March 12, 2010

Literary Drunks

Here is a fun photo gallery from Life magazine (who knew it was still around?) highlighting 'Famous Literary Drunks & Addicts.' Well, maybe fun is the wrong word - interesting. It's no seceret a vast amount of great writers and artists struggle with addiction. Among the writers featured in this gallery are some of the best (and my favorites): Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Brendan Behan, Ayn Rand, Kerouac, Edna St. Vincent Millais, Poe. The list goes on (there are 47 photos, after all!).

Here is a photo and the Life blurb to go with Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. It mentions his love for the West Village bar the White Horse Tavern, which, coincidentally, has been my own favorite bar of late. Part of the reason I love it so (aside from its proximity to my office, good pints, and cool crowd) is the wealth of paintings and photographs of Thomas and other poets that decorate the walls. Appropriate, then that he loved it also.

"The legend that Thomas once returned to the Chelsea Hotel in New York after a drinking bout at his favorite watering hole, The White Horse Tavern in Greenwich Village, and proclaimed, "I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that is a record," might be based in fact. That is, Thomas might well have made that claim. But whether Thomas actually downed anything like 18 whiskies on that November day in 1953 is another matter entirely. Some say he did; others say he didn't; others seem to wish it were true, but have no proof. Regardless, Thomas was an avid drinker, and one of the 20th century's most deservedly beloved poets. "Do not go gentle into that good night, / Old age should burn and rave at close of day; / Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

(Text via Life, Photo via)


  1. really "interesting!" Thanks for sharing honey muffin!

  2. Just finished it... WHERE WAS JAMES JOYCE?!?!?! I mean HEELLLOOOOO

  3. I know, I was wondering the same thing! Those dummies at Life

  4. Thanks, Lianne! Fascinating and so sad. I had no idea about Louisa May Alcott and O. Henry. Ayn Rand surprises me too--I get the feeling Howard Roark wouldn't approve.

    And yeah, where the heck was James Joyce?