Storyline: The transcendental trickster opts for relatively abbreviated lives in his mystic quests to fathom the unfathomable through imaginative and literary means, while opting for redesigned N’ names in his desire to create novel personae to go along with his lonelyheart searches.

Nathanael West (Nathan Weinstein) (1903-1940) - American writer. Outer: Of Russian-Jewish descent. Both parents were German-speaking Lithuanian immigrants. Father built up a successful construction contracting business. Oldest of 3, with two younger sisters. Took full advantage of NYC and its theatrical, as well as its high and low culture, often skipping school to get his education directly from the teeming urban landscape at his disposal. Despite reading widely, with a particular fascination for Russian literature and Christian his/story, he evinced little interest in academics, and wound up forging his high school transcript to gain entry into Tufts Univ., then, after being kicked out, appropriated the record of another student with the same name, and got admitted to Brown Univ., where he met lifelong friend and fellow writer, S. J. Perelman. While there, he showed the same ambivalence towards the school’s official curriculum, preferring to continue to self-educate via his own reading. Won the sarcastic sobriquet of ‘Pep’ while there for his laconic style. After barely getting his degree, he went to Paris for several months, and renamed himself Nathanael West, although found the City of Light somewhat of a disappointment. On returning home, his father’s business suffered reversals, and he was forced to fend for himself, ultimately taking a job as hotel night manager, where he had both the space and time to write, as well as give secret free lodging to several of his needy writer friends. Penned his second novel, “Miss Lonelyhearts,” there, a tragic tale of a Christ-obsessed newspaper advice columnist, which failed, at the time, to capture much of the public’s imagination although it would later be discovered after his premature death, and mangled in several movie versions. Along with Perelman, who would become his brother-in-law via his youngest sister, Laura, he bought a farm dubbed 8-Ball in eastern Pennsylvania. Moved to Hollywood afterwards, where he became a contract scriptwriter for Columbia Pictures assigned to B pictures, while living in a hotel which would give him access to many of the peripheral characters who inhabited Tinseltown, desperate for their big break on the silver screen. Found the work uninspiring, while becoming a teacher of sorts for the band of ex-East Coaster literateurs taking advantage of the West Coast’s financial generosity and remarkably low literary standards. Churned out his daily assignments, before heading back east to co-write a play with Perelman, which fared as poorly as his novels. Returned to Hollywood to work for RKO Pictures, and plunged into his masterwork, “Day of the Locust,” a tale of Hollywood cast-asides, which would eventually see the silver screen, although long after he was gone. A lifelong bachelor, in 1940, he married Eileen McKenney, a divorced mother of a young son, who was the subject of her older sister’s “My Sister Eileen,” which had a successful life of its own as a novel, play and movie. Finally began seeing some success with his screenwriting, and bought a house in the San Fernando Valley, although found he had tapped himself out, as he began recycling old ideas. An enthusiastic hunter who often went down to Mexico, and a notoriously bad driver, who no one wanted to share rides with, he was killed in a car crash, along with his wife, when he drove through a stop sign, the day after his close friend F. Scott Fitzgerald (Bret Eason Ellis) died of a heart attack. In a sense, his death was a suicide, as a result of the drying up of his creative well. After his death, his work began to get recognition, first in France, and then the U.S., in keeping with the visionary who saw the future and had to wait for the future to see him. Inner: Somewhat of a dandy, he affected both European values and dress. Shy, quiet and cerebral. Saw the bankruptcy of America in the Depression era, both spiritually and materially and wrote extensively of it in his four novels, using satire, metaphor and a bleak view of his fellow American dreamers. Abrupt lifetime of spending his creative coin relatively quickly, and opting to exit, rather than live out a comfortable, but, for him, empty existence around material success and inventive bankruptcy. Gerard de Nerval (Gerard Labrunie) (1808-1855) - French poet. Outer: Only child of a combat surgeon in Napoleon’s army, who was off in the field for most of his son’s early childhood. When he was two, his mother suddenly died while accompanying his sire. Felt her loss deeply, and developed a rich and somewhat ungrounded imagination in order to compensate for never having had a real mother figure in his life, or a father, for that matter, since he was gone most of his childhood. Raised largely by a maternal uncle on his country estate, in the Valois district, to which he would have a longtime attachment. When his sire returned from the Napoleonic Wars in 1814, he was brought back to Paris, and went to the College Charlemagne, where he met his lifelong friend and fellow Romantic, Theophile Gautier (Tom Waits). A natural bohemian and eccentric, he fell in with the crew of young romantics who gathered round dramatist Victor Hugo (Henry Miller). First showed his literary abilities as a translator, with Johann Goethe’s (Thomas Mann) “Faust,” earning the praise of the great man of letters. A member of the Club of Hashichin, along with Gautier, he used to meet monthly with them and smoke hashish and opiates, as a means of opening up their imaginations. In 1834, he received an inheritance from his maternal grandparents, and promptly wasted it on a love object, a minor actress named Jenny Colon, who showed little interest in him, despite his showering her with gifts, and creating a drama review for her. Despite pointedly rejecting him and marrying another, she would continue to serve as his singular muse, in his convoluted imagination. Had little interest in the material world, preferring the dream and spirit realms, while the theater was his singular worldly inspiration, although he failed to capture an audience with the works he wrote for it. Suffered his first mental breakdown in 1841, and had to be institutionalized, before finding travel and movement to be a soothing therapy for him. Went to the Middle East, and recorded his musings in travelogues. During periods of lucidity, he continued his poetic output, as well as essays, novellas, and failed theatrical works, while also garnering a reputation for being stranger and stranger, including having a pet lobster, which he used to walk on a leash. Institutionalized several times, he continued to try to capture the essence of madness in poetic imagery and metaphor, while dwindling into greater and greater poverty, before he finally hanged himself in an alley with an apron string one night, in one final gesture of mother loss. Had an enormous effect on the subsequent Surrealists, because of his emphasis on dreams, and his hallucinatory language. Inner: Dreamy, depressive and largely unsuited for any reality, other than a sheer literary one. Hallucinatory lifetime of severe mother loss, and an attempt at imaginative and literary recompense for it, in a hanged man’s existence of living between two worlds, and being a real part of neither. Novalis (Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenburg) (1772-1801) - German poet and novelist. Outer: From a noble German family, who numbered diplomat Karl von Hardenburg (David Ben-Gurion) among its earlier members. The second and oldest survivor of 11 children of a depressive salt mines manager who had converted to pietism. Mother was a former servant of his, and his second wife. Initially taught at home by private tutors, before being sent to a religious school at 10, which he despised. Wound up living with an uncle on his grand estate, and took advantage of his huge library, which opened him up to French culture and enlightenment thought. Studied law at a trio of German universities, where he became friends with numerous present and future literary luminaries, including Johann Goethe (Thomas Mann). In 1794, he began working as an actuary, and met Sophie von Kuhn (Eileen McKenney) a young teenager at the time. Became engaged to her the following year, when he went to work as the auditor of a salt mines company. Always fascinated by mysticism, as well as the scientific process, he tried to combine the two, in his literary and poetic speculations. Shocked and deeply depressed by the sudden death of his inamorata from tuberculosis in 1797, he tried to turn her into his muse in order to deal with her deep loss, later publishing his singular finished work, “Hymns to the Night,” in her honor. At the same time he began the study of geology, as well as the practical sciences and philosophy. Began publishing the following year in a magazine edited by his friends, the Schlegel brothers (Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. and Jr.), showing himself to be an incipient Romantic, as he renamed himself Novalis, from an old family name, di Novali. Became engaged a second time in 1798, to a professor’s daughter. At century’s turn he became both an assessor and a director of some salt mines, before being named a magistrate. In true Romantic fashion, he came down with tuberculosis, and the following year, died at home of the disease, while sitting in a chair, as one of his brothers played the piano. Most of his works would be unfinished at his premature death, with several published posthumously. Coined the image of “the blue flower,” which would serve as a subsequent central metaphor for German romanticism. Despite his brief life, able to exert a strong influence on the subsequent development of Teutonic letters. Inner: Mystical, analytical and highly intellectual. Extremely well-read and a fountain of information, which he carefully collected and collated, although never had the time to bring to full mature fruition. Live slow, die young lifetime of romantic and cerebral speculation, in which he would begin the process of serving as a literary spur to a multiplicity of writers in a multiplicity of cultures, all looking to find meaning in a confusing and oft contradictory world. Gaius Julius Hyginus (c64BZ-17AZ) - Spanish/Roman writer, critic and scholar. Outer: Early life unrecorded. May have been either a slave or prisoner of war from Spain, with some sources guessing he was from Alexandria because of his later library work. Won his freedom by imperial decree, and was made superintendent of the greater of the two libraries, the Palatine library, founded by the emperor Augustus Caesar (FDR). Originally a student of an eminent scholar, and then a teacher of and then close friend of the poet Ovid (Leonard Cohen). Wrote on a host of subjects, from biography to bee-keeping and agriculture, along with commentaries on a number of major poets of the time, all of which were lost. Often confused with the second century mythographer of the same name who penned ”Fabulae” or stories based on mythology, which were subsequently labeled crude and simple, and probably unworthy of his lost outpourings. Despite his service to the empire, he fell into great poverty in old age, but was supported at the end by a noted historian. Eventually had a lunar crater and a minor planet named after him. Inner: Widely respected in his own time, although nothing remains of his considerable oeuvre, and to complicate matters even more, he has been confused with a far lesser author of the next century. Strongly cerebral lifetime of serving the informational needs of his own age, only to have all his works swallowed alive by the unforgiving maw of time’s great appetite for all things temporal. Amos (?-745BZ) - Hebrew prophet. Outer: His book would be the earliest to be preserved. A simple shepherd initially as well as a sycamore fig farmer, he received his calling two years prior to a great earthquake. Although he was from the southern kingdom of Judah, he aimed his words at the far more problematical northern kingdom of Israel. Prophesied during a time of prosperity, although he was basically a doom and gloomer, seeing dark days ahead that were not evident to most of the citizenry of Israel. A dissipated sense of luxury pervaded among the upper tier of the kingdom, which made laxity rather than rigid adherence of Mosaic law the norm. The rich exploited the poor, corruption was rife, and a sense of moral righteousness was noticeably absent, while idol worship was rife, as the One God of the Hebrews took a distinct back seat to the old Caananite gods, Baal and Ashtarte and their golden calf idols. A powerful speaker, he used metaphorical imagery to describe the failure of the leaders of Israel to address the fallen state of their flock. Predicted that the hostile neighbors of Israel would get their divine comeuppance, as would those who failed to live up to the Law. Boldly appeared in front of the idol worshippers in Bethel, announcing the terrible punishment his sense of divinity would rain down on them for their sinful slothful ways. Protected by the king, when the chief prophet of the idol worshippers threatened him with bodily harm. Modestly called himself a simple shepherd and no more, and that divinity had sent a man of the earth and the people to reawaken slumbering Israel. Reminded everyone of the good graces of God and ended his remonstrances with a promise that they would be redeemed on the Day of Redemption, and the land would be returned to its full bounty as would their cities, if they came back to their adherence of the Law. Allegedly killed by the son of a priest who worshipped golden calves, although somehow found the strength to stagger home before expiring there. Inner: Simple, direct and uncompromising in his vision of moral righteousness. Strong believer in justice and the omnipotent power of the on-high. May have had a martyr complex like his long-ago antecedent and fellow shepherd, Abel. Devout lifetime of feeling compelled to bring his neighboring kingdom back into the godly fold through fierce words and an unyielding sense of the all-powerful will of the on-high.


Storyline: The questioning quester, part professor, part moralist, part provocateur and part jester, looks to the real world for the answers to life’s mysteries, which lay just beyond his cantankerous reach.

xSaul Bellow (Solomon Bellows) (1915-2005) - Canadian/American novelist. Outer: Parents were Russian Jewish émigrés who settled in Canada. Mother wanted son to be a violinist or Talmudic scholar, and he was able to read Hebrew before kindergarten. 4th child of a cultured household, although father had a violent temper and would beat his children. Had to be hospitalized for 6 months for a respiratory infection and peritonitis at 8. Afterwards, his family emigrated to Chicago, where his sire worked in a bakery, sold wood-scraps and was a sometime bootlegger, making for an impoverished childhood. An avid reader, he saw writing as his vocation from his teenages onward. His mother died of cancer when he was 17, while his brothers held his literary stance in contempt. Attended the Univ. of Chicago, graduated Northwestern Univ, then pursed a doctorate in anthropology at the Univ. of Wisconsin, but abandoned his studies because every time he worked on a thesis, it turned into another story. Married 5 times, the first 4, Anita Goshkin in 1937, Alexandra Tschakbasov in 1956, Susan Glassman in 1961, and Alexandra Tulecka in 1974, including a social worker, teacher, a beautiful Romanian-born mathematician and a graduate student, one son from each of first 3 unions, and a daughter from his last, to Janis Freedman, at the age of 84. Continually traded in his wives for younger versions, and was totally unable to maintain intimate relationships. Classified 2A for service, after a hernia operation, he served in the Merchant Marine during WW II. Worked on the WPA Writer’s Project, and held numerous teaching posts and professorships. Won a Guggenheim fellowship and lived in Paris, as well as toured Europe. Had an epiphany on the streets of Paris in 1949, amidst marriage and creative woes, when street cleaners opened hydrants and he was suddenly awash with inspiration, that allowed him to transcend his first two published works, which were traditional and somber. The experience figuratively opened him up to embrace the human comedy withThe Adventures of Augie March in 1953, his acknowledged masterpiece, which followed the travels and travails of a Chicago child of the slums, that begins, “I am an American, Chicago born,” searching for but never finding his true purpose. Produced a score of noteworthy works, with his protagonists, who seemed largely autobiographical elements of himself, always in search of elusive truths about themselves, although he was criticized in his latter novels with being too repetitious and essayistic. Bore grudges against all his critics, as well as his supporters, when he detected less than effusive enthusiasm from them. Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976, criticizing modern writers for their limited view of humankind, and remained a curmudgeonly literary voice into old age. Also won an unprecedented 3 National Book Awards, in 1954, 1965 and 1971, as well as a Pulitzer in 1976, for Humboldt’s Gift, despite belittling the award in the book. Almost died of food poisoning in 1995. Taught at the Univ. of Chicago’s Committee of Social Thought for three decades and later, outed his deceased friend, Allan Bloom, a conservative political philosopher, in the thinly disguised Ravenstein, revealing he had died of AIDS, as a coda to his own sense of betrayal by the world. Became far more conservative and pessimistic as he grew older, while ending his teaching career at Boston Univ. Asked a friend on his deathbed, "Was I a man or a jerk?" Died at home of liver failure surrounded by family. Inner: Narcissistic realist, with strong attention to detail. Engaging raconteur with a cruel wit. Highly opinionated, uncompromising, with a view of art as the stillness in chaos. Cranky, cantankerous, impossible to live with and difficult to maintain amicable relations with. All of his relationships were fuel for his fiction, further distancing himself from his intimates. Humanist but profoundly alienated from American life, finding it progressively bleaker and bleaker. Autobiographical lifetime of exploring his projected imaginative self through his works rather than his life, while remaining in a state of continual self-protection against the intrusiveness of the outside world. xEmile Zola (1840-1902) - French novelist. Outer: Father was an Italian who had emigrated to France and became a civil engineer. Mother was of peasant origins. When their son was two, the family moved to Aix-en-Province, where his progenitor died of pleurisy five years later, leaving the family destitute. Boyhood friend of artist Paul Cezanne (Alain Resnais). A fraudulent bankruptcy subsequently deprived them of their inheritance, and sullied his father’s name. Lived with his mother and grandparents in great poverty, creating an overweening desire for recognition that would motivate him the rest of his literary life. Began writing pastoral odes as a teenager, publishing them in his mid-20s. Moved with his mother to Paris at 18, and failed twice to get his baccalaureate, giving him bleak prospects for the future. In strained circumstances for two years, he lost his interest in poetry, as well as his romantic sensibilities, and began writing realistic novels, beginning with the unsentimental tale of a hapless youth’s attempt at reforming a prostitute. Became a clerk to a bookseller and then a journalist, drawing attention to himself through his scathing art critiques, which allowed him to support himself as a writer. At 30, he married Gabrielle-Alexandrine Meley, his devoted mistress, after living together for five years, and added his mother to the household, who stayed with them until her death. Mutually supportive, albeit childless, relationship. His blistering near-pornographic novels made him the most controversial and popular novelist in France. Best known for his series of sordid portraits of a set of families, the Rougon-Macquarts, which limned all of French society. Became the founder and chief proponent of French naturalism, which had a profound affect on world literature. Viewed environment and hereditary as all-important in the creation of humanity. Also was a talented amateur photographer. Friends with many of the leading literary luminaries of the day. In his late 40s, he fell in love with Jeanne Rozerot, a laundrymaid nearly three decades his junior, and had a daughter and son with her. Failed to be elected to the French Academy, despite numerous applications, then became embroiled in the controversy surrounding the Dreyfus case. As the best known defender of the Jewish captain who had been railroaded to Devil’s Island on trumped up spy charges, he published his adversarial J’Accuse against the French army, which resulted in his trial and conviction on libel against the army at century’s end. Fled to England, was deprived of his post in the Legion d’Honneur but returned when a new trial was set for Dreyfus. Died three years later, when the smoke from a fire in his bedroom got trapped in a defective chimney flue. Given a state funeral. Inner: Burningly ambitious with a great quest for fame and recognition. Fervently moral and deliberately provocative, but also filled with self-doubts and a morbid fear of death. Neurotic, depressive, hypochondriacal, and subject upon occasion to quasi-hallucinations. Deterministic, with an obsessive attention to detail, rigid. Moralistic lifetime of recreating himself from abject beginnings into a powerful literary force by paying close attention to his surroundings and recreating them in acute, sordid detail, before accusingly stepping stage-center himself, to test his power against the powers-that-were. Jean-François Marmontel (1723–1799) - French writer. Outer: Father was a poor tailor. Studied with the Jesuits, and then taught in provincial colleges, while holding a lifelong fascination with literary theory. Asked to come to Paris by the eminent man-of-letters Voltaire (Michel Foucault) in 1745, he became one of the first to make a living off his literary pen. Began his public career with a series of tragedies, which enjoyed enough modest attention to gain him access to the city’s cultural circles. Later collaborated on several comic operas. Gained the important patronage of the king’s mistress, Mme. Pompadour (Raisa Gorbachev) in 1758, and through her, won both a position as a civil servant and a management position of the official journal “La Mercure,” where he published his “Moral Tales,” which were an important contribution to the Enlightenment’s sense of virtue as a high ideal, while giving graphic view of current French society. Married, with children. Elected to the Academie Francaise in 1763, and two decades later, became its perpetual secretary. One of his best known works was “Belisaire,” a thinly disguised piece on the Byzantine general Belisarius (V. Lenin), that urged the French monarch Louis XV (Mikhail Gorbachev) to adopt the stance of the philosopher-king. His call for tolerance for Huguenot Protestants in his Catholic nation provoked considerable controversy, although he never abated his decidedly liberal views, and ultimately fed into Huguenot emancipation. Contributed highly penetrating essays on literary theory to the Encyclopedie, proving quite prophetic in his acute perceptions, and was on intimate terms with a goodly number of encyclopediasts, whom he would later limn in print. In 1772, he was appointed Historiographer of France, then finished his career as professor of history at the Lycee in 1786. Two years later, he wrote a his/story of the regency. The French Revolution reduced him to poverty, and he was forced to retire from Paris to a small cottage in the provinces. Wrote his “Memoires” there, a four volume work which was published towards the end of his life, and would prove to be his most abiding legacy, detailing his impressions of the intellectual life of his century. Returned to Paris briefly in 1797, when he was elected to the Council of the Ancients. Inner: Extremely perceptive and intellectually honest, with an his/storian’s eye for detail, and a literateur’s facility with language. Eyewitness lifetime of direct involvement with the intellectual ferment and excitement of his times, along with the innate ability to survive its excesses with his cerebral and moral reputation intact. xPierre Corneille (1606-1684) - French playwright. Outer: From a family of magistrates. Son of a government official who was supervisor of forests and waters at Rouen. Eldest of 7, younger brother Thomas (Harmony Korine) also became a dramatist. Entered a Jesuit school at nine, winning prizes for his Latin verses, and professing a great admiration for his teachers. Studied law, but ceased practicing because of a speech defect. Entered the Rouen Parlement at 22, where he served for twenty-one years. Purchased two government posts, and began his writing career with love poems, and then dramas, starting with comedies of manners. His work pleased the court, and further successes made him vainglorious and boastful. Having won the enmity of previous collaborators as well as rivals, he entered into a full-scale literary battle over the ethics expressed in his play, Le Cid. After a battle royal that was settled by the Academie Francais, he felt deeply wounded by his critics and left the theater for three years. Broodingly compromised his stance and continued his dramatic career. Father was ennobled two years before his death, after which the playwright was entrusted with raising his younger brother, Thomas. In 1640, he married Marie de Lamperiere, six children from the union. A decade later his brother married his wife’s sister, and all lived happily in adjoining houses, sharing their means. His next three plays were considered his masterpieces, combining tragic characters, high ethics and a majestic style, although his powers soon waned, and he once more withdrew from playwrighting for nearly a decade after a failure. Continued to write verse and religious poetry, but his last dramas were inferior. His professional failures were compensated for by a happy home life and a deep sense of religiosity, although his oldest son was a constant drain on his purse. At the time of his death, he was well out of fashion. Inner: Heavy, unimpressive looking, careless about his dress, and surprisingly inarticulate for a man of the pen. Simple, candid and devout. Proud, sensitive, intellectually timid despite his dialectical brilliance, and self-tormenting. Forever revising his works. Had a penetrating insight into the problems of his time, and was a thorough realist in all he wrote. Problem-producing lifetime of evincing some of the difficulties of character that he would later focus on in order to try to release them, while continuing to develop his abilities as a master of dealing with contemporary complications upon the stage, if not his life. Philemon (c362BZ-c262BZ) - Greek dramatist and poet. Outer: A Sicilian by birth, he moved to Athens before the age of 30, where he became a popular practitioner of the New Comedy, which employed the mundane world and recognizable contemporary characters for its theatrical material. Repeatedly beat out his main rival Menander (Harold Pinter) in the poetic contests held there, and also shared his notorious mistress, Glycera. Their rivalry would ultimately cause Menander’s suicide in bitter frustration, since the latter felt he was clearly the superior dramatist. Married with a son of the same name, who was also a playwright. Known for his showy pieces, which have fared far less well to the taste of the ages. Spent some time at the court of the Egyptian pharaoh, and on his journey there, was captured by the Cyrenian king whom he had satirized, although he managed to survive the ordeal. Otherwise, he lived out his long life in Athens. Ultimately reached his 100th year, and legend has it, he either succumbed while being crowned upon the stage, or died after a violent outburst of laughter. Nearly penned a play for every one of his years, although some credited to him may have been written by his son. Inner: Centenarian lifetime of enjoying a continued success that was probably beyond his innate talent, which he would later grow into, thanks to an acute literary sensibility, and a deep intelligence to match it.


Storyline: The dyspeptic misanthrope offsets the charm of his literary works with his own demented character, while continually falling prey to his solipsistic disavowal of all but his own depraved interior.

