- Quote: “I mingle with my peers or no one, and since I have no peers, I mingle with no one.”
- Answer: John Kennedy Tool wrote two novels. The first, “The Neon Bible,” which he wrote at 16 and was a submission for a writing contest. The second, and most famous novel, “A Confederacy of Dunces,” described the absurd, despicable adventures of Ignatious Reilly and his life in New Orleans. It was discovered by his mother after his death by suicide in 1969 and published soon after. He was posthumously awarded literature’s top honor, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, in 1981.
- Quote: “We are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
- Answer: Carson McCullers helped define Southern gothic literature with her pivotal first novel “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.” Written when she was only 23, the book received great acclaim soon after publication. She went on to write seven more books in her life. Her writing dealt with themes of gender fluidity well before the time that ideas like that were commonplace. Both her first novel and “Reflections in a Golden Eye” were turned into films. McCullers died in September 1967 after suffering from myriad health issues.
- Quote: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
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- Answer: Best known for his science fiction and fantasy stories, Howard Phillips (H.P.) Lovecraft created lasting themes that influence modern creative works to this day. His work dealt with the mythic, the dark, and the insane. Though his works appeared in magazines and journals during his lifetime, Lovecraft’s work was not collected and published in books until after his death in 1937.
- Quote: “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
- Answer: Jack Kerouac, Beat writer and author of one of the most quintessential traveler’s bibles, “On the Road,” had nearly given up on his writing career when he achieved commercial success with his first novel in 1957. His stream of consciousness style of writing, along with his tendency to ramble through his words the way he rambled through the American landscape, has been both criticized and praised since it’s creation. Kerouac was a student of Eastern philosophy and a lover of jazz.
- Quote: “Freedom begins between the ears.”
- Answer: Edward Abbey was an individual, a thinker, a philosopher, and an environmentalist who created the term “monkey-wrenching,” which was a practice of forcefully stopping the destruction of natural resources by damaging equipment. He was a self-proclaimed anarchist, and spent years in the desert working as a fire lookout for the National Parks Service. After his death in 1989, in a moment fitting with his autobiographical story, “Desert Solitaire,” Abbey was buried without a coffin in an unmarked space, dressed only in a sleeping bag.
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