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The New Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes (Oxford Books of Prose & Verse)
In The New Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes, master anthologist John Gross brings together a delectable smorgasbord of literary tales, offering striking new insight into some of the most important writers in history. Many of the anecdotes here are funny, others are touching, outrageous, sinister, inspiring, or downright weird. They show writers from Chaucer to Bob Dylan acting both unpredictably and deeply in character. The range is wide--this is a book which finds room for Milton and Shakespeare, Mark Twain and Walt Whitman, Kurt Vonnegut and P. G. Wodehouse, Chinua Achebe and Salman Rushdie, James Baldwin and Tom Wolfe. It is also a book in which you can find out which great historian's face was once mistaken for a baby's bottom, which film star experienced a haunting encounter with Virginia Woolf not long before her death, and what Agatha Christie really thought of her popular character Hercule Poirot. It is in short an unrivalled collection of literary gossip offering intimate glimpses into the lives of authors ranging from Shakespeare to Philip Roth--a book not just for lovers of literature, but for anyone with a taste for the curiosities of human nature.
We're in the room as literary history is made
By Jesse Kornbluth "Head Butler"
- July 17, 2006
Civilians like to imagine that writers talk about writing when they get together. I'm sure, in all of literary history, that has happened several times. But it is not a favorite subject. Sex is. As is Food. Travel. Money. The perfidy of rivals. And did I say money?
Those are ordinary topics. But that doesn't mean we have nothing to gain from hearing what writers have to say about them. These are writers, remember? They're at the most clever when they're envious, scornful or otherwise out of sorts.
John Gross, editor of this anthology, is a particularly witty example of the breed. I stood by him at a party once, and, though I am said to be not entirely dull, I remained mute for a good twenty minutes. Gross spoke in epigrams. He could go lofty or vulgar. He was wise and wicked, and, most of all, funny. No surprise that he has edited a book with those same qualities.
Anecdotes are compressed stories, the more compressed the better. Like this one, about... read more
By Diane C. Fox "email@example.com"
- March 6, 2013
I was amazed at how uninteresting most of the anecdotes truly are. The 18th century writers had a bit more dash to their stories, which I expected. Maybe the best stories were left on the cutting room floor out of respect.
The New Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes
By Barbara And Byron Skinner
- November 4, 2006
This book is more a reference book then something readable but it does have its moments. If you have a few minutes to kill and are looking for something a little light and amusing this book may fit the bill.
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