J. D. Salinger (Jerome David Salinger) (1919-2010) - American writer. Outer: Father was a Jewish cheese importer of Polish descent, mother was Scotch-Irish and Catholic, but converted to Judaism after she wed. Both families had objected to the marriage, creating a tension-filled home. One older sister. Grew up in a fashionable section of Manhattan, and had strained relations with his progenitor. Couldn’t adjust to prep schools, and was finally sent to a military academy, before attending a number of colleges without getting a degree, as well as traveling in Austria and Poland at the behest of his father, who thought he should learn the meatpacking business in Europe. Left Austria a month before the Nazi Anschluss in 1938. Began publishing short stories in 1941, then was rejected for the service, before being reclassified and serving for 3 years in the army during WW II as a staff sergeant. Trained with the Counter-Intelligence Corps in England, and took part in the Normandy campaign. Witnessed some of the heaviest combat of the war, further underlying his profound alienation, and was hospitalized for stress as a result. Stayed in Europe after the war, as a civilian working for the army. Briefly married Sylvia Welter, a German Nazi Party functionary he had arrested during the Occupation in 1945, separated after 8 months and divorced two years later. Abstained from sex afterwards, until he met an Irish Catholic high schooler, Claire Douglas, while in his 30s and married her, son and daughter from the unhappy union. Held his wife as a virtual prisoner, refusing to allow her to see friends, while demanding fancy meals as reward for his absolute control over her. The duo eventually divorced in 1967 after 12 years. Briefly served as an entertainer aboard a cruise ship, while continuing to pen short stories. His most successful work was his first, Catcher in the Rye, which followed Holden Caulfield, an alienated prepster obsessed with the phoniness of the adult world, over a weekend in NYC. The book, which took ten years to write and was published in 1951, was an immediate sensation when it went into paperback 2 years later, and entered the canon of modern American literature, as a stylistic masterpiece. His later works were less successful, including several long short stories chronicling the Glass family, in which he attempted to limn the spiritual superiority of his protagonists over the conventional world. His last work to appear in print was a long short story in 1965. Remained silent ever after, refusing to give interviews from the 1970s onward. Lived as a recluse in New Hampshire, shunning one and all, while pursuing a variety of Eastern and Western practices to try to obliterate his unhappy relationship with the world of the flesh. A brief May/September affair with a young writer, Joyce Maynard, shed some further light on his manipulative, dishonest character when she later published some of their correspondence, much to his outraged chagrin. HIs 3rd marriage in his late 60s was to a nurse, Colleen O’Neill, over 3 1/2 decades his junior. His daughter published a memoir in 2000 limning his eccentric practices, and her unwholesome upbringing, bringing a further intrusion into his hermetic, solipsistic universe, while hinting his pen had remained active, and perhaps a further posthumous oeuvre was in store. In 1997, he agreed to publish “Hapworth,” his last short story to see print several decades earlier. Subsequently rescinded the offer, wrapping himself once again in impenetrable silence, where he would remain into his ninth decade, before dying of natural causes at home. Inner: Private to the point of obsessiveness, eccentric, disagreeable, and downright hermetic about all things involving himself. Probably emotionally arrested at the adolescent stage, giving him little insight into adulthood, and therefore little motivation to write about it. People who live in Glass houses lifetime of producing one brilliant work and then turning his back on the world, as well as his own considerable literary talents, for reasons that will probably never be known. Baron Corvo (Frederick William Rolfe) (1860-1913) - English writer. Outer: Son of a piano manufacturer. Raised as a dissenting Protestant, left school at 14 and became a pupil teacher, an unattached student at Oxford and a schoolmaster. Converted to Roman Catholicism, after earlier plotting out a career in the clergy. Tried twice to become a priest, but his attraction to men and his fierce sense of independence led to his dismissal from Scots College in Rome in 1890. Frustrated and embittered the rest of his life because of this rejection. Wandered for 8 years, trying painting, photography, tutoring, inventing and journalism as trades. Liked to call himself Baron Corvo or sometimes Fr. Rolfe. Became a professional writer in his late 30s, beginning with the retelling of the legends of the Catholic saints. Best known for an autobiographical fantasy, Hadrian the Seventh, written in the spirit of revenge on the Church, where an Englishman becomes the pope, after being rescued from a life of literary poverty. A prolific letter writer, he engaged in verbal disputes with his many imagined enemies. After making himself thoroughly unwelcome in London, he went to Venice in 1908 for a holiday and remained there the last five years of his life, alternating between absolute privation and periods of extravagance, whenever friends or acquaintances took pity on him, only to be attacked by him immediately afterwards. After his death from a stroke, he left several volumes of fiction which were published posthumously, as well as several collections of his letters. Managed to alienate almost everyone whose lives he touched. Wrote in an ornate, idiosyncratic style. Inner: Eccentric, disputatious, paranoid, depraved and thoroughly unintegrated socially. Over-the-edge lifetime of purposefully thwarting his sense of spirituality to see what literary lodes he could mine from his profoundly alienated heart and mind. William Beckford (1759-1844) - English writer, art critic and politician. Outer: Claimed to be descended from Saxon kings. Son of a former two-time lord mayor of London. Educated by private tutors, including receiving piano lessons at the age of 5, from 8 year old Wolfgang Mozart (Stevie Wonder). Also well-schooled in languages. Inherited an enormous fortune from his family’s Jamaica sugar plantations at the age of 10, which allowed him to act out his outré fantasies, including his lubriciously libidinous fascination with both genders. Attracted to the 11 year-old son of a viscount, while trying to repress his ineluctable draw to his own sex. Married into the nobility in his mid-20s, to Margaret Gordon, the daughter of an earl, who died three years later in the childbirth of their second daughter. Served as an MP from two districts from 1784 to 1795, and then again from the latter district from 1806 to 1820, although rarely attended Parliament. Expected to be elevated to the peerage, but his relationship with the 11 year old came out, and though never proven guilty, he went into exile with his family, using his travels as fodder for his work. A fairly prolific author and critic, he is remembered for one work in particular, Vathek, a Gothic romance, which he originally wrote in French in 1786. After many years abroad, he returned to England and had a magnificent Gothic mansion of monumental proportions, Fonthill, constructed for himself as a testament to his own sense of grandiosity, although the haphazard construction and his odd architectural ideas made for an extremely strange place. Bought the library of writer Edward Gibbon (Kenneth Tynan), to use as a basis for his own, while amassing a huge art collection as well. Lived at Fonthill for 15 years as a notoriously eccentric recluse, waited on by an army of servants, until he finally depleted his fortune. Growing bored with his estate, he sold it to a munitions dealer and lived out the rest of his life in Bath, taking great delight when his property was destroyed in a strong gale. Ultimately buried in a huge pink sarcophagus as one final testament to his eccentricity. Inner: Classic obsessive/ compulsive personality, capped off by his usual reclusiveness and monomaniacal misanthropy. Aberrant lifetime of having the wherewithal to totally actualize his fantasies, and materially enjoy the power of his own madness. William Collins (1721-1759) - English poet. Outer: Father was a wealthy hatter and twice mayor of his home town. Educated at Winchester College, forming a longterm friendship with Joseph Warton there, with whom he would later collaborate. Published poetry in his teens, and graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford. With an inheritance and supplemental income from his uncle, he was able to live well in London, although he dissipated himself and went into debt because of his extravagance. An accomplished lyric poet, although his output was minimal, and found little response with the public. Wrote in neoclassical forms, while his stylistics were Romantic. Published his first set of poems anonymously. In his late 20s, his uncle died, leaving him enough money to pay his debts. Shortly afterwards, he fell prey to physical disability, depression and mental instability, which he tried to cure by travel, but several years later, was confined in a mental institution. Later released to the care of his sister, he spent the last five years of his life with her, neglected and forgotten by his literary friends who thought him dead. After his death, his sister destroyed his manuscripts. Inner: Precocious, with little real sense of the outer world. Feckless and mercurial, showing flashes of true talent amidst his other dross. Mad hatter lifetime of giving play to his continuing mental stability, and allowing himself the freedom and pain of his profound ongoing anger. Theodore II Lascaris (1221-1258) - Byzantine basileus. Outer: Only son of John III Vatatzes (Bruce Chatwin), emperor-in-exile of displaced Byzantium. Mother was the daughter of earlier emperor Alexius III (Benny Begin). Born the day that his sire ascended the throne after the death of his own progenitor. Received a solid education from the outstanding scholar of the day, and proved himself an intellectual of writerly merit, producing a host of scientific, literary and theological works, while focusing his considerable intelligence on the business of government, so as never to be distracted from rule. Inherited a more severe form of his father’s epilepsy, which deeply impaired his decision-making process as he grew into maturity, leaving him completely drained of energy, and often absolutely prostrate, which fed into his early death. Married Elena, a Bulgarian princess, per his sire’s wishes for an alliance between the two countries. One son and two daughters from the union, with the former, John IV Ducas Lascaris (Sebastian Horsley) his designated successor, although he would literally never see the throne, after being blinded at the age of 11. On his father’s death in 1254, he was acclaimed emperor, inheriting a revitalized empire that extended over most of the Balkans peninsula and much of the Aegean. Forced to deal with a Bulgarian invasion, showing himself to be courageous in the field, with a good instinct for leadership, despite his decidedly cerebral bent. After two campaigns against them, he was able to conclude a favorable treaty with the Bulgars, while expanding on his progenitor’s conquests in the west, only to demand too much for a dynastic marriage between his sister and the despote of Epirus, which resulted in warfare. Forced to employ his most talented, but hated, general Michael VIII Palaeologus (Jean-Pierre Aumont), after earlier having accused him of high treason, which made the latter seek refuge with the Turks. Gave Michael too small an army with which to be effective, so that he wound up imprisoned and in disgrace, knowing full well he would be redeemed because of the emperor’s worsening physical condition. Filled his bureaucracy with members of the middle-class rather than the aristocracy, which caused considerable resentment by the latter group, particularly against his chief minister George Muzalon. Probably would have faced a military revolt, had not his health suddenly and profoundly worsened. On his death bed, following a violent epileptic seizure, he appointed Muzalon regent for his son, forcing his aristocracy to accept him, although their loathing for both the latter and his cronies was such that they murdered him nine days after the emperor’s early death in his mid-30s. Inner: Extremely cerebral, to the point where he was unable to deal with his considerable emotional shortcomings. Capable of violent mood swings, and largely introverted. Never thought in terms of popular feeling, and seemed to take perverse delight in offending the upper tier of his empire-in-exile. Seesaw lifetime of exhibiting all the unbalance of his succeeding go-rounds when his focus was entire literary, after inheriting an empire that was strong enough to withstand his ongoing profound discomfort with himself.


Storyline: The extreme rationalist employs a love of science with a clear, lucid sense of language to become a virtual writing machine, while retaining his kindly humanity and great love of knowledge for its own sake.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) - Russian/American science popularizer and writer. Outer: From a family of Russian millers. One of 3 children, he was brought to the U.S. at 3. As a child prodigy, he taught himself to read before 5, from the shop signs on his street. His father owned a succession of candy stores, to which he was wed, working from 6 AM to 1 AM seven days a week, giving his son the same sense of compulsiveness about his own work habits. Taught his sister to read when he was 8, learned Yiddish at the same time, and despite working in his father’s stores after school, skipped so many grades, he finished high school at 15. 5’9”, 175 lbs, and not particularly coordinated. Sold his first sci-fi story at 18, after discovering the form in his sire’s candy store, despite the latter’s objection to the genre as nonutilitarian. Graduated from Columbia Univ. in 1939, although only achieved mediocre grades, thanks to being one of many bright students, instead of a singular scholar as he was in high school. His “Nighfall,” written in 1941, is considered the finest sci-fi short story ever written by many. Married Gertrude Blugerman in 1942, son and daughter from the union, later divorced in 1973. Served briefly in the navy as a researcher, despite a revulsion at seeing naked men. In 1948, he got his Ph D. in chemistry, although he had to struggle because of a weakness in math, before eventually joining the faculty of Boston Univ., where he discovered his skills as a teacher and expositor. Prior to that, he bottomed out in 1949, when he was unable to find work, or support his growing family, before turning to writing, under the tutelage of John W. Campbell, editor of “Astounding Stories.” Also discovered his skill as a teacher. Published his first book in 1950, and is best known for his sci-fi trilogy “Foundation” written in the 1950s, about the fall of a galactic empire. Married a second time to Janet Jeppson in 1973, one daughter from far happier union. Longtime member and president of Mensa International. Claimed to write ten hours a day, seven days a week for years, producing an astonishing amount of work, nearly 500 books all told, explicating science as a generalist in a clear, lucid style, while also essaying fact-filled guides on the Bible, Milton and Shakespeare, as his/story for children. In the sci-fi realm, he won 5 Hugo awards from his fans, and another 3 Nebula Awards from his fellow writers. Spent almost 20 years on his first 100 books, then 9 1/2 years on his second hundred, then 6 on his third hundred, gradually churning out his extraordinary output faster and faster. Never rewrote anything, and was his own secretary, literary agent and researcher, while viewing almost all social interactions as interruptions to what he loved to do best. Wrote a two volume autobiography, “In Memory Yet Green” and “In Joy Still Felt.” A decade after his death, his wife revealed he had died of AIDS, which had been contracted during a blood transfusion administered during a heart bypass operation in 1983. The official cause of death was heart and renal failure brought about by complications of his HIV infection. Had wanted to broadcast his infirmity, but was overridden by concerns it would prejudice people’s feelings towards his family. Inner: Workaholic, gregarious, egotistical, witty, kindheartedm well-liked and highly verbal. Possessed an astonishing memory, needed only to hear a fact once to know it for life. Had little love for modern works, or literary stylistics, remaining purposefully ignorant of most 20th century fiction, while showing almost no psychological insight into any of his creations. An agoraphobe later in life, rarely leaving his apartment, despite his constantly soaring mind. Employed clear lucid prose and information always trumped poetics with him. Harbored a great fear of flying, doing it only twice in his life. Total rationalist, with no belief in higher powers, and no real interest in anything outside of his own obsession with disseminating information. Grindstone lifetime of explaining everything to everybody, in a celebration of facts, fictions and simple language, coupled with a nonstop capacity for work, and a great need to celebrate both knowledge and scientific imagination. Jules Verne (1828-1905) - French writer. Outer: Father was a magistrate who wished him to follow in the same profession. Both parents were pious, raised a Roman Catholic, although eventually became a pan-Christian deist. One of 5 children, with 3 sisters and a brother. Fascinated by the sea, tried to run off, but was intercepted and punished for it. In love with a beautiful cousin but was spurned by her. Studied law in Nantes, then Paris, but, to his father’s disappointment, pursued a literary career after getting a degree. His early proficiency, coupled with a stint as a stockbroker, eventually won his sire’s approval. In 1857, he married Honorine Morel, a young widow, one son from union, along with 2 step-daughters. His wife was chronically ill, and his son was maddeningly vexing to his father, for his wastrel ways. Had a longtime fascination with aviation machines, constructed his own flying balloon, and won a publishing contract for it. Equally enamored of Leonardo Da Vinci (Gordon Parks) and his accomplishments. In 1864, he wrote Voyage to the Center of the Earth, his first sci-fi novel, and found both an avid reading public, as well as the adoration of the scientific community for his subsequent works and ideas. Best remembered for 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, in 1868, which introduced the character of Captain Nemo, who was an idealistic projection of his masterful self, beholden to no one but higher powers. Retired during the Franco-Prussian War, then returned with his 2nd best-known work Around the World in 80 Days, in 1872, the same year he moved to Amiens. Shot in the foot by a deranged nephew, he walked with a limp the rest of his life. Spent the latter part of his existence on his boats, traveling and also served on the municipal council of Amiens. Made an Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1892. Wrote 2 to 3 volumes a year, felt the antidote to everything, including his failing health, was work and more work. Ultimately penned about 100 books, as well as several plays, with women always in the margins. Became a compulsive overeater to stem continual hunger pangs and ultimately died of diabetes because of it. 5000 people attended his funeral. Inner: Witty, reticent, and extremely unemotional, writing totally from the head. Took a realistic approach to fantasy, using sci-fi as a means to actualize inventive ideas. Taciturn workaholic, his only self-indulgence was the sea. Liberal republican, and anarchist at heart. Cold but worrying father to his children. Bridge lifetime of adding scientific literature to his ongoing curriculum vitae, in order to be a far more well-rounded writer and reach more people, although continued to remain in his head rather than his heart, a symbolic organ which has eluded him in all his lives. Bernard Fontanelle (Bernard Le Bouvier de Fontanelle) (1657-1757) - French essayist and science popularizer. Outer: Father was a lawyer, mother was the sister of the dramatists Pierre Corneille and Thomas Corneille (Harmony Korine). Second of 4 sons, and extremely frail as a child. Attended a Jesuit school, showing great aptitude as a student, before joining his uncles in Paris, and displaying his ready wit and learning. Published his first poem at 20, then collaborated with his uncle Thomas on two musicals, for which Jean-Baptiste Lully (Richard Wagner) composed the music. Not particularly accomplished in the literary realm, he found his true metier in explaining science. Began publishing his critical essays in his late 20s, which were extremely popular, and in 1686, wrote his best-known work, “Entretiens sur La Pluralite des Mondes,” in which he showed how insignificant humanity and the Earth were in comparison with the universe as large. The work aroused interest in scientific inquiry and astronomy. Laid some of the groundwork for science’s rational approach to the universe in opposition to the religious beliefs of the time. In the controversy between the ancients and moderns, he saw nature as a constant, and was firmly on the side of the latter, because of their advanced accumulation of knowledge, which held up his election to the French Academy until 1691, because of the opposition of the pro-ancients. Six years later, he became a member of the Academy of Sciences, acting as its perpetual secretary, and its his/storian as well. Was also honored elsewhere in Europe for his wide learning. A popular figure in the salons of Paris for his charm and learning, although less successful in the literary realm, both in his criticism and mediocre output. Active until 94, when his vision weakened, and in his late 90s, he started suffering epileptic attacks, dying of one just weeks before he would have become a centenarian. Inner: Witty, kind and considerate. Far more rational than emotional, with a brilliance of mind that hid a well-protected heart. Cold on the exterior, although warm within, and largely tranquil. One hundred years of emotional solitude lifetime of championing scientific inquiry and reason, while giving his heart to logic and love of knowledge rather than the irrational sphere of feelings and vulnerabilities. Roger Bacon (c1220-1292) - English writer and philosopher. Known as “Doctor Mirabilis” or “Wonderful Teacher.” Outer: Came from a wealthy family, and had an excellent all-around education to become an individual of immense learning, with a facility for language as well as science. Probably received his master’s degree in Paris after studying at Oxford. Began his career as an Aristotelian, lecturing on the arts in Paris, but around 1247, on his return to England, he began doing scientific experiment and research, taking advantage of the intellectual ferment there, over the next decade, with a particular interest in alchemy and optics, as well as flying in a flapping machine. During this time, he joined the Franciscan order. Most of his contributions were in the sphere of projections, rather than actualized experiments, although he did introduce the West to gunpowder, as well as spectacles, but failed to see the truly destructive potential in the former. Around 1257, he incurred the suspicious enmity of his order, when he acceded to a secret petition by the pope, and wrote his masterwork, Opus majus, a vast encyclopedia on the known sciences. For his efforts, he was sent under surveillance to Paris, where he spent a decade in confinement, while writing in cipher to protect himself. Forced to undergo fasts and menial labor as penance for his active mind. Also pursued mysticism and astrology, since they were the disciplines of his beloved ancient Greeks as well. On the death of the pope, in 1278, he was once again put in confinement for heretical beliefs, thanks to his contentious nature around competitive scientists and theologians of his day and he spent an indeterminate amount of time in that state. Continued his defiant scholarship and writing throughout the rest of his life, with much of his later work incomplete, and is considered the father of English philosophy. After his death, his papers were nailed to the monastery walls at Oxford to rot. Inner: Scientifically bold, but also superstitious and theologically conservative. Unable to countenance those who did not share his interests or views. Intellectually aggressive, with a surety to his pursuits, even when they insured his undoing. Saw his research as deeply religious, since he was looking for capital ‘T’ truths. Pen-in-hand lifetime of doing what he has always done best, compiling and sorting the knowledge of his time, untrammeled by emotional concerns, save for the love of information at its purest and most scientifically sublime, and giving vent to his innate cerebral competitiveness. Ezra (fl.5th cent.BZ) - Hebrew scribe and high priest. Outer: Descended from a former high priest of Israel, and assumed the same position over his expatriated community. Born in exile in Babylon, as he matured, he became a stalwart upholder of the Torah, taking a leadership role as well as the burden of keeping a strict sense of Mosaic law alive under alien circumstances. A skilled linguist, he wrote in both Aramaic and Hebrew, while also penning scrolls of the Torah, which gave him a deep understanding and love of the Law. Came back to Jerusalem around the year 457 B.Z., taking a small group with him, in what was considered the third wave of return, although different sources diverge on the date and circumstances of his reunion with the Land Promised. Worked in concert with the appointed provincial governor, Nehemiah (Mario Cuomo), who had been sent earlier by the emperor of Persia, Artaxerses I (Shah Massoud) to refortify the walls of Jerusalem, in order that the province serve as a buffer state against the various hostile kingdoms threatening the Persian empire. Came back under the king’s protection as a high-ranking officer, with power to appoint judges and officials in order to insure that his fellow Hebrews adhered to their long-standing Mosaic traditions, since a sense of sloth had descended on the occupied kingdom both before and during its long downfall. When he discovered that some of the male exiles had married non-Jewish women, he felt impelled to rend his garments, and ask forgiveness for this apostasy. Purified the community under his spiritual command, and reintroduced the Torah and ancient law, in his desire to bring the deep past of Judaica up to the present, meeting much resistance all along the way. Worked in close concert with Nehemiah in this regard, so that the two would be forever linked as political and spiritual leaders in the books of the Bible. Began the Book of Chronicles, which Nehemiah would finish, presumably because he outlived him, although no information regarding his death would exist. Inner: Known for his scholarship and teaching abilities, so that he was a noted figure even before his return to Jerusalem. Dedicated and unswerving in his love for the Torah. Stickler for adhering exactly to Mosaic law, taking it upon himself to be its upholder, even as an exile. Scribe extraordinaire lifetime of feeling it was his sanctified duty to keep the Law alive during a time of extreme disconnection by many of his fellow Hebrews from their sense of having a sacred root.


Storyline: The inventive individualist rewrites the journalistic and detective novel canons, in succeeding go-rounds, while proudly putting his eccentricities on display.

