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Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway: Stories of the Inspiration Behind Great Works of Literature
     

Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway: Stories of the Inspiration Behind Great Works of Literature

by Celia Blue Johnson
 

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Every great book begins with an idea, whether it comes to a writer's mind with lightning speed or tugs at the imagination over time. Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway offers stories of the inspiration behind fifty classic works, from The Sound and the Fury, Jane Eyre, and Frankenstein to Anna Karenina, The Bell Jar, and Winnie-the-Pooh. Gabriel García Márquez

Overview

Every great book begins with an idea, whether it comes to a writer's mind with lightning speed or tugs at the imagination over time. Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway offers stories of the inspiration behind fifty classic works, from The Sound and the Fury, Jane Eyre, and Frankenstein to Anna Karenina, The Bell Jar, and Winnie-the-Pooh. Gabriel García Márquez was driving to Acapulco with his family when he slammed on the brakes, turned the car around, and insisted they abandon their trip so he could return home to write. He had good reason to cut the trip short-a childhood memory of touching ice had suddenly sparked the first line to a novel that would become his most famous work, One Hundred Years of Solitude. C. S. Lewis, on the other hand, spent decades pondering the scene that inspired The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When Lewis was sixteen, he had a peculiar daydream: a faun carried a bundle of parcels and an umbrella through snow-covered woods. Lewis was almost forty when he decided to write a novel that grew around the vision. In Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway, you'll discover who Edgar Allan Poe's raven really belonged to, whether Jane Austen's heartthrob Mr. Darcy actually existed, who got into mischief with a young Mark Twain, and what the real Sherlock Holmes did for a living. These delightful stories reveal the often unknown reasons our literary heroes put quill to parchment, pen to paper, or finger to keyboard to write some of the world's best-loved books.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this cornucopia for aspiring writers and trivia fans, Johnson (co-founder of Slice Literary) draws from research, first- and second-hand accounts, and "myths" to explore what inspired some of Western literature's titans and beloved children's authors, including: Tolstoy, Pasternak, Cervantes, Hemingway, Faulkner, Tolkien, Twain, Woolf, and others. Johnson's approach will best suit readers who are familiar with these authors and their signature works, since she assumes prior knowledge and forgoes biographical backgrounds and plot summaries in favor of succinct, genial sketches that enliven the moment creativity struck. Sections often conclude with positive results through publication or subsequent recognition. While some authors were inspired by real personages, memories, everyday incidents, travel, and other stories, others were driven by larger, political consequences (Orwell's Animal Farm), or crimes (Capote's In Cold Blood). Darker sources of inspiration are attributed to Burroughs, who, after killing his wife, wrote to stave off the "Ugly Spirit," and Vonnegut, who recalled the bombing of Dresden. Johnson narrates with wonderment, effectively balancing the romantic image of authors composing in reverie with the reality that disruptions between initial thought and finalized manuscript are common. (Oct.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399536922
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/04/2011
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
8.48(w) x 5.76(h) x 0.95(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Celia Blue Johnson is an associate editor at Grand Central Publishing, the co-editior of 100 Poems to Lift Your Spirits, and the co-publisher of the Brooklyn based Slice magazine. Author website: celiablue.com

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