Even though Harper Lee hasn’t given an interview in 50 years, her letters are an insight into the notoriously reclusive writer.”I simply don’t give interviews, because it takes great skill to ask meaningful questions and very few people in the media have it,” she wrote in a 2005 letter. Two of Lee’s letters will be auctioned today and are expected to go for at least $2,500 a piece. Pair with: Our essay on reclusive authors.
“Tom Stoppard isn’t shy about tackling literary giants. The British playwright has rewritten Hamlet for the stage and recently turned Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina into a Hollywood feature. But he struggled with a television adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s sprawling modernist masterpiece Parade’s End.”
“Eleven years later, the Atlantic Monthly editor, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, made a similar request to an obscure, retiring poet named Emily Dickinson who had written a letter asking if her verses ‘breathed.’ Her response was much like Melville’s, if typically elliptical: ‘Could you believe me—without? I had no portrait, now, but am small, like the Wren, and my Hair is bold, like the Chestnut Bur—and my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the Guest leaves—Would this do just as well?'” The age-old problem: how writers deal with publicity.
A detailed analysis of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s tax records, obtained from his estate, at The American Scholar. William J. Quirk scrutinizes Scott’s financial ledgers from 1919 to 1940, including short story royalties, expenses relating to wife Zelda, and his years spent in Hollywood. Indeed, you are what you spend.