Tom Wolfe (Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Jr.) (1931) - Father was a professor of agronomy at Va. Polytech Univ. as well as an editor of Southern Planter and distributor for the Southern States Coop. His mother wanted him to be an artist, and gave him a solid grounding in the various arts, but he wished to be a writer in imitation of his sire. One younger sister. Fascinated by Arthurian legends while growing up, to the point of adding his own to the traditional tales. A triple threat at his all-boy high school, where he was student council president, editor of the school newspaper and star pitcher. Turned down Princeton, to attend Washington & Lee, where he was sports editor of the paper, founder of a literary quarterly, and pitcher on the baseball team. 6’, 175 lbs. Tried out for the NY Giants as a 21 year old, and briefly pitched semi-professional ball, before receiving a Phd from Yale in American studies. Worked as a cub reporter, then joined the staff of the Washington Post in his late 20s. Left three years later for the NY Herald Tribune, where his impressionistic writing, visually replete with punctuation marks galore, heralded him as a new tribune of the New Journalism. His pieces for Esquire magazine and the Sunday Tribune, made him a controversial literary figure among the culturati, as well as a highly popular scribe. His first collection of stories, "The Tangerine-Flaked Streamline Baby," in his late 30s, was a best-seller as was his novelistic skewering of the NY social order, Bonfire of the Vanities. Able to maintain the same perceptive standards throughout his career, while adding to the lexicon of popular culture with a host of logisms, ‘the Me Decade,’ ‘the Right Stuff,’ and ‘Radical Chic,’ among others. Noted for his white suits and Edwardian elegance. Married Sheila Berger, the art director of “Harper’s” magazine in 1978, daughter and son from the union. Suffered a heart attack in 1996, and underwent quintuple bypass surgery, before exhibiting symptoms of hypomania, a behavioral syndrome redolent of attacking life as if every encounter were defined by punctuation marks, in an unintended ironic acting-out of his earlier writing style. After an 11 year hiatus, he published A Man in Full, yet another well-researched riff on self-importance, and in 2004, greeted the new decade with I Am Charlotte Simmons, a chronicle of youthful collegiate hedonism, as he continues to remain a distinctive figure in American letters, thoroughly immersing himself in his subjects and their milieus, before rendering them in word-perfect detail to the delight of his huge readership, while chiding his fellow novelists for their minimalist ignoral of the larger themes of American life. In 2008, after 42 years with Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, he switched publishers for a reported $7 million dollar advance from Little, Brown & Co. Inner: Highly social and uniquely himself. Non-introspective, far more interested in externals than internals, particularly status consciousness, which lies at the root of all his works, making him far more the journalist than the fiction writer, in his inabilities to plumb beyond his characters’ archetypal tics. Probably has a strong hidden sense of the heroic within him, through his interests in bringing down the powerful, in his continual dual themes of status and humiliation. White knight lifetime of presenting himself as a literary jouster, lancing the truth in his own individualistic fashion, and laying it vulnerable and exposed for his cheering audience to see. Willkie Collins (William Willkie Collins) (1824-1899) - English writer and artist. Outer: Of mixed Irish, Scottish and English descent. Father was a well-known pious painter, mother was a former governess obsessed with respectability. Named after his godfather, a Scottish artist. His younger brother, Charles Allston Collins, was a painter as well, who ultimately married a daughter of Charles Dickens (Richard Burton). Born with a prominent bulge on the right side of his forehead, and his head and shoulders wound up disproportionately large for his short body. Also had very small hands and feet. An affectionate son, with a lifelong sympathy for women. Rebelled against his parents evangelical Christianity, as well as his sire’s snobbishness and conventionality, but was devoted to his lively mother. Received a sporadic education, and at 12 accompanied his parents on a 2 year trip to France and Italy, during which he said he lost his virginity to an older married Roman woman. Clumsy, unathletic and nearsighted. Returned to England and discovered his powers as a storyteller at boarding-school, where he employed them to pacify the dormitory bully. Apprenticed as a clerk to a firm in the tea trade, where he amused himself by compulsively scrivening during office hours, which led to his first novel, a lurid tale which never saw publication during his life. Following his sire’s death in 1847, he wrote a biography of him and also exhibited one of his paintings at the Royal Academy in 1849. Trained next as a lawyer at Lincoln’s Inn, and was called to the bar in 1852, but quickly gave up the profession to devote himself to writing, while using legal processes in his fiction. Bespectacled, bewhiskered and quite mild looking as an adult, while incongruously adopting flamboyant and unconventional dress to set himself apart from everyone else. Both adapted and wrote original melodramas for the stage and is best remembered for The Moonstone, and The Woman in White, considered the first two detective novels. Much of the former was written while he was bedridden from rheumatic gout and in intense pain. Suffered from that affliction for the rest of his life. Wrote over 30 novels all told. Never married, but maintained two households as a part-time patriarch in both. Rescued his first partner, Caroline Graves, a widow, from a pimp, and informally adopted her daughter. Also had 2 daughters and a son with a second partner, Martha Rudd, who was a barmaid in her late teens when he met her, while he was 40. Loving and affectionate father. Close friend of Charles Dickens (Richard Burton), a fellow juggler of households, with whom he also had a working relationship, after initially acting in one of his amateur productions. The former would prove an extremely important support for him early in his career, despite being disturbed by his complete disregard for ordinary Victorian propriety. His first inamorata left him after his second relationship and married another, but returned 2 years later when her union failed. Had a longtime addiction to laudanum because of his on-and-off rheumatic pain, and rheumatic gout of the eyes, which forced him into periods of seclusion. Able to support himself throughout his adult life as a novelist, although both the quality and support tailed at the end. Also contributed to periodicals. Largely an invalid by his 60s, he suffered a stroke in 1889, at which point he arranged for another writer to finish his final novel. At the end of his life, he had an epistolary flirtation with a 12 year old. Died of bronchitis several months after his stroke, and was ultimately buried with Caroline Graves. Inner: Unthreatening nonconformist. Disliked formality, as well as English bourgeois life. Preferred being called Willkie by everyone. Kindhearted, easy-going, and hospitable. Nonconformist lifetime of pulling off unconventional behavior in strict Victorian environs, and still being well-liked and reasonably well-supported for it. Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (1717-1797) - English writer. Outer: Youngest son of 5 children by 11 years of Prime Minister Robert Walpole (Joschka Fischer) and Catherine Shorter Walpole (Barbara Walters). Because of his effete nature, thought to be the product of an illicit liaison of his mother’s, but also bore a striking resemblance to one of his father’s illegitimate brood. Grew up primarily with his mother, to whom he was devoted. Educated at Eton, then King’s College, Cambridge, although left sans degree. Did a grand tour of France and Italy with poet Thomas Gray (Thomas Pynchon), with whom he might have had sexual relations, but the two quarreled and parted company, although both later reconciled. Entered Parliament in 1741, through the auspices of his sire, but had an undistinguished career during a quarter of a century there, where he was viewed as effeminate, and accused of being a hermaphrodite, although that may have just been the rhetoric of the day. Had a comfortable income for life, thanks to sinecures his progenitor secured for him at the Exchequer and Customs House. Attended his father in his final illness, in 1745. Amassed a huge library, and turned a small villa on forty acres into a castle named Strawberry Hill, which turned out to be the world’s first Gothic house and influenced English architecture greatly. Established a private press on the grounds, printing Gray’s Odes, and devoted himself to literary pursuits. Best known for the medieval horror tale, and the first Gothic novel in English,The Castle of Otranto, which was initially published anonymously as an Italian translation. Also wrote an art his/story of England, which was a pioneer work as well a gossipy compilation of commentaries on English authors. Had a voluminous correspondence of thousands of letters, which revealed his life and times, and also wrote other eclectic works. From 1750 to 1783, he kept diaries of his time, recording the political personalities of that period. Inherited a peerage from his feckless, reckless nephew in 1791, to become the 4th Earl of Orford but never sat in the House of Lords, and remained unmarried, so that his line went extinct with him. In his later years, he enjoyed he enjoyed the company of largely unmarriageable women, although preferred superficial relationships to any real close contact. Suffered from the century’s favorite illness of the upper classes, gout, almost his entire life, but lived to 80. Also suffered rheumatism at the end, and died after catching cold. Buried in his family tomb, and kept his memoirs sealed for 20 years after his death, and they, like his letters, were initially ill-received. Inner: Intellectual dilettante, with an incipient journalist’s skill in limning life around him in his letters. Very social, had lots of friends, but was allergic to intimacy. Famously stated, "Life is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel." Privileged lifetime of having the leisure to indulge in his cultural interests without the bothersome complexities of close emotional contact with anyone. Izaak Walton (1593-1683) - English biographer and writer. Outer: From yeoman stock. His father was an innkeeper, although provided neither rooms nor meals, only drink for his customers. Had other siblings, but only he and an older sister survived to adulthood. Following his sire’s death in 1597, his mother married a baker and inn-holder. Quit school in his mid-teens to apprentice his brother-in-law, a well-to-do London linen draper, and eventually set up his own small shop, selling cloth and handmade hats and garments. Read widely and was self-taught, had scholarly tastes, and found his way early on into a literary circle which included Ben Jonson (Norman Mailer). When poet John Donne (James Joyce) became vicar of his parish, he widened his literary connections, while calling himself his convert. Later wrote a life of him, after first working for his original biographer as a researcher. In 1626, he married Rachel Floud, a descendant of theologian Thomas Cranmer (Malcolm Boyd), although all 7 children died in infancy, and 14 years later his wife followed them. Collected several administrative posts, and in 1640, published his first biography, on Donne, a remarkable piece of writing, which would see several more editions during his lifetime. During the English Civil Wars, he left London as a staunch Royalist and took an early retirement, settling in the countryside, to pursue a life of reading, writing and fishing, while periodically maintaining his big city connections. His best known work came from the latter avocation, The Compleat Angler, in which he used verse, anecdotes and folklore in dialogue form to limn his subject. Revised it four times during his life, with the last in 1676, The Universal Angler, virtually a different text entirely. Married again in 1647 to Anne Ken, the stepsister of the bishop of Bath, and also outlived his second wife, who died in 1662. Three children from the union, with one son of the same name dying in infancy, and a second bearing his name becoming a prebendary. Wrote several more biographies including ones on theologian Richard Hooker, diplomat Henry Wotton (Tony Richardson) and poet George Herbert (Cormac McCarthy). Helped save one of the crown jewels belonging to Charles II (Peter O’Toole), after the latter’s final defeat in 1651, and safely delivered it following the Restoration. Retired to a bishop’s palace at the behest of a friend, and lived out his days there, writing until the end, before dying in his daughter’s house. Inner: Gregarious, generous, kindly, intellectual, and well-grounded. Had a gift for friendship, and was basically conservative in both his religious and political views. Though never troubled by accuracy or lack of bias, he is looked upon as one of the progenitors of modern biography. Well-angled lifetime of learning to pursue his own heady pleasures from a background without privilege or advanced education. Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) - Italian artist and biographer. Outer: Father was an artist, under whom he first studied, before working under several established artists including Michelangelo (Henri Matisse), who greatly influenced his elongated Mannerist style. Traveled and painted widely in Italy, before settling in Florence, where he enjoyed the friendship and patronage of the powerful de’ Medici family, for whom he executed many works, both architectural and artistic, in an extremely prolific output, although his skills as such were mediocre at best. Also one of the founders of an academy of design in Florence. Married Niccolosa Basci in 1549, and did much fresco work of a superficial nature, but showed a better talent as an architect, also in the Mannerist style. Despite his limited abilities, he made a good living from his craft. Best known for his lives of the Renaissance artists, which was well-researched through his continuous travels, although he wasn’t afraid to embellish when facts were scarce. A facile writer, he also penned treatises on art and art theory, as well as doing an autobiography. His ‘Lives’ proved invaluable for later his/storians, for their eminent readability and for his relative modern methods of dissecting his subjects. Inner: Modest, upright, studious and highly social, an agreeable communicator and artisan with a full grasp of his subjects, and more of a skill at limning in ink than with a brush or a blueprint. Multi-talented lifetime of being deeply involved in the cultural life of his times, both as artisan and chronicler, while having a lasting effect in the latter role.


Storyline: The ethnic chronicler reclaims his heritage after earlier rejecting it, and plumbs it unmercifully for the mysteries and conundrums that are his continuing self.

Philip Roth (1933) - American writer. Outer: His father was the son of Austro-Hungarian immigrants and a life insurance salesman, with whom he would have a problematic, competitive relationship. Good mimic as a child, in a middle-class upbringing that gave him a strong sense of Jewish identity. Educated at Bucknell, where he was Phi Beta Kappa. Continued at the Univ. of Chicago, later teaching there, as well as the Univ. of Iowa. Served a brief stint in the army, getting out because of a back injury, an oftimes symbol of lack of fatherly support. Had a pregnancy scare with a girlfriend, which caused him to see himself as a prisoner of marriage, and after it proved a false alarm, he was far more self-protective. His first collection of short stories in 1959, Goodby Columbus, gained him a reputation as a serious voice of the American Jewish experience. Married in 1959 to Margaret Williams, a divorced ex-waitress 4 years his senior. Separated 3 years later, although his wife refused to give him a divorce, at which point he felt marriage was an intolerable institution. She died in an auto accident in 1968, which was reflected in When She Was Good, published the previous year. Won notoriety through an earthy one-handed bestseller, Portnoy’s Complaint in 1969, which presented the foundational mix of childhood, sexuality, guilt and Jewish identity that he would continue to explore in his subsequent fiction. Created a literary shadow, Nathan Zuckerman in 1979 in The Ghost Writer, which would give him a literal and literary wraith in which to explore both his life and times via a creation not quite himself, and yet, close enough to allow him an alternate reality and a further lens through which he could view his complex interior. Zuckerman would eventually exit in Exit Ghost, an impotent and incontinent shadow of a shadow, some 9 novels and nearly 30 years later in 2007. Took up with English actress Claire Bloom in 1975, whom he married for the last 3 years of their 18 year relationship, after which she wrote a dark appraisal of him following the collapse of their union, painting him as controlling, unfaithful and deeply self-involved. To add further insult, she stated he had a mental breakdown in the early 1990s, and was briefly institutionalized for deep depression, with his dark mind running paranoid and amok. Despite the charge, he was extremely prolific in the last decade of the 20th century, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for American Pastoral, after turning out 3 of his best works in the first half of the decade. Welcomed in the 21st century with The Plot Against America, an alternate reality, where Nazidom visits the United States through the seemingly benign presidential personage of aviation hero, anti-Semite and isolationist, Charles Lindbergh, in a prescient tale of the fragility of democracy. More and more of a private figure as he has aged, while ironically having his inner tensions more publicly exposed at the same time. In 2007, he became the first recipient of the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, although his later work would give indication that he had begun to write himself out. Has a net worth of $10 million. Inner: Egocentric, misogynistic, reclusive, and manipulative. Great expertise at conveying the inner and outer lives of his characters, mixing fantasy with a sure eye for realistic detail. Witty, cerebral, alternately generous and withholding. What hath God roth lifetime of limning his inner and outer worlds through a sardonic Jewish eye and ear, while attempting to integrate his disorganized character via the distorted filter of fame. Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931) - Austrian novelist, playwright and critic. Outer: Of Jewish Hungarian descent. Father was a distinguished throat specialist, whom his son held in high esteem. The oldest of three children, he had a bourgeois upbringing. Began writing as a youth and had his poetry published in a prominent newspaper early on. Kept a diary from the age of 17, with a particularly focus on his many sexual liaisons, which ran to some 8000 pages in toto over the course of his life. Despite his sire’s desire he pursue other avenues, his ambition was always to be a writer. Nevertheless, he studied medicine at the Univ. of Vienna, although spent far more time scrivening than studying, despite receiving his degree and working in Vienna’s General Hospital. Developed a strong interest in psychiatry, and became a close friend of the pioneer in that field, Sigmund Freud, penning a thesis on the hypnotic treatment of neuroses, while editing a medical journal from 1887 to 1894. Began writing plays in the 1890s, which were originally presented in Czech in Prague. Soon relinquished his hospital post, while retaining a few private patients. Established his initial reputation by exploring daring sexual themes in his plays, while probing the subconscious of his characters, as a literary equivalent of his friend Freud, who saw him as his “double.” By the mid-1890s, he was a well-known figure, thanks to his sensationalistic fare. Highly social, he spent much time during this period in Vienna’s coffeehouses, trading both thoughts and mistresses with his fellow impressionistic scribes. HIs primary mistress during this period, Marie Reinhard, served as his main muse. Married with a son, Heinrich Schnitzler, who became an actor and film director, and a daughter from the union. His frank works, particularly “Hands Around,” a look at pre and post-coital intimacies produced in 1900, ultimately caused anti-semitic riots in Berlin and an obscenity trial, which resulted in his acquittal, although a censoring of the play until 1920. Better remembered for his fiction, in which he experimented with stream-of-consciousness and interior monologues while continuing to explore erotic themes. A short story published in 1900 was seen as an insult to the military and cost him his spot on the reserve list of the Austrian Medical Corps. Following the collapse of the Hapsburg monarchy after WW I, he lost the cultural basis for his earlier works and turned almost exclusively to fiction, focusing on short works, for this third and final creative phase of his life. Spent his later years in a luxurious villa overlooking Vienna, where he scribbled incessantly. Deeply disturbed by the suicide of his married daughter in 1930, he never really recovered from the shock. Died the following year of a brain hemorrhage, and his works were subsequently banned and burned in Germany by the Nazi regime. Inner: Used thinly disguised autobiographical elements in his works, and loved tweaking prudish sensibilities, as well as provoking his country’s rampant anti-Semites. Particularly interested in illusions and realities, and was a deliberate controversialist. Also a competent amateur pianist, in addition to his other creative gifts. Sexually obsessive, down to recording his releases, while constantly on the hunt for further lubricious fodder for himself. Saw anti-Semitism as a natural outgrowth of Jews being in the minority wherever they lived, and ultimately rejected all moral systems. Nose-thumbing lifetime of plumbing the psyche of his times, and embracing his Judaic root, as well as giving vent to his hyper/priapic inclinations, as prelude to doing much the same in an American milieu the next time around in this series. Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) - German poet and journalist. Outer: Father was a Jewish textile dealer, although was ill-suited to business through a gentle, light-hearted temperament. His parents did not marry until after their son was born, closely attached to his family his entire life. Had both a Jewish and Jesuit education. Apprenticed to an uncle who was a banker, but failed in his own business, due to a contempt for the middle class and his own lack of interest. Had an unrequited love for a cousin, which he carried through the rest of his life. Tried law, before finding his/story and literature far more congenial to his abilities. Established himself as a romantic in Berlin with his first poems and plays, beginning in 1821. Frequented literary circles, creating both lifelong enemies and friends because of his sharp wit and ironic manner. Disillusioned with Germany because of his liberal sympathies, and also his failure to get a much-wanted professorship, he went to Paris in 1831, where he served as the predominant figure of his literary generation, which was called Young Germany. Had many friendships with noted cultural figures, and once saved one of Karl Marx’s children. Disseminated French revolutionary ideals to Germany, while living as an expatriate. Had many affairs, and ultimately married a capricious shopgirl in his mid-40s. Numerous German musicians composed to his poems. Eventually became an embittered critic of romanticism, as well as social movements not to his liking. Suffered from poverty in his later years. Perceptive and barbed in his critical prose, which ranged from politics to cultural to religion, highly lyrical in his poetry. Received a French government pension for more than a decade, worked as a correspondent for German newspapers, and eventually sunk into ill health through a crippling spinal paralysis, from which he was nursed by a faithful friend. Motionless and bedridden at the end, with his last words, “God will forgive me. It’s his job.” His works showed strains of German, French, English and Jewish intellectual backgrounds. Ultimately far more popular elsewhere than in his native land. Inner: Extremely dualistic, both a classicist and a romantic. Contentious, forever provoking disputes, with a noted sharp tongue and pen. Denied his Judaic root, probably forcing him to explore it more deeply in his later lives in this series. Poisonous pen lifetime of having a tremendous amount to say on a wide variety of subjects, but without a true sense of himself because of his denial of who he really was. Hans Grimmelshausen (1622-1676) - German novelist. Outer: Son of an innkeeper. Attended an evangelic city school, then joined the army to fight in the religious wars of the time. Became a regimental secretary in a noble’s dragoneers, and converted to Catholicism during the fray. Traveled extensively throughout Germany during his time of service and became familiar with the customs and dialects of that country’s provinces. Worked as a steward for a noble family, where he began to put pen to paper. Greatly encouraged in his literary endeavors by a Nuremberg publisher. In his mid-30s, he became mayor of a small village, and took an active part in the resistance to French expansion into that area. Best known for his book, Simplicissimus, a picaresque tale that loosely follows the Parsifal theme of the enlightened fool. Clever satirist against the rational superiority of the time, using laughter as a vehicle for truth. Married Katharina Henninger and spent the rest of his life in his mayoral town. Inner: Known for his intellect and his erudition, as well as his wit. Mystical in his beliefs, yet deeply aware of tradition. Holy fool lifetime of honing his keen wit against the German Reformation, while actively involving himself in the events of his time in a dual existence of politics, power and the pen. Sebastian Brant (1458?-1521) - German writer and lawyer. Outer: Son of an innkeeper. Privately tutored before entering the Univ. of Basel. Intrigued by the humanistic ideals of the times, but studied the law, and ultimately received his doctorate of canon and civil law in 1489. Remained in Basel until 1500 as a member of the law faculty as well as a reader for various publishing houses, while also writing in the various genres available to him, including legalistic, political and moralistic musings, initially limning his polemical pieces in Latin. Best remembered for Ship of Fools, where he excoriates the misguided archetypes of his time, playing off his own sense of bourgeois morality, in an allegory of medieval, rather than humanistic, observations. The work was immensely popular since it did not strain its readers, keeping its wit muted and its follies broad. Married Elizabeth Burg during this latter period, then returned to his native Strasbourg, where he became both town clerk and legal adviser to the city council. His literary output declined during his last decades because of his increasing involvement in political affairs. Died full of honors, and was extremely well-respected, since he was a voice of his time, rather than a transcendental one of the ages. Later judgments of his works were far less enthusiastic. Inner: Moralistic, medieval and highly judgmental. Backwards looking lifetime of displaying the observational eye, but not the keen wit that he would later develop in his ongoing role as unmerciful chronicler of the traditions in which he finds himself.


Storyline: The camera-shy chronicler keeps all but his colossal imagination under careful wraps, refusing to compromise the integrity of his much-needed privacy.

