons and trawled offshore looking for U-boats. While it afforded the writer an opportunity to indulge in fantasies that he was a secret operative, J. Edgar Hoover (then supervising American intelligence in Central and South America) was not impressed, telling subordinates that Hemingway was “the last man, in my estimation, to be used in any such capacity.”
(Emphasis mine)

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