Foibles and Fetishes of Famous Writers
By Harry Bruce
(Emblem Editions, Paperback, 9780771017131, 360pp.)
Publication Date: September 21, 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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A witty round-up of writers' habits that includes all the big names, such as Dickens, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Hemingway
At public events readers always ask writers how they write. The process fascinates them. Now they have a very witty book that ranges around the world and throughout history to answer their questions. All the great writers are here — Dickens, dashing off his work; Henry James dictating it; Flaubert shouting each word aloud in the garden; Hemingway at work in cafés with his pencil. But pencil or pen, trusty typewriter or computer, they all have their advocates. Not to mention the writers who can only keep the words flowing by writing naked, or while walking or listening to music — and generally obeying the most bizarre superstitions.
On Shakespeare’s works: “Fantastic. And it was all done with a feather!” — Sam Goldwyn
“I write nude, seated on a thick towel, and perhaps with a second towel around me.” — Paul West
“I’ve never heard of anyone getting plumber’s block, or traffic cop’s block.” — Allan Gurganus
“I’m a drinker with a writing problem.” — Brendan Behan
Harry Bruce, a Halifax-based author of many books, has been gathering these stories all of his life.
"Page Fright is a splendid omnibus of why writers write, what keeps them writing, and what happens when they stop (willingly or not)."
— Globe and Mail
"An essential book. . . . Buy it. Read it."
— Peter C. Newman
"Page Fright is popcorn for the literary-loving mind."
— Winnipeg Free Press
"Bruce gives readers much to savour . . . you can virtually start anywhere and find something to inspire and fascinate."
— Ottawa Citizen
"An effervescent new book."
— National Post
"Entertaining and essential reading for fans of writing."
— Atlantic Books Today