Thomas Pynchon (1937) - American writer. Outer: Outer: From a family that dates back to the Norman invasion of England. Father was an industrial surveyor and Republican town supervisor. Younger brother and sister. Won a scholarship to Cornell as a physics engineer, and has had a lifelong fascination with the subject, although later switched to English as a major. Tall and lean. Refused to submit a photo to the freshman register, and only two published pictures exist of him. Left Cornell after two years for a hitch in the Navy. Returned there, and got a BA with distinction in all subjects. Briefly married in college, then turned down fellowships to focus on a writing career. Lived in NYC, before moving to Seattle where he worked for the Boeing Company as an engineering aide and technical writer. Settled in Southern California, and remained totally hidden from public view, despite his periodic output of large, well-received books, and an ongoing curiosity about him, including V and Gravity’s Rainbow, showing a kaleidoscopic knowledge of the detritus of his/story, and a mischiefmaker’s penchant for huge clothesline plots upon which to hang his odd erudition. Following the latter tome, published in 1973, he disappeared completely, save for an occasional essay and book review, not to reappear in bookform again until 1990 with Vineland, a meditation on an increasingly authoritarian America. The same year he married his literary agent, Melanie Jackson, one son from the union. Restless and rootless, prior to his marriage, he lived as unencumbered as possible, while shunning any kind of public life and refusing interviews or to be photographed, as an anti-personality in an age obsessed with them. Settled in Manhattan, and began writing relatively more accessible works, including what may prove to be his masterwork, Mason & Dixon in 1997, writ in the language and metaphor of the time. Remains hidden and quirkily mysterious, while continuing his often arcane but always fascinating oeuvre, as a chronicler who refuses to be chronicled, save by his overt output. Inner: Taciturn, withdrawn, misanthropic, uncompromising. Loves to blur fact and fiction, while viewing his native America as anything but benign. Submerged lifetime of keeping all but his stunning creativity secret from the prying eye of the public, while gradually and successfully expanding his sense of the personal to include domestic intimates. A. E. Housman (Alfred Edward Housman) (1859-1936) - English poet. Outer: Son of a solicitor, very attached to his mother, who died on his 12th birthday, which pained him greatly. Slender, with delicately sensitive features. Educated at St. John’s College, Oxford, where he discovered he was in love with a young athlete. Further emotional turmoil caused him to fail his final examinations, despite his brilliant scholarship. Went to work in a London patent office as a clerk for a decade, using his free time to read Latin texts in the British Museum, while forming another passionate attachment to a male room/mate, with whom he lived for 5 years, before the latter married and went off to India. Wrote for scholarly journals on his findings, and on the basis of the articles, he was appointed a professor of Latin at London Univ. in 1892, eventually teaching at Cambridge, nearly 20 years later. Spent 30 years on a 5 volume text, translating the virtually unreadable works of the 1st century Roman poet and astrologer Marcus Manilius, an earlier life of his. His first book of poetry, A Shropshire Lad, published in 1896, made him famous. Spent most of his quiet life in scholarship, winning academic accolades for his editions of Latin poets, in which he vehemently attacked other scholars, particularly the Germans. Because of his unintegrated homophilia, he felt he must live without love, and became increasingly reclusive. Used his poetry as an emotional release, and avoided the literary world. Connoisseur of food and wine. the possessor of a powerful memory, he knew great quantities of poetry by heart. His health eventually deteriorated and he passed on in a nursing home. Had heart and breathing problems, from which he died, proving to be uncharacteristically garrulous on his death bed. Inner: Quiet, academic, romantically pessimistic. Extremely reserved, witty and charming with close friends, repressed with everyone else. Stinging wit, with a sense of safety and surety about scholarship, and an avoidance of all other forms of human interaction. Hermetic lifetime, like all his others, of reclusiveness and intellectualizing his emotions. Thomas Gray (1716-1771) - British poet. Outer: Mother was the daughter of a prosperous scrivener, who, with a sister had a successful millinery business, allowing her to take responsibility to pay for her son’s education. Father was a scrivener who was known for his foul temper. Fifth of 12 children and the only one to survive infancy. Became a lifelong friend of Horace Walpole (Tom Wolfe), whom he met as a schoolboy. Educated at Eton and Petershouse, Cambridge, all the while penning verse. In 1739, he accompanied Walpole on a grand tour of the European Continent, but quarreled with him and the two parted company, although later reconciled in 1745. Returned to Cambridge and took a degree in law, although chose not to practice, preferring the life of a scholar, and remained there the rest of his life. Despite the fact that his reputation as a poet continued to grow, he refused to be poet laureate of England in 1757. Appointed professor of his/story and modern languages at Cambridge in 1768, although he never gave a lecture. Had a pathological fear of fire, and was the victim of a student prank, who set off a fire alarm, then set a tub under his rooms, which he shinnied down into, causing him to switch from Peterhouse to Pembroke College, Cambridge. Extremely learned, with a wide range of interests, all pursued as dilettantish hobbies. His most famous poem was Elegy in a Country Churchyard, which he worked on for 9 years and then published anonymously. Wrote poetry and Journal, about his travels among the English lakes. Had a great fear at life’s end that he would have to take care of his enfeebled female relatives, and wound up exiting amidst violent convulsive fits. Lapsed into a coma at the end, and per his wishes was buried in his mother’s grave. Inner: Stand-offish and distant to most people, albeit affectionate with close friends. Melancholic, indifferent to fame, reclusive and shy. Contemplative and fastidious. His fear of fire was his symbolic dread of transformation, an ongoing theme of his in his refusal to embrace self-realization. Hermetic lifetime of reading and thinking and living in an intellectual cocoon, protected from the predatory emotions of his fellow humans. Robert Burton (1577-1640) - British writer and scholar. Outer: Robert Burton (1577-1640) - British writer, vicar and scholar. Outer: 2nd son, his older brother, William, was a well-known antiquarian. Educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, and became a fellow of Christ Church College there in 1599. Ultimately received a bachelor of divinity degree, remaining as a librarian, tutor and scholar at the school for the rest of his life. Never married, and led a monumentally uneventful life. Appointed vicar of St. Thomas’s in Oxford in 1614, he also held livings in several other churches. Wrote numerous Latin poems and a Latin comedy, while his fame rests on the pseudonymously penned Anatomy of Melancholy, which would be his lifework, and which he would subsequently meticulously revise through 4 editions, after it first appeared in 1621. In it, he wittily and wisely discussed melancholia and its cures along with numerous psychological observations and a cornucopia of odd facts and information, showing his enormous erudition. Wrote in a humorous, colloquial style, mixing the erudite with the listing and cataloguing of facts and Latinisms. Interested in astrology, he cast his own horoscope and correctly predicted the day of his demise, although canards at the time accused him of crypto-suicide to facilitate its accuracy. Inner: Self-styled, “silent, sedentary, solitary” life. Detached, ironic, eccentric, well-read, and highly observant. Honest, charitable, melancholic and humorous. Hermetic lifetime of sequestering his body and soul to allow his mind free reign over the facts and fancies of academia. Marcus Manilius (fl. 1st century A.Z.) - Roman poet and astrologer. Outer: Possibly of Greek origin, although virtually nothing known of his life, in keeping with his hidden persona down through time. Author of Astronomica, an unfinished and often impenetrable 5 volume work, filled with mythological and moralizing digressions, while limning a philosophy that tries to integrate divine wisdom with the secular world. Obviously well-educated, with an ingenious rhetorical style, although had little influence in succeeding ages. Probably spent his entire intellectual coin on the work, trying to integrate his precise mathematical sense with his didactic poetic sensibilities. Later painstaking translated by a future incarnation of himself, A. E. Housman, who may have spent the same amount of time on the translation as he did on the original. Inner: Hidden lifetime of abstruse mind-play in the service of his twin loves, teaching through the written word and an attempt at understanding his known universe through the precision of calculated mathematics.


Storyline: The alienated monster/maker comes to grips with her own inner demons, and by artistically recreating them, ultimately releases them and herself as well.

xLynda Barry (1956) - American cartoonist, writer, editor and teacher. Outer: Mother was a hospital custodian, of Filipino and Irish extract. Father was of Norwegian and Irish descent and a meat-cutter in a supermarket. Moved from Wisconsin to Washington D.C. as a child, and grew up in a traditional Filipino household, which was raucous and chaotic. Her parents separated when she was a teenager and later divorced. Felt alien because of her mixed background and unstable home, which she has continually plumbed for material. Enrolled at Evergreen State College, and worked as a hospital janitor among other jobs, in an unconscious effort to clean up her own ailing interior. Met Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons” who printed her first comics in a school paper. Graduated, did painting and freelance illustration, then through a Groening article, did cartoons for an underground paper, “Ernie Pook’s Comeeks,” exploring the terrors of childhood and adolescence, which would become a staple of alternate press publications for the next three decades, from 1979 to 2008. Although a skilled artist, she works in a crude style to convey the unsettling esthetic of growing up absurd. A novelist as well, she wrote Good Times Are Killing Me, which she later adapted as a musical. Served as artist-in-residence at Washington State, which allowed her to work in a variety of media. Published her autobiography and first book in color, One Hundred Demons in 2002, as a means of continuing her own ongoing exorcism of an interior that has never fit comfortably within the confines of the insensate exterior world around her. Married land resources manager Kevin Kawula, and the duo live on a farm in Wisconsin, in back-to-nature simplicity, where she continues to explore the discontents of civilization through her projects and writing, which have included the graphic novel, "What It Is" which won the 2009 Eisner Award for Best Reality Based Graphic Novel. At the same time, she serves as an assistant professor of interdisciplinary creativity and Discovery Fellow at the Univ. of Wisconsin Madison, where she assigns her students “brain names” like Thalamus and Hippocampus, so as to know them by their work rather than their personalities, while she is known as Professor Old Skull to them. Also conducts a dozen writing workshops around the country every year. Inner: Sharp-witted, self-deprecating, self-analytical. Wears a theatrical mass of red hair and has a taste for gaudy clothing as a study in contrasts to her true, subtle nature. Great believer in doodling as a creative spur.Healing lifetime of integrating her longheld feelings of inner monstrosity via a hidden, highly refined esthetic sensibility. xMary Shelley (Mary Wollstonecraft) (1797-1851) - English writer. Outer: Only daughter of writers William Godwin (Betty Friedan) and Mary Wollstonecraft (Margaret Sanger), who died of puerpal fever 11 days after giving birth to her. Brought up by her distant father and his second wife, who was the mother of Claire Clairmont (Carrie Fisher), who, in turn, was mistress of Lord Byron. Stepsister of Fanny Imlay Godwin (Yoko Ono). One brother was added to the brood, who, along with another step-brother, made for 5 children. Her stepmother didn’t care for children at all, including her own, while her father was distant, and ultimately disapproving of her flouting of convention. Given an excellent education under the tutelage of her sire, who encouraged her imaginative pursuits, and also went to theater and lectures in the company of her parents, so that she was given a strong cultural, as well as activist sense of the world. Her household was a lively center for London’s cerebral celebrators, and even though she had a strained relationship with her stepmother, she, too, provided a positive model for her in her active life. Had an exceptionally fair complexion, hazel eyes, light auburn hair and a high forehead. Established study routines as a child that would stay with her throughout her life, and was fluent in several languages. Fell in love with Percy Bysshe Shelley (Tim Buckley), while he was married, and the two ran off to Switzerland in 1814, along with her stepsister, Claire Claremont. Along with her inamorata, she kept a daily journal of their adventures, which she would continue after his death until 1844, while both served as support for each other’s intense literary endeavors. Best remembered for her novel, Frankenstein, a book of extraordinary mystery that probably reflected her own sense of being a mother-killing monster, which was formulated from a nightmare she had had, while they were on a second visit to the Alps in 1816. Following the suicide of Shelley’s deserted wife, as well as the suicide of her older half-sister, Fanny, who may also have been in love with her husband, the duo were married the same year, 4 children from union, 3 of whom died young. Wrote a travel book, then published Frankenstein, initially anonymously, which caused a sensation. Her peripatetic and unstable life with Shelley, however, forced her to withdraw, which in turn made him seek out other women. Devastated by Shelley’s death by drowning in Italy in 1822, she spent a winter at poet Leigh Hunt’s (Paul Thomas Anderson) house, then returned to England deeply depressed with their one surviving son, living in the romantic past, and totally dependent on the support of her begrudging father-in-law, who insisted that his son’s name not be brought before the public. Her father, also, gave her little emotional support. Forced to recall her edited volume of Shelley’s posthumously published poems, while her small house served as salon for many of the literati of the day. Despite attention from swains and an active social life, she felt lonely and unhappy, particularly after potential amours chose other wives than she. Wrote biographies, articles, another travel book and fiction to pay for the education of their surviving child, who, despite a good nature, had none of his father’s high-flying character. Ruined her health by her labors on her husband’s verse. Became an invalid and died of a brain tumor at home, an old woman at 53, who felt she had outlasted her reason for being. Inner: Shy and quiet, but highly adventurous, with a vivid imagination. Classic victim, rarely happy. Romantic to the marrow, although dualistically torn between radical ideals and middle class sensibilities, with a high standard of duty and responsibility. Also cold, haunted and impatient, but loyal, even to friends who had betrayed her. Combination of pathos, courage, independence and perception. Doomed romantic lifetime of dealing with her own inner demonic sense for having been born at the expense of her mother’s life, and then having loved too well an exemplar of self-destructive creativity. xElinor Wylie (Elinor Hoyt) (1885-1928) - American writer. Outer: From a socially and politically prominent Philadelphia family, father became Solicitor General of the U.S when she was 12. Eldest of 5 children. Attended an exclusive private school, then traveled in Europe with her grandfather, before making her social debut. Quite beautiful. In 1905, she married an admiral’s son at 20 and had a son, then, in 1910, eloped with Horace Wylie, a married Washington lawyer, 15 years her senior, abandoning her family. Lived in England under the name of Waring for several years to escape notoriety, during which time she had her first volume of verse published. After her official husband’s suicide, they returned to the U.S. prior to WW I, got married and lived in various cities, before settling in Washington, D.C. Separated from her 2nd husband and moved to N.Y, where she frequented literary circles. Wrote both poetry and novels, the former influenced by 16th and 17th century English verse. Her novels were classic in structure, with thoroughly researched his/storical settings, that told of smoldering souls hidden beneath decorative surface. Obsessed with Percy Bysshe Shelley (Tim Buckley), whom she explored in The Orphan Angel, postulating that he was saved from drowning and taken to America. In 1923, she married a third time to editor William Rose Benet (Paul Thomas Anderson), who had earlier encouraged her writing. Began spending her summers alone in England in 1926, as a means of separation and died from a stroke, the day after she finished editing her final book of verse. Inner: Frail and high-strung, almost to the point of hysteria. But also strong-willed, and elegant with an acid wit. Childishly vain about her beauty, high shrill voice. Independent lifetime of following her own heart and fantasizing about her future life actualities, while acting out her continual theme of a dark, hidden interior come alive, before spinning back in time to embrace her romantic ideal. Mary Delany (Mary Granville) (1700-1788) - English memoirist and collage artist. Outer: Father was a lieutenant-governor of Hull and MP. Eldest daughter of a family whose fortunes diminished at the death of Queen Anne (Princess Anne) in 1714. Raised at Whitehall by her aunt, Lady Stanley. Married off to Alexander Pendarves in 1718, in an arranged union by her uncle Lord Landsdowne. Her husband, a wealthy but ugly, gouty and disagreeable Cornish landowner of 60, for whom she felt an ‘invincible aversion,’ mercifully died in 1724. Left with an extremely modest income, after the bulk of her spouse’s estate went to a niece. Lived with her aunt, and then a friend, while developing her painting skills. A musician and talented botanist as well. On a visit to Ireland, she met writer Jonathan Swift (James Joyce) and became part of his intellectual circle. After Swift’s friend, the Protestant Irish cleric Patrick Delany, became a widower in 1740, he began courting her. The duo wed in 1743, and settled outside of Dublin, where she continued to explore her artistic interests, including cutting silhouettes, while finally enjoying wedded life, despite once again marrying someone considerably older and eventually in poor health. Credited with the first attempt at modern gardening in Ireland, while also gaining a reputation as a deft hostess. Divided her time between Ireland and England over the next quarter of a century. Following her spouse’s death in 1768, she began summering with the Duchess of Portland, a fellow widow, in Buckinghamshire, where she created the exquisite flower collages for which she would be best remembered. Through the Duchess, she became friendly with Queen Charlotte and George III (Jeffrey Archer). Soon proved to be a great favorite at court, much admired for her intelligence, refinement and artistic talents. As such, she helped writer Fanny Burney (Erica Jong), in her own social strivings. After the Duchess died in 1785, the royal couple gave her an annual annuity and a small house at Windsor. A prolific letter-writer, particularly with her sister and niece. Her autobiography and collection of letters would be published posthumously in 6 volumes. Inner: Gentle, highly esthetic, and extremely social. Flowering lifetime of rebounding from the unhappy vicissitudes of a forced marriage to a monster and reclaiming her true expressive nature, in her ongoing exploration of both the light and dark of her interior. Formosus (c816-896) - Italian pope. Outer: Early life largely unrecorded, including his original name. Ordained when still quite young, he rose through the church hierarchy to become Cardinal Bishop of Portus in 1864. As early as 872, he had been considered a candidate for the papal See, so that he may have been seen as a potential rival by John VIII (David Ben- Gurion), the holder, at the time, of the Chair of St. Peter. Served the papacy in a diplomatic capacity, convincing Charles the Bald (Darryl Zanuck) to be crowned emperor by the pope in 875, thereby cementing the status of the See of Rome as the sine qua non of king-makers. Made legate to Bulgaria, and found such favor there, the Bulgarians petitioned the pope to make him Archbishop of Bulgaria, although the request was twice refused. Caught up in the politics surrounding the French throne, he left Rome as a fugitive with others who feared papal condemnations, although he was innocent of any wrongdoing. Ordered, along with the others, by papal synod to return or be excommunicated under a host of charges by John VIII, including despoiling the Roman cloisters, deserting his diocese, and conspiracy to destroy the papal see, among other apostasies. After promising he would never return to Rome or act as a priest in 878, his excommunication was withdrawn. Restored to his Portus position in 883 by a succeeding pope, and following several short pontificates, he was unanimously elected pope in 891, by both the clergy and Roman populace, immodestly taking on the name Formosus, which meant ‘handsome.’ Forced to reluctantly crown Guy II of Spoleto as Holy Roman Emperor the year afterward. Decisive in the various regal and ecclesiastical disputes brought before him, taking definitive sides in each. Persuaded the East Francian king Arnulf (Avigdor Lieberman) to invade Italy, and liberate it from the heirs of Guy II. Eventually imprisoned by opposing forces before being freed, and declaring the latest king of Italy, Lambert, deposed. Crowned Arnulf in 896, and died soon afterwards, leaving Lambert once again in power. The following year, under Lambert’s influence, Pope Stephen VI (Clive Barker) brought the dead Formosus to trial in what would become known as the Cadaver Synod. The former pope’s corpse was dug up, clad in his papal finery, and seated on a throne, to face the charges brought forth by the earlier John VIII. A deacon answered for him, and the ultimate verdict was that he was unworthy of being pope, and all his measures and acts were annulled, while his body was stripped of his papal vestments, clad in layman’s garb and three fingers from his right hand were cut off, as symbol of his no longer being able to give consecrations, even from beyond the grave. His body was then thrown into the Tiber, although it was later retrieved by a monk. Reinterred with full honors following the strangulation of Stephen, while also being reinstated by Sergius III (Tim Sullivan), after more judgments, since his condemnation and trial were results of politics rather than papal impropriety. May have been disinterred a second time afterwards and found guilty once more, before being beheaded. Inner: Competent, decisive, cunning, ambitious, highly religious, moral, ascetic and cerebral. Frankenstein lifetime of giving foundation to his/her future imagination surrounding bringing the dead back to life, by directly acting out that precise ghoulish scenario in the reality laboratory of the papacy.


Storyline: The thinking man’s thin man shows a wide-ranging mind that moves easily from the abstruse sphere of philosophy to the hard edge of politics, from one go-round to the next, in his ongoing search for capital ‘T’ truth, be it in the solving of simple or complex mysteries.

nDashiell Hammett Dashiell Hammett (Samuel Dashiell Hammett) (1894-1961) - American writer. Outer: From an old Catholic Maryland family. Born on a farm, but grew up in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Dropped out of school early, because of his father’s poor health, and the family’s need for his support, and did odd jobs, before hooking up with the Pinkerton Detective Agency, as an operative during his early 20s, although was eventually turned off by its union-busting activities. 6’1”, 135 lbs., with prematuerly silver-gray heair. Enlisted in the Army during WW I and served in the Motor Ambulance Corps. During the great influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, he became infected and came down with TB afterwards. Moved to San Francisco and married Josephine Dolan, a nurse in 1921 and the union produced two daughters, although his wife was told by Health Services not to live with him, and the duo eventually divorced in 1937. Despite being allowed to visit his family on weekends, the marriage did not survive the enforced separation. Nevertheless, he continued to support his family. Turned to churning out advertising copy in San Francisco, while establishing a lifelong habit of hard drinking, before turning to pulp fiction of the hard-boiled detective variety in short stories, and found a ready market for his pitiless, detached fare. Used his Pinkerton experience to create an alter ego, the Continental Op, who would match wits with a host of nefarious villains in his somewhat overwrought initial efforts. Found a far more effective voice in his novels, exchanging the hypercharged atmosphere of his earlier works, for more realistic portrayals of criminals and crime, most notably in the classic Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man, both of which were memorably translated into film. After an affair with writer Nell Martin, he launched into a 30 year relationship with playwright Lillian Hellman for the second lifetime in a row. Penned his last novel in 1934, and then wrote no more, preferring to put his energy into leftist causes. Joined the Communist Party in 1937, while serving as an outspoken opponent of fascism. Despite being an isolationist at the start of WW II, he joined the army in 1942, even though he had been disabled in the first Great War, and was still suffering from TB. Used his influence to bypass those two restrictions, and spent the war as a sergeant in the Aleutian Islands, serving as an editor of an army newspaper. A heavy smoker his entire life, he added emphysema to his list of physical woes by war’s end. Continuing with his political activity following his discharge, he was elected president of a suspect civil rights’ group in 1946, which was designated a Communist Front group in the red hysteria of the postwar period. Repeatedly took the 5th amendment in a subsequent trial over the group’s activities, and was found guilty of contempt of court. Also brought before HUAC, the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and once again refused to name names, causing him to be blacklisted. The rest of his life would be anticlimactic. Died of lung cancer. Inner: Quiet, intense, and highly moralistic. White knight lifetime of giving his pulp imagination a good run for its money, before finding his true calling in a social activism that was little appreciated by the constipated moralistic forces of his times. G. Henry Lewes (George Henry Lewes) (1817-1878) - English writer and critic. Outer: Grandson of a well-known actor, Charles Lee Lewes. Illegitimate son of the latter’s son, a minor poet. Had 2 older brothers via his parents’ extramarital union, and was not aware of his sire’s real family, which he had abandoned 6 years before his son was born. In a further duplicity, he thought his father had died when he was 2, when in actuality, he had abandoned his second family and sailed to Bermuda. His subsequent stepfather, whom he intensely disliked, was a retired army captain, and the family was forced to move frequently, because of the former’s extremely modest pension. Evinced an early fascination with philosophy, and went to Germany to engage himself in the field, before returning to England, where he attended several different schools, without committing himself to any singular line of study. Educated originally in medicine, he decided to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps in his mid-20s, and from 1841 to 1850, made several stage appearances, touring for a time with Charles Dickens’ (Richard Burton) company, before opting for a more fulfilling mode of expression for his considerable intellect. Prior to that, he married Agnes Jervis in 1841, and supported himself by penning pieces for a variety of journals and reviews, showing keen critical faculties, and a wide-raging knowledge in any number of subjects. Three sons from the union, with only one surviving him, although their true parentage would remain a matter of conjecture. Showed himself to be particularly astute about the stage and the art of acting, as one of the first modern drama critics, setting a high bar for those who would follow him. Penned a biographical his/story of philosophers, and tried his hand at fiction based on his Dickens association, which was less memorable than his other prose. Met writer George Eliot (Lillian Hellman) in 1851, and three years later, left his inconstant wife for her, without ever officially divorcing. Their relationship would shock Victorian sensibilities, but would be mutually and creatively supportive, and he would live with her the rest of his life, in a house they bought together, cosponsoring Sunday afternoon literary teas, before predeceasing her by two years. Best remembered for his life of German man of letters Johann Goethe (Thomas Mann) which was published in 1855. Afterwards, he became far more interested in exploring his scientific side for the rest of his life, showing a particular fascination with biology. Despite a lack of technical training in his various scientific pursuits, his keen intellect always shone through in the essays he produced, and he wound up adding greatly to the medical and physiological knowledge of nerves of the time. In 1865, he became editor of The Fortnightly Review for two years, as a means of capping his life’s various interests with philosophy once again, allowing him to come full circle intellectually. Able to handily contribute to a surprising number of disparate fields, from physiology to philosophy to theatrical criticism, while showing insightful expertise in each one, as a testament to his own innate brilliance, and far-ranging lucidity. Inner: Highly perceptive, with a great curiosity, and an undiminished desire to get at the very core of whatever he was investigating. Supercerebral lifetime of allowing his considerable intellect free range over a wide swath of material, while employing the same familiar partner as unconventional emotional ballast for his pursuits. Etienne Condillac (Etienne Bonnot de Condillac) (1715-1787) - French writer and polymath. Outer: From a family of lawyers. Third son and younger brother of Gabrel Bonnot de Mably, who became a philosopher, political writer and politician, as well as an abbe. Suffered from both poor eyesight and a weak constitution, which made him unable to read, even at the age of 12. Couldn’t truly begin his education until his teens, which was handled by a local priest. Although he was viewed as simple-minded by his family, because of his disabilities, he completed his education as a seminarian in Paris, showing himself to be a thinker of some depth. Like his sibling, he took holy orders, and became an abbe, although his true vocation was philosophic speculation. Took holy orders at the age of 25, and wore a cassock the rest of his life. His benefice gave him the opportunity of both solitude and study, while his earlier debilities gave him unusual insight into the properties of perception. Spent his early career as a man of letters in Paris, which gained him election to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1749. In 1755, he was chosen as a tutor at the court of Parma for the orphaned grandson of Louis XV (Mikhail Gorbachev) there, otherwise his life was spent largely in writing and thinking. Became friends with Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Leonard Cohen) after the former served as a tutor in his elder brother’s home. Despite a proclivity for enjoying the company of provocative thinkers, he was never forced to suffer for their apostasies, thanks to a quiet nonprovocative demeanor, and a reserved intelligence that valued scientific inquiry. An extremely lucid writer, he played with the ideas of British empiricist John Locke (Reinhold Niebuhr), for the first half of his intellectual life, before ultimately refuting them, in his positing that outer sensations and impressions are the basis for all ideas and thought processes. Did his best work in the realm of economics, recognizing the interrelationship of markets and competition, and the interdependence of value and need. Also able to bring scientific discipline to the field of psychology, working out principles of perception and giving grounding to the processes of our senses. Became part of the circle around Denis Diderot (Edmund Wilson), and was a contributor to his Encyclopedia. Elected to the Academie Francaise in 1768, although took no part in its functions. Retired afterwards to a small property he had purchased, and quietly lived out his latter years there, presumably lost in thought. While his individual essays saw print during his lifetime, his collected works were brought together after his death. Inner: Reserved, and higly logical, although his desire to reduce postulates to singular causes blinded him to larger possiblities. Empirical lifetime of using a weak body and constitution to retreat entirely into his mind, in order to intellectualize existence to his own satisfaction, before becoming a far more active member of society in succeeding go-rounds, as both a social thinker and expositer of the dark and light of human interaction.


