By John Gross
The dictionary defines an anecdote as "a brief account of an enjoyable or attention-grabbing incident," and the anecdotes during this assortment greater than reside as much as that description. a lot of them provide revealing insights into writers' personalities, their frailties and insecurities. a number of the anecdotes are humorous, frequently explosively so, whereas others are touching, sinister, or downright bizarre. They convey writers within the English-speaking international from Chaucer to the current performing either unpredictably, and deeply in personality. the diversity is extensive -- this can be a booklet that reveals room for anecdotes approximately Milton and Margaret Atwood, George Eliot and Salman Rushdie, Chinua Achebe and Bob Dylan, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Wittgenstein. The authors of the anecdotes are both various, from the diarists John Aubrey, John Evelyn and James Boswell to fellow writers equivalent to W. H. Auden, Harriet Martineau, Walter Scott, Evelyn Waugh, and Vanessa Bell. it's also a publication during which you will discover out which nice historian's face used to be unsuitable for a baby's backside, which movie megastar left a haunting account of Virginia Woolf no longer lengthy prior to her loss of life, and what Agatha Christie rather considered Hercule Poirot. the recent Oxford booklet of Literary Anecdotes is a ebook not only for fanatics of literature, yet for somebody with a flavor for the curiosities of human nature.
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Additional resources for The New Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes (Oxford Books of Prose & Verse)
1606–1668 (dramatist and Poet Laureate) Mr William Shakespeare was wont to go into Warwickshire once a year, and did commonly in his journey lie at this house in Oxon, where he was exceedingly respected. g. Sam Butler, author of Hudibras, etc, say that it seemed to him that he writ with the very spirit that did Shakespeare, and seemed contented enough to be thought his son. He would tell them the story as above in which way his mother had a very light report, whereby she was called a whore. John Aubrey, Brief Lives, late seventeenth century Edmund Waller .
The pantiles appeared to have attracted very little notice; but the narrowness of the bricks, and the peculiar forms of certain tobacco-pipes, found mixed with both, had excited some little wonderment among the labourers. I asked several how they thought these things came there, and was answered by an ignorant shake of the head. ’ I touched a chord that connected these railway ‘navvies’ with the shipwrecked mariner, and that bounded over the intervening period in a single moment. Every eye brightened, every tongue was ready to ask or give information, and every fragment became interesting.
1618–1667 I believe I can tell the particular little chance that ﬁlled my head ﬁrst with such chimes of verse as have never since left ringing there: for I remember when I began to read, and to take some pleasure in it, there was wont to lie in my mother’s parlour (I know not by what accident, for abraham cowley she herself never in her life read any book but of devotion), but there was wont to lie Spenser’s works. This I happened to fall upon, and was inﬁnitely delighted with the stories of the knights, and giants, and monsters, and brave houses which I found everywhere there (though my understanding had little to do with all this), and by degrees with the tinkling of the rhyme and dance of the numbers; so that I think I had read him all over before I was twelve years old, and was thus made a poet as immediately as a child is made an eunuch.