Storyline: The closeted deceiver cloaks his true identity under a host of guises without ever claiming his true self while still alive.

John Cheever (1912-1982) - American writer. Outer: From a family with pretensions, perversions and a gift for self-destruction. His poetaster grandfather died of alcoholism and opium addiction. Mother opened a curio gift shop, and was the family breadwinner, after his father, who had been a successful traveling shoe salesman, saw his industry go into decline, and turned to drink to drown his failure. The duo eventually separated then reconciled and his mother ultimately wound up drinking herself to death. Younger of 2 sons, and both embarrassed and humiliated by his upbringing. Very close to his older brother to the possible point of incest, and, in keeping with family tradition, the latter, a financial failure himself, also ultimately drank himself to death. Took to the bottle himself as a youngster, and was expelled from prep school for smoking. Didn’t go to college, announcing to his parents that he would be a writer instead, but would eschew vulgar fame and fortune. Traveled with his brother to Germany in 1931, before making a separation from him as well, and in the mid-30s, made the Yaddo art colony in upstate NY a second home. At the same time, he sold his first work to the New Yorker, which would become the primary home for his short stories. In 1941, he married Mary Winternitz, the secretary to his literary agent, and also the daughter of the dean of the Yale Medical School, in what would be a painfully contemptuous union on his part, and a gritted teeth one on hers. Two sons and a daughter from the union, including writer Susan Cheever, who penned a disturbing portrait of his cruel emotional distance after his death. Served in the U.S. army during WW II, while his first collection of stories was published in 1942, which he would later excoriate as immature. Managed to spend most of the war stateside in NYC. Afterwards, he struggled mightily while writing short stories, and despite his mastery of that genre, was chronically impoverished throughout his early career. Spent time in Italy, which would also be a setting for several stories, and give him an opportunity to dissect himself through them as a distant observer of his own numerous peccadilloes. Given a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1951, and the same year he moved to the suburbs from NYC and ultimately became a satiric chronicler of those environs. Did not achieve success as a novelist until later in life, working for 20 years on his first novel, "The Wapshot Chronicle" which won the National Book Award in 1957. Also was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for a collection of short stories. A heavy smoker and drinker, who also found pleasure in church-going, he never drank when he wrote. Suffered a heart attack, was confined to an alcoholic rehab center and dried out in 1975, never to drink again, which occasioned perhaps his finest novel, "Falconer," a man-to-man love story, in which he came to grips with his own yearnings. Able to maintain an affair with a young man during this period, as well. Died of cancer, his body ravaged by the disease. His journals published after his death revealed the hidden side of himself, including his enraged interior. Inner: Brutalized those closest to him, save for his older brother, who may have been the one genuine love of his life. Polite, modest, intrigued by religious radiance on the outside, constantly abroil on the inside. Neurotic, narcissistic and impossibly self-centered. Hedonistic and puritanical, with guilt-ridden exhibitionistic tendencies, replete with a wee wiener to compound his constant contradictions and mordant self-loathing. Repressed his homophile urges most of his adult life, and felt a disdain for those similarly inclined. Felt suffering in silence was the sign of a gentleman, and was determined to make a significant contribution to literature. Concerned with nature, loneliness, God, home and sex. Closeted lifetime of dealing with his ongoing sense of personal defilement, with the release of elevated literature as his hoped-for mode of purification. John Addington Symonds (1840-1893) - English writer. Outer: From a longtime medical family. Son of an upright physician, who was also a writer and college lecturer, mother died from TB when he was young. Frail and abnormally shy as a child, he was made to suffer in school for his lack of social grace. Studied at Harrow, then Balliol College, Oxford, where he won numerous prizes as an exemplary student, before becoming a fellow at Magdalen College. Suffered a complete breakdown, partial blindness and nervous exhaustion from his studies. Inherited TB from his mother, and went to Italy for his health, spending much of his subsequent life there and in Switzerland, writing under difficult physical circumstances from pulmonary disease. Unhappily married in his mid-20s, 4 children, one of his daughters became his collaborator. His prim and rigid wife despised his writings. Closeted homophile, doing his best to disguise his nature rather than changing it, thereby internalizing his alienation, and suffering physically for it. In 1866, he flirted with insanity, recovered and devoted himself to literature. Overworked himself constantly, thinking his life would be short. Wrote a his/story of the Italian Renaissance in sketch form, did excellent translations and also penned poetry, prose, travel books and biographies. Edited his father’s works, traveled frequently and wound up in Davos, Switzerland after visiting a TB sanitarium there. Became a patrician and patron of Davos, and totally immersed himself in that city’s life. Enjoyed fraternizing with peasants and people of culture alike. Left a frank account of his life as a closeted Victorian homo-eroticist, which was eventually published nearly a century after he died from pneumonia. Inner: Concrete, colorful, neurotic. Once again kept his sexuality hidden, forcing him to be unhappily not himself. Fancied himself a thinker but was incapable of abstractions. Spontaneous, ebullient and impetuous. Morbidly introspective, and stimulating rather than profound. Left his memoirs for a later age, through a sense of disgrace, with an added desire to eventually present his true self. Closeted lifetime of containing and hiding his projected alien urges, and physically and psychically experiencing the repercussions of refusing to deal with his urges. James Macpherson (1736-1796) - Scottish poet. Outer: Father was a farmer. Educated at Aberdeen and Edinburgh Universities. Had considerable literary ability, as well some knowledge of Gaelic poetry, which was popular in his birth district. Became known for a trinity of poems dealing with the epic deeds of ancient Gaelic tribes, which he published as translations from old works of Ossian, collected in the Scottish highlands. His work was much admired for its romantic spirit, and he was able to collect funds from a number of well-known literary figures to tour the Highlands in order to collect more material. Suspicions arouse, however, that his work was a hoax, and he was forced to fabricate the originals, while making no more findings. A committee appointed after his death confirmed they were a literary sham. Despite being written in poetic prose, and filled with mystery and melancholy, they had little literary value after being exposed, although had a later influence on the development of romanticism. A large and handsome man, he had four illegitimate children. Later wrote his/stories and political works, with a strong anti-British bias. Eventually wound up as secretary to the governor of Florida in the U.S., and in the last years of his life, held a number of comfortable political sinecures at home, including serving 16 years as a member of Parliament. Spent his final years in secluded domesticity and fervent religiosity. Inner: Reserved, hot-tempered, easily offended. Monomaniacal about Scottish superiority. Deceptive lifetime, once again, of creating illusions around his marked talent, this time as an out-and-out hoaxer, rather than an un-outed homophile, in his ongoing exploration of not being who or what he seems to be, and seeing where the consequences will take him.


Storyline: The gothic go-between plumbs her dark interior in order to purge herself of her own hidden fears and nightmares, while serving as a conventional, strait-laced guide into the mysterious nether-worlds of our collective imaginations.

Anne Rice (Howard Allan O’Brien) (1941) - American writer. Outer: Mother pursued a career in films before marrying, and was a great storyteller with an affinity for the supernatural. Father was a postman who sculpted. Had a Roman Catholic upbringing, with her mother as powerful influence. Wanted to be one of the saints initially, and has always held them in high regard, with special places in her homes for their display. One of 4 sisters who entertained one another with stories as children, with 3 of them becoming writers. Changed her name to Anne in the first grade, in an unconscious nod to scrivening lives past. A devout child, her mother eventually died of alcoholism when she was 14, and she became disaffected with Catholicism afterwards. Her father moved family to Texas, where she later attended Texas Woman’s Univ. Married her high school inamorata, Stan Rice, a poet, painter and teacher, and both enrolled at San Francisco State, where she ultimately got her MA in 1972. Held odd jobs, and became obsessed with rediscovering her New Orleans roots. Her first daughter died of leukemia in 1972 at age 6, and both she and her husband turned to alcohol to relieve their grief. Began writing about vampires, which helped her deal with the losses of her mother and daughter. Took 2 years to find a publisher for her first book, Interview with a Vampire, in which she created a unique, reluctant member of the undead in Louis, a brooding philosopher. Her second book, The Vampire Lestat, was a huge success, and despite critical carping, her works touched America’s Gothic imagination, selling over 50 million copies, with 25 tomes in 25 years. Also penned soft-core S&M under the name of A.N. Roquelare. Returned to New Orleans in the late 1980s with her husband and son and bought a sprawling 19th century Victorian house in the same neighborhood in which she had grown up. Thanks to her success, she ultimately maintained a staff of 49 to oversee her various properties. Her openly gay son, Christopher, also became a writer. Fell into a diabetic coma in 1998, but recovered, and returned to the Roman Catholic church which she had left at the age of 18. Her husband died in 2002 of brain cancer, after over 4 decades of marriage, which also coincided with her ending her vampire chronicles with Blood Canticle. Ballooned to over 250 pounds afterwards, although was able to shed 100 of them through gastric bypass surgery, in a reclamation of both her inner and outer life, with her enthusiasm unabated for a host of new projects. Eventually decided in 2004 to move from her beloved New Orleans, to Southern California, in a need to shed the past and reconstruct the future for herself, although soon moved out into the desert for its added warmth. After nearly four decades of atheism, her faith returned to her and she began a four volume life of Jesus Christ, commencing with Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, a novel with the latter as its 7 year old narrator, in an attempt to reconcile her ongoing need to make the supernatural a natural extension of her own spiritual imagination. Began a new series under the grouping of “Songs of the Sepharim,” about a time-traveling angel for hire who had been a hitman, then, in 2010, shocked her fans by announcing she was leaving organized religion, in the name of Christ, although in no way abandoning her faith in salvation and God. Has continued with her Vampire Chronicles, with an even dozen in the series with “Prince Lestat snd the Realm of Atlantis” Has a net worth of $60 million. Inner: Gentle, gracious, and conservative despite her subject matter, although quite liberal in her theology. Early riser, keeping very unvampire hours. Bibliophile, with a library of over 15,000 tomes. Exorcising lifetime of using personal tragedy and a strong sense of roots to continue to explore her darker imagination, in order to integrate a problematic interior with a conventional exterior. Anna K. Green (1846-1935) - American writer. Outer: Father was a prominent defense lawyer. Both parents were from old Connecticut stock. Mother died when she was 3, and she formed a close bond with her subsequent stepmother, who encouraged her literary talents. Educated at Ripley Female College, and was active in the school’s literary society. Spent her next decade writing poetry under no financial strain because of her family’s beneficence. First, and best-known work, was a detective story, The Leavenworth Case, using Ebenezer Gryce as her prototype detective. It enjoyed immense popularity, and despite her attempts at other genres, was content to remain a detective story writer, since that was where her obvious public support lay. Churned out 35 novels over the next 50 years, which were noted more for their plots than their literary style. In her late 30s, she married Charles Rohfls, an actor who wound up managing an iron foundry, and then became an internationally known furniture designer after briefly returning to the stage to star in a stage version of her earlier bestseller. One daughter and two sons from the union. Lived out a long and comfortable life, dying in her late 80s. Inner: Gentle, conservative, shy, retiring and gracious. Conventional outer lifetime of being given ample opportunity to perfect her storytelling craft, then an equally long life to enjoy the benefits of both a successful career and a successful marriage, after once again losing her motherly moorings at an early age. Ann W. Radcliffe (Ann Ward) (1764-1823) - English novelist. Outer: Father was a successful tradesman and merchant. Had relatives in the gentry on the mother’s side of the family, and the family was able to move up socially, as well as enjoy artistic and court circles. Received no formal education. Married William Radcliffe, a law student, in her early 20s, who later became editor of the English Chronicle. Achieved a huge success through her supernatural romances, beginning in her mid-20s, eventually influencing many imitators. Wrote for pleasure, rather than money. Worked with an apparently supernatural sense of drama which could later be explained in natural terms. Became queen of the Gothic novelists, and is best remembered for The Mysteries of Udolpho, for which her publisher paid an unprecedented £500 for the first edition. Last work was a travel book. After her mid-30s and 5 immensely popular novels, she retired from writing to lead an ordinary domestic life. Shy by nature, she had few friends, preferring her own internal company. Contracted pneumonia, and died from respiratory problems. Inner: Had few friends, wrote few letters, and only limned her outer travels in her diaries, keeping her inner life to herself. Conventional outer lifetime of exploring the recesses of her imagination through her works, before returning to her mundane existence in order to live it out quietly, happily and uneventfully. Anne Hathaway (1556-1623) - English spouse. Outer: Father was probably a farmer. After her parents died, she shared their house with her brother. In 1582, she married William Shakespeare (William Butler Yeats), who was probably a local schoolteacher, and was 8 years her junior. Pregnant at the time with a daughter, 3 children ultimately came from the union, including a pair of twins, with one of them, a son, dying by drowning at the age of 9. Much has been projected about the marriage, since little is really known about it, other than her spouse’s frequent absences in London, but it probably served as an innate learning experience in the realm of self-exposition for her, living as she did with his/story’s most extraordinary channel for the English language. Fifteen years after they married, they finally had enough money to buy a home, called New Place, while she may have had to work initially to help support their family. Outlived her spouse by seven years and died three months before the publication of the collected edition of his works known as the First Folio. Inner: Probably an incipient channel herself, and may have contributed on some subconscious level to her mate’s extraordinary oeuvre. Apprenticeship lifetime of serving and supporting genius, in order to begin her own explorations into the very craft he had already mastered.


Storyline: The self-abusing expositor can never quite integrate his demons with his demonstrative abilities, and once again succumbs to the former, despite his ever-expanding capacity for the latter.

David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) - American writer. Outer: Father was a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell at the time of his birth, after which the family moved to Champaign, Illinois, where his sire became a tenured philosophy professor. Mother eventually was an English professor at a local community college, while carefully monitoring her children’s usage of grammar. One younger sister who became a lawyer. A good athlete, he became a regionally ranked tennis players in his teens, while growing up in a stimulating intellectual atmosphere. Evinced a highly addictive personality early on, beginning with TV. Matriculated at his progenitor’s old alma mater, Amherst College, where he majored in English and philosophy. Graduated summa cum laude, while winning a prize for his senior thesis. Subsequently got an MFA in creative writing from the Univ. of Arizona, and published his first novel, The Broom of the System, which swept him into recognizable critical orbit. Moved to Boston to continue his graduate work in philosophy at Harvard, but decided he had had enough of his formal education. Began his teaching career closer to home with a position in the English department at Illinois State University, where he started work on the monster tome, 1000 plus pages worth, that would give him his name in contemporary letters. Infinite Jest was published in 1996, and got him a MacArthur ‘genius’ fellowship the following year. The book is a bleakly parodic look at the future North American continent, written in digressive style to highlight his wit, his learning and his various interests and obsessions. A chronic depressive, he began taking medication for his condition in 1988, while also showing a distinct discomfort with celebrity. Moved to California in 2002 to become the first Roy E. Disney professor of Creative Writing and English at Pomona College, which would give him the opportunity to focus most of his time on his writing, thanks to a minimal class load. His fiction would be a direct reflection of the academic environs in which his life has been totally steeped, with footnotes, endnotes, neologisms, and dense multi-clause locutions, showing his erudition and pure love of language, as well as his infinite jester’s desire to entertain, stimulate and overwhelm his reader with his considerable abilities. A prolific short story writer as well as an astute essayist on a whole variety of subjects, he quickly climbed to the forefront of American letters, only to once again succumb to the demons that curtailed his careers in lives past. In 2004, he married artist Karen Green. Side-effects from his medications caused him to cease taking them in June of 2007, although the resultant anxiety affected his ability to create. His profound depression returned, and by 2008, even a return to medication no longer helped. After several hospital visits and electro-convulsive therapy, he hanged himself in his home, where he was discovered later that day by his wife. Inner: Triple-named and solipsistic per usual, with his disconnection taking the form of constant self-questioning, and an all-consuming obsession with the worth of his work. A fount of information and never shy about displaying it, through an endlessly digressive style, geared towards showing off his nimble sense of irony, and impressive grasp of stylistics. Lugubrious lifetime of once more succumbing to self-abuse and monumental self-dislike, despite a far more solid grounding, and an even more impressive talent for self-expression. Sinclair Lewis (Harry Sinclair Lewis) (1885-1951) - American writer. Outer: 3rd son of a country doctor, mother died of tuberculosis when he was 6, after 3 years in an out of sanitariums. Struggled with his own dreamy nature versus his father’s precise practicality. Grew up lonely and apart, which created a life-long rage against American conformity. At 13, he tried to enlist as a drummer boy in the Spanish-American War, but was brought back from the railway station by his father. Called “God forbid,” by his Yale classmates for his frequent use of that phrase. Left school for a year, and worked as a janitor at writer Upton Sinclair’s colony in New Jersey until it burned down, then struggled for several months in NYC as a translator and editor. Also worked his way to England on two summer trips via a cattle-boat, and went steerage to Panama to labor on the canal. Graduated from Yale and became a reporter and freelance writer, traveling the country and doing odd newspaper jobs, from which he was fired twice for incompetence, before winding up in NYC. Published his first novel at 29, although his initial works were nondescript. Married Grace Livingston Hegger, a beautiful sophisticate, the same year, and divorced in 1925, son later died in WW II. Had a skin disease that ravaged his face, as symbol of his own considerable internal anger. Successful at popular magazine writing, but did not win novelistic acclaim until his mid-30s with Main Street, satirizing the narrowness and provincialism of middle America, a theme he would continually explore, playing off of the social impulse to restrict freedom, and the individual impulse for it. Refused the Pulitzer Prize in 1926 out of spite, after he was earlier denied it in 1920 when the trustees overruled the selectors, because they felt Main Street was too critical of America. During the next decade, he wrote 5 novels of worth, and seemed on his way to a brilliant literary career, but couldn’t maintain the same level for the remaining two decades of his life, despite his capacity for hard work. Became the first American to win a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930, but broke with his publisher and also ended his first marriage, in celebration of his world-acclaim, although the trinity of events seemed to signal his effective end as a top-notch novelist. Had an excellent eye for detail, as well as a telling ear for dialogue and speech, and a virtual sociologist’s ability at research. Always knew his subjects well. His 2nd marriage, in 1928, was to reporter Dorothy Thompson (Naomi Klein), to whom he proposed on the first night of meeting her, and, after innumerable fights, recriminations and reconciliations, the duo finally divorced 14 years later. One son from the union, whom both parents largely ignored. Also began drinking even more heavily and offending both friends and supporters with his crassness, while his wife viewed him as a vampire. Lived the latter part of his life in both America and Europe, continuing to write successful novels, although without the juice of his earlier oeuvre. His works were also limited by their episodic structures, making him a writer who had some of his parts together, but hadn’t yet learned to shape them as a whole. Died of paralysis of the heart, and the effects of advanced alcoholism. Wrote 23 novels all told. Inner: Impulsive and erratic, plagued by alcoholism, with great difficulty in personal interrelationships. Gifted mimic, highly energetic, but also moody. Dually embraced and rejected American values, while harboring a morbid fear of loneliness. Generous, restless, unhappy. Could be charming and witty and also savagely rude. Split lifetime of continued dualities, in his professional successes and failures and his double-sided personality. Inner: Impulsive and erratic, plagued by alcoholism, with great difficulty in personal interrelationships. Gifted mimic, highly energetic, but also moody. Dually embraced and rejected American values. Had a morbid fear of loneliness. Generous, restless, unhappy. Could be charming and witty and also savagely rude. Split lifetime of continued dualities, in his professional successes and failures and his double-sided personality. Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1871) - English writer. Outer: Mother was a luminous personality, father was a writer and a general. 3rd son, and younger brother of Henry Bulwer, an author and diplomat. His parents separated when he was 5, and he lived with his mother and guardian in a variety of places. Educated at private schools under a tutor, then went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he published some poetry, winning the Chancellor’s Medal, although he was an indifferent student. After graduation, he frequented the fashionable circles of London and Paris, and against his mother’s wishes, in his mid-20s, he married Rosina Wheeler, an Irishwoman of exceptional beauty and daughter of activist Anna Doyle Wheeler (Naomi Klein). Son and daughter from the union. Because of his mate’s excitable temperament, the two separated and she worked out her anger towards him by attacking him in print, serving numerous lawsuits on him and using him for a villainous character in one of her novels. In 1858, he kidnapped and temporarily put her in an institution to try to stop her public onslaught against him. Initially wrote under the name of Owen Meredith until writer George Meredith (J.P. Donleavy), objected. On his mother’s death in 1843, he succeeded to her ancestral states, and added ‘Lytton’ to his name. Wrote prolifically for numerous journals, served as an editor and is best remembered for his novels, including his best known work, The Last Days of Pompeii, in which he probably touched on the hidden volcanic elements of his persona. Had a longtime fascination with magic and the mantic arts, and became recognized as a leading authority on the subject in England. As such, he was president of a local Rosicrucian group. Also politically active as a reformer in Parliament from several districts over a near quarter of a century span, protecting author’s copyrights, and removing taxes on literature. Became lord rector of Glascow Univ., the first Englishman to hold the post twice, as well as secretary for the colonies, and was eventually created a baronet. Anonymously wrote an ingeniously prophetic work called The Coming Race. Suffered ill health at end of his life, and died as British ambassador to Paris in the arms of his son, who became Viceroy of India. Popular ambassador, mediocre poet. Inner: Witty and charming, with excellent social skills. Benign lifetime of being socially empowered from the beginning of his life, and using it to full advantage to publicly bring out his positive character, with the singular testimony to his negative side, a highly resentful and unintegrated ex-wife. p. massingerPhilip Massinger (1583-1640) - English playwright. Outer: Father was the house steward for the earls of Pembroke, although more of a trusted friend than a servant. Sire was also a scholar and gentleman, a fellow at Merton College, Oxford and later in life a member of Parliament. Mother was the daughter of a merchant. Nothing really known of his son’s early life. May have been a Roman Catholic. Studied at St. Alban Hall, Oxford, but left without taking a degree, possibly at his father’s death, in order to try his luck as a playwright in London, initially working on collaborative efforts, particularly with Nathan Field (Jack Nicholson) and John Fletcher (Jeff Buckley), with most comedies or tragi-comedies. Became fairly prosperous through patronage, while succeeding Fletcher as company dramatist for the King’s Men. Married, although his wife and children, if any, remain unknown. Wrote more than 40 plays, 10 in collaboration, focusing on realistic domestic comedies. Also penned romantic dramas. Showed himself to be insensitive to human nature in his works, proving to be a far superior rhetorician than delineator of personal character. His perceptions were better adapted to comedy than tragedy. Died in his sleep at home. Supposedly buried in the same grave as John Fletcher, after being borne there by a troop of actors. Inner: Personality largely hidden. Sober and highly meticulous writer, also a harsh moralist, using satire to illustrate the evils and frivolity of what he perceived as an avaricious society. Divided lifetime of developing his skills at critical dramatic exposition, while keeping his inner processes well-hidden so as to divorce his own internal life from his work, a failing he would redress later on in this series.


Storyline: The grounded aviatrix conquers her fear of flying and allows herself the freedom of her freewheeling eccentricities.

Erica Jong (Erica Mann) (1942) - American writer and actress. Outer: Of Polish/Russian/Jewish descent. Mother was a designer of ceramic objects, who lived to 101. Father was a former vaudeville musician turned importer of fine giftware, who lived to 93. Enjoyed an upper middle-class NYC upbringing, and originally wanted to be a doctor. One of three sisters. Never learned to type to avoid becoming a secretary, and continued writing in longhand long after her career was established. Began writing poetry in college at Barnard, where she was Phi Beta Kappa and won two fellowships. Taught English at CCNY and got her Masters from Columbia in 18th century English literature. Married Michael Werthman, a market researcher at 20, but the union was annulled after 6 months because of her husband’s schizophrenia. 3 years later, she married Alan Jong, a Chinese-American child psychologist and lived in Heidelberg, Germany for 3 years. Taught at the Univ. of Maryland’s Overseas Division in Heidelberg and briefly sold mutual funds for the infamous Bernie Cornfeld’s Investors Overseas Service. Very lonely and alienated in Germany. Published poetry, which was well-received, and then made a sensational literary debut in 1973 with Fear of Flying, which limned female sexual fantasies in humorous manner, a heretofore largely unbroached subject. Its protagonist, Isadora Wing, would go on to become an emblem of sexual liberation, elevating its author to iconic status, although the character would continually invade her work to less and lesser liberated effect. Divorced her second husband, and married Jonathan Fast, the son of writer Howard Fast in her mid-30s, one daughter from the union, Molly Jong-Fast, who also became a novelist. Divorced 6 years later and married Ken Burrows, a divorce lawyer in her mid-40s. Her later career was far less successful with the exception of “Fanny” a 1980 pastiches of 18th century fiction, and a crypto-throwback to her earlier run as Fanny Burney. Continued as a public personality, using herself and her experiences for her musings on rites of female passage, with both fiction and nonfiction. Formed an attachment to writer Henry Miller, and later began exploring her own aging process as gist for her provocative personalized sensibilities. Performed for 3 weeks Off-Broadway in “The Vagina Monologues” in 2000, although impressed no one with her acting skills. Fell into alcohol abuse, depression, and almost lost her beloved daughter to addiction before publishing a memoir in 2006, “Seducing the Demon,” to re-look at herself and reaffirm her great belief in the power of the printed word. In 2015, she published her first novel in 10 years, Fear of Dying, exploring sex and the over-60s, which was well-received by the audience who identified with it, and less so with male reviewers. Inner: Outspoken, self-professed pagan, although more daring on the printed page than in her actual life, which was geared more towards the pain of partnership than the easy grace of seduction. Tremendous love of for her craft, finding great strength in it to try to deal with her weaknesses, while using her own experiences as gist for her artistic mills. Self-examining lifetime of self-assurance through privilege, allowing her to tackle heretofore taboo subjects, and become a literary provocateur, within her limits. Edith Wharton (Edith Newbold Jones) (1862-1937) - American writer. Outer: From a wealthy and distinguished New York family. Her mother belittled her, while her beloved father’s inheritance allowed him to lead a life of leisure, and the family benefited from his copious free time. Traveled extensively as a child, spending much time in Paris and Rome and was educated at home, never attending school. Read and both wrote and traveled as a natural extension of her early life. Very close to her bookish father, who died relatively early, while her masculine family gave her, her overview. In her early 20s, she married Teddy Wharton, a wealthy Boston banker and socialite, who suffered from mental illness, and eventually went mad. Lived a life of wealth and leisure, traveled with an entourage of small dogs, and began writing. After bearing the burden of caring for her husband, including a breakdown of her own, she eventually divorced him, no children from the union. In her 30s, she began writing and publishing to assuage her marriage. Her novels were based on her observations of the privileged world in which she had grown up and continued to live, and were all written from the comfort of bed. Achieved financial independence through her work, which allowed her to pursue the artist within. Best known for her novels of New York society, including House of Mirth and Age of Innocence. The former, published in 1905, was an immediate success and made everything she penned afterwards easy bestsellers, while the latter made her the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1920. Modeled herself after the asexual writer Henry James (Cormac McCarthy), who became a close personal friend, in a relationship of opposites, with her confident talent continually trying to uplift his depressed genius. In addition to her novels, she wrote on numerous subjects, although her work declined in later years, through magazine outputs. Difficult and demanding with her publishers. Lived in France as a permanent expatriate for the last three decades of her life, with a brace of servants and two country houses, over which she reigned like an autocratic social queen. Began an affair with Morton Fullerton, the bisexual Paris bureau chief for the New York Times soon after moving, and during WW I, made a heroic effort to assist orphans and the dispossessed. Awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor for her undertakings. Profoundly concerned with moral issues, particularly between the individual and society in all her novels of manners. Died of an apoplectic stroke and was buried in France. Published 38 books, including 16 novels, 11 novellas and more than 80 short stories and story collections. Inner: Highly active socially, incessant traveler, fiendishly protective of her privacy and extremely well-read. Dignified and cerebral on the surface, which hid a far more passionate interior. Extravagant, a lavish spender, with a need to control. Demanding, perceptive, with a sense of tragedy and fatalism to life, and a supreme self-confidence about her talent. Snobbish and anti-Semitic, with a distaste for modernity in the arts. Chilly with strangers and demanding with friends. Silver spoon lifetime of chronicling her milieu, and establishing a lasting reputation based on her descriptive abilities and insights into her experiential world, while freeing herself from the enchained madness of traditional marriage. Fanny Burney (Frances Burney) (1752-1840) - English writer. Outer: Of English and French descent. Father was a distinguished musical scholar. 3rd of 6 children, in a close-knit family. Her mother, who was a musician as well, died of consumption when she was 9. Educated herself at home through voluminous reading, while her house was the gathering-place for musicians and theater people, giving her much creative company while growing up. Short, slender and near-sighted, and somewhat shy because of the latter. Wrote her first novel at 10, although she burned her early efforts in her mid-teens. Devastated by her mother’s death, she subsequently found her stepmother, a widow and celebrated beauty, whom her father would marry in 1767, less than ideal. Began keeping a diary at the time, and enjoyed her father’s growing fame as an author, as well as a teacher, by acting as his amanuensis and benefiting from his growing list of cultured friends, as well as her sibling’s experiences. Joined the social circle of Hester Thrale (Arianna Huffington), who initially disapproved of her, giving music lessons to one of her daughters, while secretly composing her first book, Evelina, or A Young Lady's Entrance into the World, which was written in an epistolary style and was published anonymously in 1778. It proved immensely popular both critically and commercially, and her identity was soon revealed, much to her initial embarrassment. Overcoming her innate shyness, she held her own with literary society, joining the Blue Stocking Circle, whom she would satirize in a play, although her father refused to allow it be performed. Her second novel, Cecilia, about love triumphant, was also well-received. Made second keeper of robes at court in 1786, but was unhappy there, seeing it as confined servitude, although her status as an unmarried woman in his mid-30s, gave her little other recourse. Resigned in 1791 when her health failed, although it improved rapidly afterwards, when she was given access to the intellectual society she so sorely missed with the dunderheads of the court. Later underwent an early mastectomy without anaesthesia. Continually kept journals, and was happily married in her early 40s to Alexandre D’Arblay, a cultivated, handsome former Roman Catholic French adjutant general down on his luck, one son from union. Although her subsequent works during her marriage continued to sell, their quality suffered a precipitous decline, and she was roundly savaged by the critics. Lost a beloved sister at century’s near turn, while several of her other siblings continued their soap opera antics, embroiling her constantly in family matters. Her husband returned to France in 1801, and she followed the following year, only to be forced to stay there for a decade because of the Napoleonic wars, while her spouse worked as a clerk for a governmental office. Returned in 1812 on an American ship, only to have it captured, since Britain was now at war with its former colonies as well. Published her last novel in 1814, just after her father died, and her husband joined him four years later, from the effects of cancer of the colon. Retired on returning to England, and poured her attention into her irresolute son’s clerical career, and assembling her father’s memoirs. Forced to deal with her son’s sudden death in 1837, with his life largely unresolved, and she followed him three years later, outliving all her siblings, save for one half-sister. Her journals were published posthumously, adding immeasurably to her subsequent reputation. Inner: Keen observer of the active life around her, good ear for speech, good satiric sensibilities. Warm-hearted and generous, and very much into her extended family, and their various triumphs and tragedies. Employed the repetitive theme of innocent female beauty entering the world and developing her character through experience. Enjoyed her fame, and the ability to generate capital around it. Power of the pen lifetime of recreating her observed domain to good financial effect, albeit uneven literary merit, before becoming entrapped by the larger his’n’herstorical forces around her, and ultimately retreating back into domesticity, thanks to never-ending family matters, which wound up mattering the most to her.


Storyline: The sharp-tongued satirist switches sexes, loses her identity and winds up drowning in her own disappointments, before returning in similar small package form, but far more socially biting manner, in order to turn her trenchant tongue onto the larger world around her, in her ongoing desire to open herself up to herself.

Janeane Garofalo (1964) - American writer, comedienne and actress. Outer: Of Italian/Irish descent. Father was a former executive at Exxon, while her mother was a secretary in the petrochemical industry who died when her daughter was 24. At odds with her politically traditional sire, she would later have him as a frequent guest on her radio show. Had a peripatetic childhood because of her progenitor’s career, and eventually graduated from high school in Texas, although intensely disliked the whole social milieu there. 5’1”, with dark brown hair and eyes, and originally quite busty although deliberately reduced herself in 1984 in order to be more proportional. Eventually the repository for a host of tattoos, as well. Studied his/story and American studies at Providence College, and launched her standup career via a contest put on by Showtime TV, winning the accolade of “The Funniest Person in Rhode Island.” After graduating, she found difficulty in getting a foothold in comedy writing, while assaying stand-up comedy, as a witty observer of the larger American landscape, particularly the media and country’s view of women. Affected a disheveled look, with heavy black eyeliner and thick black eyeglasses, to undermine her own pleasing esthetic, while using her sly sense of self-deprecation to limn the foibles of pop culture. Far more the wry observer than the joketeller, with a wealth of material gleaned from reading, listening and watching. Along with comedian Marc Maron, she organized the ‘Eating It’ stand-up show at NY’s alternative Luna Lounge showcase, before the club was finally razed. Made her film debut in 1991 and the following year, made her TV debut as a cast member of the short-lived “Ben Stiller Show,” which led to an ill-fated turn as a writer and cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” where her critical attitude did not sit well with her fellow writers, and the experience wound up as the low point of her professional career. A lifelong smoker, she also drank heavily during the show, and rancorously left in mid-season, before becoming a cast member of “The Larry Sanders Show” on cable TV during the mid-decade, for a far more positive experience. Married Rob Cohen in 1992 at a Las Vegas drive-in chapel as a joke. Separated afterwards but never divorced, no children from the union. Did numerous guest appearances afterwards on TV, as well as a recurring role on “The West Wing,” although was unable to launch two separate pilots in the next decade. Appeared in a goodly number of films during the 90s, and did animated voices as well, while forming her own production company, I Hate Myself Productions. An outspoken feminist and liberal, as well as a pacifist and atheist, among her other litany of ‘ists’, she became far more overtly political during George W. Bush’s tenure of office, strongly opposing his policies. In 2004 she joined liberalism’s answer to right-wing radio, Air America, and became cohost of “The Majority Report,” along with Sam Seder. The two would eventually have a falling-out over her support of Scientology, and she eventually left the show to him in 2006, although has occasionally appeared on it as a guest. Continues as a liberal burr in the country’s psyche via cable TV, with her missionary enthusiasm to enlighten darkened America undimmed. In 2007, she joined the sober-sided cast of the anti-terror vehicle “24”, as a dramatic antidote to her public image. Inner: Wry, witty, caustic and keenly observant. Strongly feminist, and largely pessimistic, although a zealous advocate of her firmly held beliefs. Mordantly mischievous lifetime of trying to be far more relevant to her times, in order to render both herself and her wit far more palatable to her ongoing shaky sense of self-worth. Dorothy Parker (Dorothy Rothschild) (1893-1967) - American writer. Outer: From a family of means, father’s name was Rothschild, mother was of Scottish descent. Her sire was a prominent businessman in the garment district, as well as a Talmudic scholar. Her mother, who was 42 at the time, died shortly after her birth. Raised by a strict, pious Catholic step-mother, who tried to reform her father. Disliked both. Despite her half-Jewish heritage, she was educated at Sacred Heart Convent in NYC. 4'11". Her estranged father died when she was 20, leaving her with no money but she compensated for it with a small, sweet cultivated voice capable of devastating barbs. Wanted to be a poet, and wrote some verse for Vogue magazine, who hired her in 1916 to write picture captions for them. In 1917, she married a handsome stockbroker, Edwin Pond Parker II, and though she later divorced him in 1928, she retained her husband’s last name. He, in turn, taught her to drink, and she wound a lifelong alcoholic. Became a drama critic for Vanity Fair for three years until 1920, and then cemented her reputation during the next 5 years as the only regular female member of the Round Table at the Algonquin Hotel, a lunchtime gathering of wits and writers, eager to impress one another with their cleverness. The group was co-founded by her along with two other scribes who had worked at Vanity Fair, and rapidly expanded to include a host of New York publishing luminaries who met daily for a decade, trading bon mots. Her incendiary wit was most noticeable at these gatherings, and she quickly garnered a reputation for having an extremely sharp tongue and an extraordinary facility for brilliant putdowns. Despite her facile surface, she tried to kill herself 4 times during that decade. Had an extremely close relationship with fellow member Robert Benchley (Albert Brooks). In later years, she dismissed the group as largely superficial and myopic. Worked as a book reviewer for the New Yorker and later for Esquire with equally trenchant opinionated prose, perfecting a style of review that summed up her often negative reactions with a brief, rapier cut. Published 4 books of poetry, which were both cynical and sentimental, and was also an excellent short story writer. In 1922 she married Alan Campbell, a bisexual actor, who was 11 years her junior. The duo later divorced in 1947 and remarried in 1950, and in between moved to Hollywood and collaborated on a number of movie scenarios, although their relationship was far from fulfilling, nor were their collaborations. To her delight, she became pregnant at 42, although miscarried in her third month. Her career, in essence, ended with the marriage, as she produced only a handful of stories the rest of her life. Involved in left-wing causes, she was cited by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee for affiliation with Communist-front organizations, although she vigorously denied ever being a Communist, despite briefly having joined the party. After her husband’s death from an overdose of alcohol and barbiturates in 1963, she returned to New York. Spent her last few years in declining health, as well as an alcoholic haze and deep melancholy of what she felt was her limited life’s accomplishments, while accompanied by a raspy little dog. Died of a heart attack, and left her estate to civil right’s activist Martin Luther King, Jr. Inner: Extremely self-critical, careful craftsperson, with a great desire to be a serious poet. Mercury-quick mind, but at heart unhappy and unfulfilled, cleverly assaying the surface of things, but rarely penetrating them. Her facility for wounding commentary did not endear her to most people. Barb worded lifetime of realizing her many inadequacies and failing to appreciate her talents, making for an unhappy soul forever putting herself, along with everyone else, down. Thomas Peacock (Thomas Love Peacock) (1785-1866) - English novelist and poet. Outer: Only son of a London glass merchant who died when he was 3. Went with his mother to live with his maternal grandfather, who was a master in the Royal Navy, and was brought up in his house. Largely self-educated, with only a half dozen years of formal schooling at a private school, but he inherited enough private means to allow him to live as a man of letters for a while. Fluent in five languages, he was an omnivorous reader his entire life. Served as a clerk in London, and began writing and publishing poetry. Became secretary to a naval officer, spent a winter at sea, and began socializing with many of the Romantic poets of his time, particularly Percy Bysshe Shelley (Tim Buckley), who made him his executor, although they eventually became friendly antagonists. Found his true form in the satiric novel, showing a deftness and comic wit in his lampoons of both personalities and intellectual ideas of the day. In 1818, he took a post in the examiner’s office of the East India Company, where he ultimately became Chief Examiner of Correspondence, succeeding philosopher James Mill (Christopher Hitchens) in the position. Married in his mid-30s to Jane Gryffydh whom he had met in 1811 on a trip to Wales, but had had no contact since, after proposing via the mails. The duo had 4 children, one of whom became the wife of the writer George Meredith (J.P. Donleavy), whom he later had to support when she separated from him, and ultimately outlived. His wife suffered a breakdown in 1826 after the death of their 3rd daughter, although she lived on until 1851, without ever fully recovering. Stopped scrivening because of the demands of his work as chief examiner, although continued to do so after he retired in 1856, after telling the House of Commons that Europeans had a potential devastating effect on Indian morals and domestic habits. Minor poet, although was a skilled versifier. Died shortly after a fire threatened to destroy his private library, which he refused to leave. Inner: Witty, cerebral and social. Kindhearted, genial and friendly. Considered himself a comic romantic, and loved playing with ideas, both seriously and tongue firmly implanted in cheek. Largely enjoyable lifetime marred by domestic sadness, of searching for both stability and creative outlet to his outsized wit, and managing to integrate both into a productive life, before trying it again from his more difficult female side.


Storyline: The tri-named triple threat writer/director/editor triumphantly becomes the filmic chronicler of the San Fernando Valley, in a breakthrough artistic life after serving as a promoter of the works of others, as well as his own, in the far more modest medium of print.

bPaul Thomas Anderson (1970) - American filmmaker. Outer: Father did voice-overs for commercials and TV shows, and also hosted a late night horror film show in Cleveland, under the nom de macabre of Ghoulardi. After his sire divorced, remarried and moved to California, his son grew up in the San Fernando Valley, which would later serve as the setting for the bulk of his initial films. Close to his progenitor, and alienated from his mother, actress Edwina Gough, with the couple eventually divorcing in 1995. Knew he wanted to be a writer-director from the time he was 7. Hyper as a child and raised Roman Catholic, with a strong sense of moral redemption, he was sent across country to a private school until he was 11, where he shined in the classroom, while dying to return home. At 12, back in California, his father gave him a video camera, which cemented his life’s ambition. Grew up in an extended family of 9 children from two marriages, with four older brothers and a sister, along with three younger sisters from his father’s union with his mother, in a household that once held 18 dogs. In high school, he made a short called “Dirk Diggler” about a porn star with a 13” penis that eventually became the basis for Boogie Nights. 5’11” and lanky. Attended Emerson College in Boston and went to NYU film school for 2 days, before returning to LA. Roomed with his father and worked as a production assistant, while making short films. In 1993, he wrote and directed a short, Cigarettes and Coffee that was accepted at the Sundance film festival. His first feature, Sidney, was taken out of his hands, and from then on, he insisted on total control over all his films. Knowledgeable about all aspects of filmmaking including the technological, and a great admirer of the auteur cineastes of the previous generations. Boogie Nights, which was about the San Fernando Valley porn industry in the 1970s, was a commercial disappointment, but it piqued public interest in him, and he followed it up with the critically acclaimed Magnolia, which was also set in the Valley, making him the poet of a particular locale. All of his films would be highly emotional interlocking character studies, with booming unique scores, along with an ensemble cast who would continually work with him, thanks to his emphasis on character over story. Always fighting for the integrity of his films, in an industry notoriously uninterested in anything other than the bottom line. Had a daughter with comedienne Maya Rudolph in 2005, then added two more daughters and a son to their household, although the duo have yet to marry. In 2007, he hit a new plateau with There Will Be Blood, a universally acclaimed masterpiece of divine and profane American dreamers, then followed it up in similar high style with The Master, based loosely on Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard, although his limning would be far more interested in the intersecting interrelationships of his characters than a critique of the controversial cult, which many found disappointing. His 2015 offering, Inherent Vice, is a faux detective story set in LA in 1970. Based on a Thomas Pynchon novel, it explores the grotesqueries around greedy land development, in yet another of his studies in America’s endless fascination with its corruptive self. Later that same year, he directed a documentary, Junun, with his close friend, Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, limning the making of an album of that name with a host of Indian musicians and Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur. Shot in a 15th-century fort in Jodhpur, it is a study of exotic sound coaxed forth by a gifted group who did not need words to make their aural presence felt and heard.Inner: Workaholic, continually writing and creating, with an ensemble crew who love being part of his oeuvre. Control freak and totally dedicated to getting his vision of life around him on screen. Bridge lifetime of switching milieus to the silver screen, in order to become a more complete artist, rather than a cheerleader for others, as he had done in the past. bWilliam Rose Benet (1886-1950) - American editor and poet. Outer: Grandfather and father were ordnance experts in the U.S. Army. Older brother of poet Stephen Vincent Benet (Randy Newman). Father read to sons, and inspired a love of poetry in both. Graduated from Yale, where he was editor of the Yale Record and Courant. Knew he wanted to be a poet from college onward. Married Theresa Thompson, the sister of novelist Kathleen Norris, in his mid-20s, 3 children from union, which summarily ended when is wife died in the Spanish influenza pandemic seven years later. Joined Century magazine and became an assistant editor, before volunteering for army service during WW I, becoming a 2nd lieutenant in the non-flying sector of the U.S. Signal Corps. After more editorial work, he helped found The Saturday Review of Literature, where he remained as an editor, reviewer and columnist until his death, writing under several pseudonyms. Published his first book of poetry in his late 20s limning common American life. Also wrote ballads and promoted his brother’s works. In 1923, he married writer Elinor Wylie (Lynda Barry), but she died five years later. Began drinking heavily and suffered a heart attack, developing a mystical and philosophic strain in his works in his mid-40s as a result. Married again in his mid-40s to Lois Baxter, divorced five years later. His final union in his mid-50s was to Marjorie Flack, an author and illustrator of children’s books, with whom he collaborated. Died of a heart attack on the way to a meeting of the National Institute of Arts & Letters, for whom he was a secretary. Inner: Gentle, gracious, cheerful and trustworthy. Generous, lavish writer, taken with the lushness and musicality of language. Probably over-protected himself in marriage as a result of the previous go-round, and was found at fault for it by most of his mates. Heartfelt lifetime of love and loss, while promoting his great passion for the written word. bJames Leigh Hunt (1784-1859) - English journalist. Outer: Father was a native of Barbados who grew up in Philadelphia and married a Quaker. As a loyalist driven from the U.S., he became a clergyman, but was improvident, and wound up in debtor’s jail. Son was a delicate, nervous child, too frail to send to the university. Nevertheless, he had access to his father’s library, and by 12 had decided to become a poet. At 13, he was released from school, and though already writing, had no occupation. Made his way into literary circles in London, published a book of poetry at 16, and became a drama critic, then clerk in his brother’s law office. Founded the periodical the Liberal Examiner and edited it for 13 years. Tall, straight and slender, lived on hardly any food. Married Marianne Kent, in his mid-20s, union produced 7 surviving children. Convicted of a scathing article on the future George IV (Warren Beatty) in 1813, he was incarcerated for two years in Surrey Gaol, although his wife was allowed to spend time there with him. Turned his cell into a bower of pictures and flowers, in a symbolic gesture of giving grace to containment, which he also did with his own frail body. On his release, he became a friend of poet John Keats (Jeff Buckley), and champion of both Keats and poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Tim Buckley). Friend of the latter’s wife Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Lynda Barry), whom he briefly sheltered after her husband’s death in 1822, the same year he went to Italy. Returned to England in 1825, after losing his financial support and edited another paper, but it failed. His wife became an invalid and dipsomaniac. Never recovered from the shock of the death of his youngest son, and died of exhaustion. Gifted editor, persuasive writer, and modestly talented poet, although he wrote too much, some of it uneven. Inner: Simple, cheerful, effusive, and romantic. Enthusiastic, albeit frail, lifetime of being at the center of London cultural life, with a weak body but a strong mind and a dedicated purpose, which gave invaluable support, in particular, to the works of Keats and Shelley.


Storyline: The myopic hermit hides from himself in plain sight through debilitating illness and a gothic imagination, while producing both enduring nonsense and ghastly grotesques in his inability to reconcile his strangeness with a world not of his making, before finally emerging as a relatively integrated purveyor of the perverse.

Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) (1970) - American writer. Outer: Father was an accountant, who escaped from Nazi Germany and mother was a college dean. One younger sister. Grew up in comfortable urban circumstances, and was an avid reader, enjoying eccentric authors, while eschewing athletics and traditional children’s fare. Began writing stories at 7, and was valedictorian of his high school class. Received a B.A. in American studies at Wesleyan College, where he met his future wife, Lisa Brown, a graphic artist and illustrator whom he married in 1998, one son from union. Unconsciously engaged her during one of his periodic unexplained blackouts at the time, collapsing in her arms. After college, he moved to NYC for 5 years, before returning home to San Francisco at century’s turn. Published several books, but did not come to public attention until penning a series of alliteratively titled neo-gothic tales about the Baudelaire orphans, each with 13 chapters apiece, and published under the collective title of A Series of Unfortunate Events, beginning in 1999. The series would sell in the 50 million range, and make him a superstar of that genre. Employing a sobriquet he and some friends invented, Lemony Snicket, he has combined a gift for schoolboy satire with an uncanny performance persona that immediately establishes a rapport with children, as a fellow alien from the adult sphere. In addition, he has written several adult novels, and serves as a book reviewer for “Newsday.’” In 2006, he wrote the 13th and final installment in the “Unfortunate Events” series, appropriately titled, The End, in what for him, would be a self-proclaimed childhood’s end, as well, in recognition of his fatherhood and sense of deepening maturity. In 2014, he made a racist joke bout fellow author Jacqueline Woodson during the National Book Awards, and, as part of his abject mea culpa, pledged to donate up to $100,000 to a campaign dedicated to increasing diversity in children’s literature. Inner: Fey, wry and eccentric. Healing lifetime of entering this persnickety sphere through a far more integrated base, in order to allow his gothic imagination the space to serve rather than contain him. Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) - English artist, playwright and poet. Outer: Younger son of a Congregational missionary doctor, and a missionary nurse. Born right before the revolutionary birth of the Republic of China. Spent his first years in China, before his family returned to England for two years at the start of WW I. Returned with them, and then left for good in 1922. Later, his parents went back without him. Better athlete than scholar, but he impressed his teachers at Eltham College with his artistic abilities. Studied art at various institutions, after enjoying public school, but was struck with a progressive illness as a schoolboy that rendered him increasingly helpless until his death. Tall, thin, dark, cadaverous and intense. Went to the Royal Academy Schools, where he won the Hacker Prize in 1931, although later failed his examinations there. Took part in the London art world, designing theatrical costumes, while exhibiting and collaborating on book illustration. Wore his hair long, affected a cape and had an ear pierced, while living on one of the Channel Islands under the tutelage of Eric Drake, who had set up an artist’s colony there. Taught life drawing at the Westminster School of Art, and married Maeve Gilmore, the youngest of six children of a doctor, in his mid-20s, in what would be a close nurturing relationship, that produced two sons and a daughter. A perennial lack of money caused frequent moves and fed into his continuing ill health. Served in the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers during WW II, suffered a nervous breakdown in the army, was discharged and toiled in the Ministry of Information the last 2 years of the war. Served as a war artist with the rank of captain afterwards, sending back brooding drawings of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, which would darken his view of humanity even more. Worked as a part-time teacher over the next decade, while writing a play, and publishing the Gormenghast trilogy, a Gothic fantasy, for which he is best known. Often drew the characters before limning them in words. The 1st part was published in 1946, the last in 1959. Illustrated numerous classic 19th century works, as well as his own children’s books, while always looking for the darkness in the scruff of all the stories he rendered into recognizable images. Focused on the eccentric and freakish in all his works, often with ambiguous and grotesque characters. Diagnosed as having Parkinson’s Disease, or perhaps premature senility, he spent his last years in hospitals and nursing homes, before dyhing in a sanitarium run by his wife’s eldest brother. Left a good deal of unpublished material, and enjoyed a far greater reception following his death then he did during his life. Inner: A total eccentric, whose work directly reflected his life and his belief in no happy endings. Agnostic and apolitical, with a self-exhausting nature, living on his own edge. Gentle, impractical and unworldly with a great need to pour out his darkness. Thought of himself primarily as a painter, despite it being his least accomplished medium. Gormenghastly lifetime of bringing his strange sensibilities into the 20th century, while operating under steadily diminishing capacities, thanks to an attendant shellshocked pessimism that informed everything he did, as well as who he was. Edward Lear (1812-1888) - English poet and painter. Outer: Of English and Scottish descent, despite claiming Danish genes. Father spent a few months in a debtor’s prison, and was a man of wavering fortunes, as a sugar refiner and stock broker. 20th of 21 children, brought up and mostly home-schooled by an older sister, 2 decades his senior. Subject to epilepsy from the age of 5 on, as well as asthma, but kept his infirmity a secret, which made for a life of self-imposed solitude, despite his friendly nature. Short, thickset, spherical and extremely nearsighted with an eventual enormous black beard. Also suffered sexual confusion. Able to support himself from the age of 15 through his art, while also amusing himself by writing nonsense verse. Largely self-taught as an artist, despite briefly studying at the Royal Academy in his late 30s. Served an unofficial apprenticeship with an ornithologist, while becoming a draftsman for the London Zoological Society at 19, producing one of the first color plates of animals in Great Britain, as well as a series of folios of parrot drawings, which drew considerable acclaim. After the age of 25, he traveled widely in southern Europe, the Middle East and India over the next several decades, sketching constantly. In the same way, he ambled from friend to friend and project to project. Spent 11 years in Rome from 1837 to 1848, publishing a book of landscapes in England during this period, while turning to oils for his art. Left Italy because of the political unrest there, and ultimately became drawing master to Queen Victoria (Mary Renault), although found the English climate far too telling on ihs weak lungs, so that he could never settle in his home country. Probably asexual, he once proposed marriage to Gussie Bethell, the daughter of the lord chancellor, in his mid-50s, but felt his infirmities would be passed on, and withdrew the offer, Best known for his limericks and nonsense verse for children. Close friend of poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (Robert Graves), as well as artist William Holman Hunt (John Boorman), who influenced his later oils greatly. Published 5 books of nonsense, 7 of travel and 3 of natural his/story, although it wasn’t until 1861, and his third edition that his innocent brand of limericks became wildly popular. Eventually built a house in Italy, where he died of respiratory failure, outliving all his close friends. Inner: Melancholic and epileptic, with an extremely timid nature. Holy innocent, with a delicious, albeit melancholy wit. Strong identification with alien life forms, while all his closest emotional connections were with men. Had the ability to bring joy to others, but rarely himself. Loved lingering around bookstalls to hear what the public felt about his work. Hated his nose, felt himself ugly, and initially dodged fame with the pseudonym Derry Down Derry. Myopic lifetime of great dread of self-discovery, keeping constantly on the move both internally and externally so as to remain forever a child, unto himself.


Storyline: The gentle gender bender plays with her own complex sense of identity via a totally invented interior of the opposite sex, followed by her own hidden orientation, in her ongoing desire to be recognized for who he/she really is, a storyteller of the first order, while also feeling compelled to remain largely concealed from the prying eye of the public.

May Sarton (Eleanore Marie Sarton) (1912-1995) - Belgian/American writer. Outer: Only surviving child of an artistic mother and a scholarly father. The family was forced to flee Belgium in front of the WW I German advance there, and went first to England where her mother had relatives, before emigrating to Cambridge, Mass., where her sire became a part-time instructor at Harvard, and with some financial help from the Carnegie Institute, a noted full-time scholar of the his/story science. Adored her mother, but was alienated from her father, who was totally engrossed in his work and inconsiderate of his wife. The breach between the two would not be healed until after her mother’s death in 1950. Went to a progressive school, where she developed a lifelong love of poetry. At 12, she lived in Belgium for a year with a family, before returning to graduate private school in 1929, only to turn down a scholarship to Vassar, much to her sire’s disappointment, to join actress Eva Le Gallienne’s theater company in NYC. Had her first sonnets published in Poetry magazine, then traveled to Paris, where she lived for a year, while her parents were in Lebanon. Continued visiting Europe annually, and mixing with the culturati there, and by the neared of the decade, she had published her first novel. Her earlier aspirations to act and direct, were swallowed up by the Depression’s economics, and she turned the full force of her creativity to her pen. Satisfied her need to perform by going on an annual poetry reading and lecture tour of the U.S. During the WW II era, she wrote documentary scripts for the U.S. War Information Office, while continuing with her output and her association with the literary lights of the day, both in England and America. Lost her mother in 1950, and her mentor two years later, before meeting the central love of her adult life, Judith Matlack, with whom she would live for 13 years, and then be devoted to, until the latter’s death in 1982. Wrote her first memoir, “I Knew A Phoenix” in 1954, which covered her first quarter century, and brought her a raft of readers. Following the death of her father in 1958, she bought a home in New Hampshire, and finally felt herself to be an American, although she separated from Matlack in the process. Continued with novels, poetry, and despite nominations for awards, and a loyal readership, she was deeply disappointed that for most of her writing life her work was largely ignored. Finally came out with “Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Sing,” a homoerotic paean, that she feared would diminish her previous work, although it wound up enhancing it. Worried that she would be labeled a lesbian writer, rather than a universal one, particularly since her subject matter had been all-embracing of the human condition. Towards the end of the decade, she penned another memoir, “Plant Dreaming Deep,” which was viewed a landmark work, celebrating the richness in a single woman’s life, sans husband or brood, through her freedom to pursue elevating and stimulating friendships. Moved to Maine and added children’s books to her oeuvre, while penning a third memoir. The subject of a film, World of Light: A Portrait of May Sarton, at the end of the 1970s, which was followed by a mastectomy, and her subsequent physical decline. Despite her debilities, her readings became standing-room-only affairs, and her readership grew exponentially as well. As always, she remained productive in her output, while inundated with critical praise and collections, which ameliorated the loss of close friends. Suffered a stroke, and by 1990 was unable to write or even concentrate, although she turned to a tape recorder, as well as the help of friends, to get her through her final period, forcing her to compromise her fierce sense of independence. Finally died of breast cancer. Inner: Well-loved by all who knew her. Highly observant, and independent, with a gift for friendship, which she would celebrate in her works. Deeply self-examined lifetime of liberating the woman trapped within in her last go-round in this series, and eventually and finally getting her due, for the artist of the pen she was her entire life. William Sharp (Fiona McLeod) (1856-1905) - Scottish poet and writer. Outer: Eldest of 8, father was a partner in a mercantile house, giving his large family a prosperous middle-class upbringing. Spent his early life in the Scottish lowlands, and looked on nature as his muse. Ran away from home three times, passing one summer in a gypsy encampment. Ill-suited for formal education, he spent two years at Glascow Univ, and worked as a clerk in a lawyer’s office, which affected his health after 4 years. Traveled to Australia after the death of his father in 1876, although found the continent too rough for him. Returned two years later following a Pacific cruise and became a bank clerk in London, only to give it up to pursue a writing career and more traveling. Married his first cousin in his late 20s, to whom he had been engaged for 9 years, and later collaborated with his wife on an anthology, in what was more of a friendship than a love match. Ran with literary groups, became friends with Pre-Raphaelite Dante Rossetti (Brian Jones), and later served as his biographer. Using his own name, he penned biographies, poetry and novels, while under the name of Fiona McLeod, supposedly a gifted Celtic writer and a reclusive cousin of his, he wrote his best works: delicate, haunting, almost supernatural studies of life in Scotland. Felt one/half woman when he wrote under her name, in an subconscious act of channeling. Created an elaborate ruse around her existence, including correspondence in her name, and a bogus entry in “Who’s Who.” Had difficulty in separating fact from fiction, and probably ultimately believed in her existence. Suffered poor health his entire life, not being attuned to his body at all, no matter the gender. Traveled sporadically to avoid English winters, and his deception around his alternate alter ego was not discovered until after his death from a cold. Inner: Mystic, pantheistic nature. Genial, bluff, suave and aggressive. Freed himself from his innate self-consciousness when writing under his female name. Although his male side was largely undistinguished, as a female he was an extremely haunting writer. Dualistic lifetime of trying to integrate his masculine and feminine sides via an ambisexuality that was able to access both a major and a modest talent, although never quite able to make him feel whole in his singular body.


Storyline: The well-rewarded scribe learns to his artistic detriment that success and good fortune do not provide proper motivation to unsheathe his interior gifts, while suffering and conflict do.

Irwin Shaw (Irwin Shamforoff) (1913-1984) - American/Swiss novelist and playwright. Outer: Parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. Father was a hat-trimming salesman. Younger brother David ultimately became a successful Hollywood producer. Enjoyed a middle class upbringing in Brooklyn, and was a good athlete and active sportsman his entire life. A college dropout after failing freshman calculus, he returned to it after a taste of the workaday world. Graduated Brooklyn College, then at 21, started his writing career, penning radio scripts. Wrote 9 serial episodes a week, which led to a brief stint as a filmwriter. His first play, "Bury the Dead," about six dead soldiers who refuse interment, was a huge success in 1936 with its powerful pacifist message. Had 4 more plays produced, then began contributing stories to magazines, which proved his true metier. Great storyteller, with a mixture of irony and poignance, under the continual theme of war and violence and the moment of truth that crisis invariably creates. In 1939, he married Marian Edwards, the daughter of character actor Snitz Edwards. His wife became a theatrical producer in Europe, before the couple divorced, while their only child, Adam, also became a writer. Served in the Army Signal Corps in WW II in North Africa, the Middle East, France and Germany, rising to the rank of warrant officer. His novel from that conflict, The Young Lions, published in 1948, gave him breathing room and stability. Left the U.S. in 1950 to become an expatriate in Paris, eventually settling in Switzerland. His later works were more commercial and less substantive, damaging his earlier critical reputation, despite his continued commercial successes, such as Rich Man, Poor Man. Left France in 1976, and spent the rest of his life residing dually on Long Island and Switzerland. Died of a heart attack, while suffering from prostate cancer. Inner: Honest, generous, witty, direct. Highly ambitious, strong sense of adventure, but alienated from American life, despite his inherent American values. Moment-of-untruth lifetime of failing to nurture his talent, preferring fame and fortune to literary greatness, despite his innate gifts. Louis Marie Alphonse Daudet (1840-1897) - French writer. Outer: Son of peasants who were small silk manufacturers. One of 17 children, most of whom died young. Resented his royalist, angry father but adored his pious, imaginative mother, who loved to read. Extremely myopic and frail as a youth, he developed his other senses to compensate for his eyes. Began drinking to excess as a teenager, as well as being precociously sensual. An indifferent student, he failed to complete his baccalaureate because of finances. Became a study supervisor at the college of Ales, where he may have attempted suicide. Pursued a bohemian lifestyle and published his first work at 18, drawing on his own life experiences. Extremely handsome, stocky and short, he was very appealing to women. Worked as a journalist then secured a sinecure with the duke of Morny, allowing him both security and prestige and the freedom to travel and write. Contracted syphilis from his dissolute lifestyle, which would make his last twenty-five years sheer agony. Traveled, co-authored several plays with different partners, and, in his late 20s, he married Julia Allard, a long-lived established poet who stabilized his life. 3 children from union, two of whom became writers. Continued his prolific output, doing short stories as well as novels, while using his own personal experiences as fodder for his well-received works, which were realistic, humorous and warm. Also was a drama critic and adopted some of his novels for the stage. Despite being syphilitic from a youthful age, having contracted it from a woman employed as a court reader for Napoleon III (Darryl F. Zanuck), he remained a sexual predator, until overwhelmed by the disease. Spent the last 15 years of his life compiling notes for a book on pain, but never wrote it. Viewed as a great storyteller by the critics, the public and contemporary writers alike, although was ultimately seen as a minor writer. Died of tertiary syphilis. Inner: Highly volatile, self-destructive nature that eventually was able to work itself through by transposing his unpleasant memories into positive stories. Probably held the belief that artists must suffer to produce great art, which he would test out in his next go-round by embracing its polarity. Full circle lifetime of transforming himself from unhappy beginnings into a well-received maturity, before disappearing into an agonizing end.


Storyline: The regional religionist weathers the genetic death sentence given her, after an earlier long and fecund life, and uses it to ponder meaning, grace and the power of faith-filled transformation, through her own ever deepening literary eye.

Flannery O’Connor (Mary Flannery O’Connor) (1925-1964) - American writer. Outer: Only child, and extremely close to her mother, who was from a prominent Georgia family. Her father was a realty owner, who later worked for a construction company, and served as mayor of Milledgeville. Afflicted with lupus, a hereditary autoimmune and blood disease, he passed it down to his daughter, and died when she was in her mid-teens. Never really able to accept his death, since it was also a similar sentence on her. Taught a chicken to walk backwards as a young child, which made her a celebrity, after it was filmed by the Pathe News Co., and shown in theaters around the country. Raised a Roman Catholic, she identified deeply with her religion, particularly since it made her an outsider in an otherwise larger Southern Baptist environment, which she would explore literarily. Somewhat ungainly physically with an outward conventionality, she more than compensated for her external ordinariness with a sharp intelligence and an acute internal sensibility. The family moved to Milledgeville, her mother’s birthplace, when she was 12. Graduated from Georgia State College for Women in 1945 in an accelerated program, where she edited the college magazine, then was accepted into the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop, at the Univ. of Iowa, where she published her first short story. Got a Master’s degree in literature, then moved to NYC, where she began work on Wise Blood, the tale of an unbeliever’s self-conversion through self-mutilation and self-realization. Diagnosed with lupus in 1950, she was forced her to return home, to her farm, Andalusia, knowing she had but a few years to live. Never married, nor showed any inclination towards an intimate relationship with anyone other than her mother, with whom she would spend the rest of her life, and God, with whom she would spend her entire existence. Continued giving college lectures on literature when she could and indulged in her longtime fascination with birds, raising all kinds of fowl, including peacocks, which she considered avian royalty. Resigned to her fate, she nevertheless led as an active life as she could, penning an impressive oeuvre of two novels, thirty-one short stories and essays. Reduced to crutches her last decade, before an abdominal operation reactivated the lupus, so that she succumbed to its complications before she reached 40. Although deemed a Southern Gothic writer, she saw the category as Northern prejudice. Wrote mostly of fundamentalist Protestants, whose clumsy maneuvers were subtly informed by a pursuit of grace. Best known for her extraordinary short stories, a form she proved master of both in the pungency of the dramas she created, and her ability to infuse them with her deeply realized vision of the life around her. Inner: Saw God as the world’s central character, and wrote accordingly. Self-deprecating, sardonic and deeply aware of the transitory, and yet holy nature of life, thanks to her own disease condemned existence. Wise, but tainted, blood lifetime of pouring her soul into her work, knowing full well her body was a transitory container at best, while her art and faith would reign eternal. Charlotte Yonge (Charlotte Mary Yonge) (1823-1901) - English writer. Outer: From a deeply religious and extended Church of England family. Father was the son of a clergyman. One younger brother. Her sire, who believed firmly in the dictum of ‘father knows best as a reflection of the everlasting Father,’ served as her teacher, educating her in the sciences, classics, art and language. Extremely shy, she adhered to her parents’ strict dicta against idleness and vanity, and only associated with those of her own station. Traveled often to London and Oxford with her mother to visit relatives, so as not to be completely isolated, but she only really felt comfortable with her own extended family, and, despite her many self-imposed restrictions, as well as theirs, had a happy childhood. Began writing at 7, and also started teaching at the local Sunday school. When she was 12, a new vicar came to the village, John Keble, a published poet and a leading figure of the Oxford Movement, and he would exert a strong influence on her, as well as her burgeoning Anglo-Catholic sensibilities. Published her first book, which was written in French, at 15, in order to raise funds for a Girl’s School. Never married and lived her entire life in Otterbourne village, a stagestop between Southampton and London. Published her first work in her early 20s, and afterwards was a veritable fount, sometimes numbering as many as four volumes a year, so that her ultimate output, which included biographies, and inspirational faith-based tales, featuring piety and self-sacrifice, numbered around 100. Most of them concerned large Victorian families, with female protagonists who were rewarded for their dutiful fealty to God, hearth and home. Both her father and Keble would be her early readers and critics, helping her shape her initial works, and, in a sense, she wrote for them her entire life, as her projected audience. A teacher at heart, she devoted herself to educating children, and wound up exerting considerable influence on the educators of her day. Beginning in 1851, she edited a magazine for young women called “The Monthly Packet” for nearly 40 years, stopping just two annums before her death. In it, she serialized some of her best stories. Hero-worshiped her father, and was shocked at his sudden death in 1854, feeling his loss deeply. When her brother married and began producing a large family, she and her mother moved out to a nearby house, where she could write in relative quiet, and she lived there the rest of her life. Lost her other mentor Keble in 1865, and, in a sense, was permanently deprived of her muse with his exit, which she deeply grieved. Continued with her writing, but it was never on the same level as her earlier works, when she could get direct feedback from her two primary teachers. Lost her mother in 1868, and as always, tried to transliterate her grief into creativity. In a largely uneventful life, she tried to bestow her Victorian morals on the young women of her time to be upright and faithful wives. Also worked with the many immigrant laborers in the railway town nearby, charitably contributing to their housing and welfare. Gave away almost all the profits from her books, and was known locally more as a benefactress than a novelist. A figure of her time rather than one of the ages, her output was similarly geared towards her peers and contemporaries, and would be little read by future generations. Inner: Highly traditional and conservative, with an all-abiding sense of Christian charity, clarity and piety. Well-loved by all who knew her for her generosity of spirit, and her genuine caring for all whose lives she touched. Virginal lifetime of acting out the good devout daughter to the hilt, while getting her literary feet wet as a pious propagandist of Victorian values, before emerging in her next go-round as a genuine artist of the pen, in a far darker time and place, with the spectre of death constantly barking at her heels, in order to give her a far more profound sense of meaning and life.


Storyline: The effete esthete lets loose and then represses his highly original fluttering persona in order to wear his idiosyncratic interior on the outside before bringing it back safely inside again, and exhibiting it far more in his work than his life.

Edward Gorey (1925-2000) - American writer/artist. Outer: Father was a Hearst journalist. An only child, he taught himself to draw at 1 1/2 and to read at 3 1/2. Parents divorced when he was 11, then remarried 16 years later, adding to his sense of disconnection with them. Distant relations with father, a Catholic. Mother was an Episcopalian. Acknowledged a connection to his past go-round as Ronald Firbank as an important influence. Extremely tall. Served in noncombatant duty in the U.S. army in Utah as a company clerk. Majored in French literature at Harvard where he roomed with poet Frank O’Hara. Lived in Boston where he illustrated book jackets, then NYC, where he worked in the art department at Doubleday, and created his own books late at the office. Unable to find a publisher, he created his own, Fantod Press, selling his books directly to stores, beginning in 1953 with The Unstrung Harp. Later hooked up with the Gotham Book Market, which marketed both his books and their byproducts. A slow, meticulous worker, he designed his life around the schedule of the NYC Ballet for the 35 years he lived in Manhattan. Also enamored of stage decor, he did the sets for Dracula. Finally settled on Cape Cod, in a 200 year old house that may have been haunted, with a host of cats, and extremely set routines. Had a huge library, mostly Victorian, and also enjoyed soap operas and horror movies. An inveterate movie goer, despite feeling they had been steadily going downhill since 1918. Produced a unique blend of mordant illustrations and somber wit to present an extremely dark, askew world that was at the same time, morbidly charming. Later in life, he affected a white beard, earrings and rings on most of his fingers, as well as a trademark raccoon coat. Produced a fairly prolific outflow of work, with a life pretty much centered on isolated creativity and all the forced introspection that pathway entails. Diagnosed with prostate cancer and diabetes in 1994, he died of a heart attack. Inner: Alienated, solitary, eccentric and largely hidden, but also amiable and accessible, an extremely dualistic character. Life-long depressive, with his existence firmly focused on his work, although friends found him fun-loving and effervescent. Distinct preference for being the audience, rather than the active player in life’s theater. Eccentric lifetime of exhibiting some of his strangeness while letting most of it seep out into his work rather than his life. Ronald Firbank (Arthur Annesley Firbank) (1886-1926) - English writer. Outer: Grandfather had founded the family wealth, as a miner who became a railroad magnate. 2nd of 3 sons of a wealthy company director who was also a Unionist Member of Parliament. Mother, to whom he was close, was the daughter of a rector. One sister as well. Suffered sunstroke as a child, which gave him an extremely delicate nature. Nervous and shy, he had a lifelong throat condition, symbol of blocked communication, which would eventually kill him. Had an aristocratic upbringing, and was pampered by his mother. Educated privately, he attended no school til he was 14. Only lasted 2 terms because of his distinct otherness, then went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he took no exams and managed to complete five terms. Tall, slender and effeminate, he used to stain his nails a deep carmine. Had a high-pitched voice, and a penchant for rings, and was roundly mocked for his affectations, which bothered him not a whit. Converted to Catholicism, and established himself as an eccentric dandy esthete. Although the family fortune seemed to disappear on his father’s death in 1910, he traveled extensively in Spain, Italy, the Middle East, and North Africa. In 1914, he announced his name was Ronald, and retreated to his own elaborate interior in Oxford, where he stayed for the duration of WW I. Led a solitary existence, often going to the theater alone. A flaming homophile, he continued to cultivate his eccentricity, and had a palm tree in his flat, paying a gardener to water it twice a day. Wrote slight but highly innovative novels, which were witty and purposefully inconsequential. Self-published his first series of books, which were met with critical indifference. Remained relatively obscure until 1924 when “The Prancing Nigger,” was published to both acclaim and good sales in the U.S. Didn’t like the title, so that it’s English version was called, “Sorrow in Sunlight.” Able to deal literarily with his sexual proclivities afterwards. Died prematurely from lung disease, and was mistakenly buried in a Protestant cemetery before being exhumed to a Catholic graveyard. Inner: Purposefully provocative, fastidiously esthetic, highly sophisticated. His only close emotional attachment was to his mother, who died two years before him. Faux-decadent lifetime of dedicating his actualities and his fantasies to being an Apollo, struck by the sun and forever blinded by Apollonian beauty, while existing in his own highly singular world.


Storyline: The uprooted cerebral comic utilizes an ongoing sense of alienation to delve into the satiric possibilities of his mental, rather than heartfelt, perceptions, and is alternately well and ill-rewarded for his efforts.

J. P. Donleavy (James Patrick Donleavy) (1926-2017) - American/Irish writer and painter. Outer: Parents were Irish immigrants, who instilled a healthy regimen of diet and exercise, to which he continued to adhere. Father was a florist and orchid grower who became a firefighter. One of 3 children, with a brother and sister.. Educated at a private Jesuit school, but was expelled. Trained as a boxer, before serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve during WW II, then used the G.I. Bill to go Trinity College in Dublin to study microbiology. Extremely alienated from the violence of the United States. Moved to Ireland, and eventually bought a 200 year old manor on nearly 200 acres, and became a born again Irishman. In 1946, he married Valerie Heron, later divorced in 1969, son and daughter from the union. Best known for "The Ginger Man", which was based on a college drinking companion, and was rejected by nearly 50 publishers. First published in Europe in 1955, but its bawdiness had to endure court battles and censorship before getting out in unexpurgated form to the American public in 1963. All its litigation depressed him deeply and he became more and more of a hermit. Transmorphed into a gentleman of leisure following its success, and adopted Irish citizenship in 1967 when Ireland granted tax free status to its foreign authors. Married actress Mary Wilson Price in 1970, a daughter and son from the union, which ended in divorced in 1989. Ultimately became prisoner of the unusual style of his first work, by which his 20+ successive books continued to be measured. Went on to combine Irish gusto with an American overview to his output, which featured colorful characters, rich eccentric prose and a distinctive literary style. Eventually, he turned into a recluse, feeling he had lost his ability to deal with people, while both writing and painting. Re-emerged shortly before his 80th birthday, spry and fit, to reclaim his public self, in time for the 50th anniversary of "The Ginger Man": The year after he had a major exhibition of his paintings in NYC. In 2011, DNA tests showed his two children by his second wife were not his, but instead sach was fathered by a pair of brothers who were heirs to the Guinness brewery fortune. Died of a stroke at a hospital near his home. Inner: Careful craftsman, taking his time between published works. Cerebral, with a bleak overview of life, but with the saving grace of a fine Irish humour. Little real connection to anyone other than himself. Once opined, “Writing is turning one’s worst moments into money.” Transplanted lifetime of being given both fame and fortune for his comic imagination while the rest of his being remained curiously undeveloped. George Meredith (1828-1909) - English writer. Outer: Grandfather was a prosperous tailor. Father studied to be a doctor, then took over the tailoring business. Mother was the beautiful and talented daughter of a prosperous innkeeper, who died when her son was 5. Family was lively and intelligent, and he enjoyed a stimulating upbringing. Reserved, sensitive, and well taken care of. Privately educated in England and at a German Moravian School, where he became adept in the language. Tall, strong, and distinguished-looking with great vitality. On returning to England, he was articled to a London solicitor with bohemian tastes, before becoming a journalist and poet. In his early 20s, he married Mary Ellen Nicolls, the widowed daughter of writer Thomas Peacock (Dorothy Parker), who was 9 years his senior and who later deserted him, after a son was born to their union. Married her four months after her husband had drowned, duo had a similar temperament. Despite his writing skills, and his social connections, as well as his friendship with the pre-Raphaelites, his early works did not sell well and his livelihood was precarious. Wrote for journals, and was a reader for a publishing house for over thirty years. Married a 2nd time in 1864 to Marie Vulliamy and settled into the countryside, 2 children from the union, later had difficulties with his surviving son. Although critics and literati came to appreciate his work, it wasn’t until the last decades of his career, when he was in his late 50s, that the public discovered him. In his final years, he published many of his opinions on public matters, as a self-appointed voice of reason, until he was disabled by paraplegia in 1893. Also suffered from increasing deafness. Awarded numerous honors towards the end of his life. Noted for his complex, often comic psychological works, that addressed matters of the mind rather than the heart. An interesting, albeit, oblique stylist, concerned with the intellectual pleasures of reading discursive writing. Inner: Nervous, restless, hard to live with. Cerebral, insightful, great believer in evolution and the notion that humans continually live in a state of becoming. Seeped tea lifetime of allowing his voice to evolve into full maturity without the constraints of popularity to limit it, while reinforcing his sense of alienation through his familial relationships.


Storyline: The analytic provocateur sets out to conquer the highbrow haute monde, while keeping her own gender preferences larger hidden, after an earlier go-round of grinding out lesser fare because of an improvident mate, and a messy household demanding she be far more down-to-earth in her cerebrations.

Susan Sontag (Susan Rosenblatt) (1933-2004) - American critic and writer. Outer: Father was a fur trader in China, who died there of tuberculosis during the Japanese invasion, when she was 5. Often left with relatives, during the extended trips of her parents. Her mother was a schoolteacher, and an alcoholic, who later married an army officer from whom she took her name. Because of asthma, she eventually moved to Tucson, Arizona, and later Los Angeles. Reading by the age of 3, she saw her childhood largely as a prison sentence, while dreaming of becoming an important literary voice, in a repeat performance of her previous go-round in this series. Extremely focused from her teens onward, seeing a great destiny in letters for herself. with European belles lettres as her ideal. Graduated from high school at 15, while her mother warned her, she’d never get a husband with her face in books all the time, despite her dark beauty. Had her first sexual awakening with another young woman at 16, while at UC Berkeley, feeling reborn afterwards, although later would see that revelations of her orientation would be an impediment to her all-important career. Transferred to the Univ. of Chicago, and married one of her lecturers, Philip Rieff, a social psychologist and his/storian, 10 days after hearing him speak. One son from the union, who eventually became a writer and her editor. 17 at the time, she was 11 years younger than her spouse. Earned two master’s degrees from Harvard, and also won a fellowship at Oxford Univ. The duo divorced when she was 25, and she turned largely to prominent women in the arts afterwards for her intimacies, including playwright Maria Irene Fornes and choreographer Lucinda Childs, although did not publicly ‘out’ herself until 1995, and then only to coyly say she was bi-sexual. Tall and commanding with a sultry voice, a penchant for black outfits, and from her middle years onwards, skunk-striped hair. Moved to NYC at 26 and taught the philosophy of religion at Columbia Univ. Despite a desire to be a New York literateur, her first experimental stabs at fiction where poorly received, and she turned to the essay as her true metier, although she eventually worked in all genres, including film, theater and theatrical direction. Made her name in 1964 with “Notes on Camp,” elevating the dismissed detritus of pop culture to the level of art, and from then on was a major player on the intellectual scene, thanks to her telegenic looks, and facility for provocative pronouncements. Actively involved in politics her entire adult life, campaigning for human rights, while calling the white race the cancer of human history in response to the Vietnam war, after briefly embracing revolutionary communism following a trip to Hanoi in 1968. Later denounced communism for its human rights abuses, and turned on the left in the 90s for its failure to stop genocide in the world. Turned her own bout with breast cancer, a mastectomy and leukemia into a meditation on illness, “Illness as Metaphor,” in 1978, while struggling with the disease for three decades. Later wrote on AIDS. In the 1980s, she returned to fiction, and produced more conventional fare, including “In America,” on Helena Modjewski (Ingrid Bergman), for which she won the National Book Award in 2000, despite charges of plagiarism. The following year she was one of the few public voices which did not fall into line praising America after the tragedy of 9/11, and her final works were a return to her meditations on suffering. Her final companion was the photographer Annie Liebovitz. Died of complications of acute myelogenous leukemia. Wrote 17 books translated into 32 languages, and had diaries, edited by her son, published posthumously, in which she revealed a far more vulnerable and furtive character, particularly around her sexuality, than she ever did in life. Inner: Self-described “besotted aesthete” and “obsessed moralist,” with an emphasis on the latter in her critiques of art. Extremely self-absorbed as well as well-read, and a noted bibliophile, with an apartment lined with some 15,000 books, and no TV. Decidedly eurocentric in her intellectual ideals, with America quite cloddish in comparison. Serious, with such strong convictions, she didn’t mind contradicting herself, although demurred on her sexual attractions, probably in fear of being limited by them, in the largely male world of olympian contemporary minds. Highly social, and a compulsive self-recorder, she placed great emphasis on physical beauty. Aesthetic amazon lifetime of rocking the cultural boat, while trying to find a balance between the moral and the cultural, as well as being the hostess of numerous self-contradictory traits, which she, nevertheless, was able to harness into a provocative, passionate oeuvre, geared towards waking up what she saw as a somnolent, unserious world. Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) - English writer. Outer: Youngest of five children of a teacher and director at the family’s agricultural school, who died when she was 4. Moved at 9 with her mother and sisters to France for a tubercular sister’s health, where she was educated at an Ursuline convent and then at boarding schools in Germany. Later fashioned some of her fiction around her early insecure, and occasionally impoverished, life, where she spent her idle hours dreaming of being a great poet. Returned to England when she was 14, and ultimately settled in London, where some of her poetry found their way to print. At 22, while 7 months pregnant, she married Hubert Bland, a philandering bank clerk, who proved both improvident and needy for far greater female companionship than their union could offer, occasioning an open marriage on both their parts. 3 children from the union. In order to help support the household, she began writing verse, journalism and reviews, as well as coloring in greeting cards and giving public recitals. He, in turn, often collaborated with her, as ‘Fabian Bland,’ and the duo were in at the founding of the socialist Fabian Society in the mid-1880s, where she published the society’s first tract, and found support for her sense of being a liberated woman of the time. Added to her brood with the offspring of her husband’s various dalliances. A noted hostess, she was very tall, very striking and very dramatic in appearance, given to outlandish outfits, and a ubiquitous cigarette holder, while constantly being surrounded by male admirers, including an all-star cast of lovers. When a business venture of his as a brush-manufacturer was sabotaged by a partner at century’s end, she turned to potboilers and children’s books, penning some 40 of the the latter, while raising the standard of the genre, and therein would lie her larger reputation. Best known for “The Wouldbegoods.” In addition, she wrote verse, stories and plays for children, as well as adults, while scrivening a host of novels with others, including 8 with her husband. Despite her public stances, she wrote under the name of E. Nesbit, to deliberately hide her gender. Her successes produced 7 homes around London. Converted to Catholicism after the century’s turn, and 4 years after her spouse’s death in 1913, she married a ship’s engineer, despite disapproval from family and friends over his lowly workingman’s status, although he proved a far kindlier and more solicitous mate. Given a Civil list pension in 1915, she died of lung cancer, thanks to her liberated adoption of smoking cigarettes incessantly as a sign of her emancipation. Inner: Large-hearted, and unconventional, albeit occasionally tradition-bound as well. Extremely prolific, using her own life as a basis for much of her fiction. Had a great desire to be taken seriously as a poet, although circumstances forced her to focus mostly on commercial fare, and this would be her legacy. Flamboyant lifetime of acting out the emancipated woman of her time, only to have her larger intellect curtailed by the mundane practicalities of producing salable, rather than genius work, which would lead her to pursue an even more independent pathway the next time around in this series. g. lessingGotthold Lessing (1729-1781) - German critic and playwright. Outer: Father was a Protestant minister and scholar, whose tolerant views oversaw a household that encouraged liberal thought. Precocious student with a burning love for learning, he entered the Univ. of Leipzig in 1746 to study theology in order to follow in his sire’s footsteps, but was opened up to journalism and the theater by a cousin, and transferred to the faculty of philosophy and literature. Began writing plays and settled in Berlin in 1749, supporting himself as a journalist, while getting his master’s degree at the Univ. of Wittenberg. Published a volume of essays defending out-of-favor earlier writers, showing a lucidity of both style and thought. In 1750, he co-founded a quarterly journal dedicated to the theater, in which he stated the future of the German stage should look to the English rather than the French model. Continued to build on his reputation as a critic, as well as walk his talk in his subsequent theatrical pieces. Accompanied a wealthy young man on a tour of western Europe, although it was aborted by the 7 Years’ War, and he returned to Germany to continue his role as literary critic and playwright. Served as the secretary to the governor of Breslau from 1760 to 1765 and utilized the time to further his classical studies, and also cement his reputation as a leading European aesthetic critic. In 1767, he completed his greatest work, “Minna von Barnheim,” the first German national drama, and the same year he was appointed critic and literary adviser to the newly formed German National Theater in Hamburg, although it failed 2 years later, and he became a court librarian in Brunswick. Maintained his output, and, after a trip to Italy married Eva Konig, the widow of a friend. His happiness, in a largely unhappy life, was brief, when his wife died in childbirth 2 years later. His last 3 years saw him sink into depression, loneliness, debt and ill health, and finally death, after publishing a fragmentary tract by a professor which was considered anti-Christian, and then producing a play, “Nathan The Wise,” that was a noble plea for toleration. Inner: Extremely cerebral, with an excitement surrounding idea and knowledge, but an inability to transliterate that into any real sense of personal fulfillment and joy. Largely unhappy lifetime of acting as the embodiment of the German Enlightenment, and the first German writer of pan-European stature.


Storyline: The eccentric alien resurrects himself from a flirtation with oblivion to continue his quest as a literary Columbus, searching for safe passages in and out of himself.

T. Coraghessan Boyle (Thomas John Boyle) (1948) - American writer. Outer: Father was a school custodian and bus driver, mother worked as a secretary. Both parents were Irish immigrants, and died of alcoholism in their 50s, despite providing a loving and supportive home for him. Changed his middle name to Coraghessan at 17, to celebrate his Irish heritage, and claimed never to have read a book until he was 18. A self-described “pampered punk,” during the 1960s, he was initially a music student at the State Univ. of Potsdam in NY. Played in a rock band afterwards. Nightly alcohol and drug binges lubricated his developing storytelling sensibilities, and he became addicted to heroin in his early 20s, in an unconscious death wish. Lean and goateed. When a friend died of an O.D., he ended his veined relationship with the deadly drug, and became a high school teacher at his alma mater in order to avoid the draft. After a story on his former habit was published in “The North American Review,” he gained admittance to the MFA program at the Univ. of Iowa Univ., via its prestigious writer’s workshop, and received an MFA and Phd from there. Married Karen Kavashay in his mid-20s, 3 children from the union, including daughter Kerrie Kvashay-Boyle, a writer, as well. Became an assistant professor of English at USC, and had his first collection, “The Descent of Man,” published in 1979. His first novel, ”Water Music,” appeared in 1981, and he gradually built up a reputation as a comic stylist, eventually reaching a larger audience through the popular success of “Road to Wellville,” a 1993 disquisition on the brothers Kellogg of cereal fame and fortune, one of his few works which failed to impress the critics. Became a tenured professor at USC, and bought a Frank Lloyd Wright designed house, while penning over a dozen well-received novels, with a particular comic empathy for genuine American eccentrics. A sharp satirist, with a flamboyant writing style, and a perceptive ability to catch and cauterize human foibles, he has the ability to realize place, time and character in unusual detail with a great innate feel for his characterizations, making them dance right off the page. Inner: Offbeat alienated persona, with a sharp eye and ear for the human comedy. Self-confessed obsessive-compulsive, with a singular interest in fiction, rather than essays, film scripts or other writerly pursuits. Continually delineating themes of appetite and desire. Eccentric lifetime of exploring his own profound ongoing sense of alienation through inner, rather than outer, means, by turning his sensibilities into an ongoing literary riff on the ridiculous world he perceives around him. Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) - Irish/American writer. Outer: Father was a surgeon-major in the British army, and was of English, Irish, gypsy extract. Mother was a Greek with arabic and moorish blood. His sire deserted the family, while his mother found the environment in their son’s native Ireland stifling and fled with a lover. Raised by a bigoted great aunt in Dublin who had converted to Catholicism, and was educated in Catholic schools in France and England. Defaced and blinded in one eye by a handle of rope in a childhood accident, he seriously impaired his vision in the other eye by overstrain, which swelled to twice its size. Had a nervous breakdown as a teen, and developed an obsession about his physical unattractiveness. Emigrated to the U.S. at 19 and settled in Cincinnati where he learned the printer’s trade, before becoming an assistant editor of a weekly paper there. Briefly married Mattie Foley, a mulatto, which cost him his job. Later joined the staff of the Cincinnati Enquirer, and several years later worked for the Cincinnati Commercial. Began to translate French writers, and established a dual interest in literature and journalism. Moved to New Orleans and worked for two papers there, writing editorials, essays, reviews, stories and sketches, and also regularly contributed translations from French and Spanish writers in book form. His interests began spanning more exotic cultures, with a book on Creole proverbs and then a collection of Oriental legends, which led him to begin his own original work. Made an arrangement with Harper’s magazine to go to the West Indies and do sketches of French Creole life. Spent two years on Martinique, producing two books from the experience. Arranged a similar deal to go to Japan, but once there, decided to stay, reneging on his deal with Harper’s, and instead got a job teaching English, while viewing his adopted country in glowing terms, a “fairyland” populated with “the most lovable people in the universe.” Looked upon in the West as a traitor to his race and culture. At 40, he married Setsu Koizumi, the daughter of an impoverished samurai family in order to protect her in the event of his death, 4 children from union. Changed his name to Koizumi Yakumo. Worked as an editor of the Kobe Chronicle before being appointed professor of English literature at Tokyo Imperial University, a post he held for eight years, during which time he wrote a series of books about Japanese life and culture. Although he spent the remainder of his life there, he desperately longed for a world where he fit in, which, for him, did not exist. Died of a heart attack. Inner: Small, shy, sensitive, suspicious, proud and fastidious. Lifelong feeling of inferiority. Saw himself as a civilized nomad. Strong Celtic love of the dreamy and mysterious, as well as a Hellenic adoration of the sensuous and beautiful, a combination of his inner parents. Alienated lifetime of searching for beauty through an ugly face while exploring “the Odd, the Queer, the Strange, the Exotic, the Monstrous,” as well as being a literary Columbus and, in doing so, allowing the complete range of his literary being as mythologist, critic, poet and novelist, full flower.


Storyline: The professorial irrealist switches from passive to active dream/master in exorcising himself of his excess Gothic imagination, and in so doing, integrates himself with his contemporary times.

Wes Craven (1949-2015) - American filmmaker and writer. Outer: Grew up in a bleak section of Cleveland, with his father dying when he was 5. Raised a brimstone Baptist, but resisted his mother’s religiosity. Went to Wheaton College, and got an MA at Johns Hopkins in philosophy. Briefly taught humanities at several colleges, as well as being a high school teacher in Madrid, Spain and Pennsylvania. Began his film career in his early 20s as a post-production assistant, before moving up to film editor on several low-budget features, with Swedish director ingmar Bergman as his inspiration for going into motion pictures. 6’2”. Married Bonnie Broecker in his mid-20s, divorced in 1970, director/writer son Jonathan and singer/songwriter daughter Jessica from union. Wrote screenplays for the horror films he directed, finally finding an embracing public chord in 1984 with Nightmare on Elm Street, a frightening invocation to the power of dreams. As his career continued, he made a reputation for himself as an auteur horror director, with his name appearing above his movies, while also producing works in the same mode, with, once again, his signature above the title, on TV as well as theatrical releases. Married Millicent Meyer, a flight attendant in his early 40s, although his wife allegedly had an affair with actress Sharon Stone which terminated the union 3 years later. Exerted more control over his work as co-executive producer, while continuing to explore the endless nightmares that special effects can affect in the hands of an imaginative horrifier. Wrote his first novel at 50, "Fountain Society," and at the same time, began branching out into other film genres with Music of the Heart, the story of an inspirational teacher. His Scream franchise during the 1990s, added to his horrormeister reputation, as he also expanded his oeuvre. In 2004, he wed iya Labunka, a producer and production manager. Diagnosed with brain cancer, he died at home. Inner: Articulate and intelligent, with a sense of fun about his abilities to scare people. Able to uncover fresh talent and allow them to begin their memorable careers, such as Johnny Depp, Bruce Willis and Sharon Stone. Named his Nightmare slasher character Freddy Krueger after a boy who bullied him in high school. Dream/master lifetime of exorcising his own childhood terrors and demons, as well as those of lives past, through the popular medium of film, while allowing others to do the same via his vivid sense of the irreal. Arthur Machen (Arthur Llewellyn Jones) (1863-1947) - English writer. Outer: Father was a clergyman, brought up in a rectory of a tiny church. As a child, his imagination was stirred by metaphysics and the occult, thanks to a lonely upbringing and local folklore, but he was also a High Church Anglican at heart. In order to inherit a legacy, his sire added his mother’s maiden name, Machen, to his own, and his son adopted it as his own. Educated at Hereford Cathedral, from the age of 11, gaining an excellent classical education, but was turned down by the Royal College of Surgeons, which thwarted his career plans. Became a writer, instead, publishing most of his early works himself, spending several lonely, poverty-stricken years in London while doing so. Inherited money from his father and Scottish relatives in his mid-20s, which allowed him 15 years to pursue his private passion of probing his gothic imagination. Married Amy Hogg, a music teacher, who loved the theater, in 1887. Through his wife, he met occultist Arthur E. Waite. Translated the memoirs of legendary satyr Casanova (Henry Miller), and also translated The Great God Pan. Came to be viewed with the Decadents of century’s end, although did not pursue their overt lifestyle. Also a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which he joined at Waite’s urging following the death of his wife after a long illness, in 1899, although his interest in the organization was only in passing. Often used the past as backdrop to his fantasies, which were looked upon as a forerunner of modern science fiction. Became an actor with a Shakespearean touring company in his late 30s, after his wife died of cancer, as a form of grief therapy. In 1903, he married In 1903, he married Dorothie Hudleston, a member of the troupe, 2 children from union. When he was close to 50, he joined the staff of the London Evening News. Later moved from London to Buckinghamshire, although financial difficulties would continue to dog him. Thoroughly disoriented by the death of his 2nd wife, he followed her shortly thereafter. Spent most of his life in poverty, preferring the company of his own imagination to dealing with the material world. His personal essays revealed the deep thrust of his interior and its ability to conjure ancient times anew. Finally gained a reputation when his powers were on the wane, and his last years were spent in relative comfort. Inner: Romantic gothic, with a yearning for times of yore, and little real sense of his own contemporary world. Always saw the ordinary world imbued with a mystery that lay beyond it. Suspected science and materialism as antithetical to life’s true essence. Combination Christian and pagan, with a mystical overview to everything, and an abiding love for medievalia. Neoromantic lifetime of serving his imagination’s rather than his body’s needs, and ultimately suffering through the heart for it.



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