Did You Know . . . ?

Kurt Vonnegut was a masters student in anthropology on the G.I. bill at the University of Chicago after World War II.  He completed his course work and proposed a subject for his thesis, but it was turned down.  He proposed another, and it was turned down as well.  In 1971 he finally received his master’s degree – for his book Cat’s Cradle.  Read this to see how it happened.

You have to wonder if Vonnegut would have become a writer if he had obtained his master’s degree as  scheduled.

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The hit Broadway musical Hamilton was inspired by Ron Chernow’s nonfiction book Alexander Hamilton.

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Aldous Huxley, the British writer best known for the 1932 novel Brave New World, collaborated with others on a number of movie scripts including Pride and Prejudice (1940), Madame Curie (1943), and Jane Eyre (1944).  Huxley died from cancer in Los Angeles, California on November 22, 1963 – the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

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Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams III was born in Columbus, Mississippi, died in New York City, and is buried in St. Louis, Missouri.  He left his literary rights to The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee in honor of his grandfather, Walter Dakin, who graduated from there.

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Fay Weldon, an established author, was paid £18,000 in return for her promise to mention the jeweler Bulgari at least 12 times in one of her novels  The Bulgari Connection, published in 2001, mentions the jeweler 34 times.    Many writers protested what The Guardian labeled a “Faustian pact with commerce” in return for monetary enrichment. Weldon was unapologetic.

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Writer Truman Capote and Joanne Carson, who was once married to The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, were close friends.  In fact, Capote died at her mansion in Bel-Air in 1984 at the age of 59.  She kept Capote’s ashes in a carved wooden Japanese box because it made her feel close to him.  She died last year and Capote’s ashes were recently sold at auction in Los Angeles to an anonymous buyer for $42,750. The clothes he was wearing when he died sold for $6,400, and a collection of his prescription pill bottles sold for a total of $9,280. I promise, I didn’t make this up.

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Lloyd C. Douglas was a minister until age 52.  At that point he left the ministry to write religion-themed novels full time.  He was quite successful, and received many letters from fans each week.  One letter, from a woman named Hazel McCann, asked Douglas what he thought had happened to Jesus’ robe after His death on the cross.  Douglas found the idea intriguing, and eventually wrote his bestseller The Robe based on his answer to McCann’s question.  If you look at the dedication page in the book, you will find that The Robe is dedicated to Hazel McCann.

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According to the book  Now I Know red-headed sperm donors are not very popular because women don’t want their children to have fathers with red hair.  In the book Orphan Train, a novel based on facts, the red-headed New York City orphans who (along with other children) were taken to the west in the early part of the twentieth century in hopes that someone would adopt them, were seldom adopted, so they were returned to their orphanages.

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When author Thomas Hardy died in 1928 it was assumed by his second wife, Florence, that he would be buried in Stinsford parish churchyard in Dorchester, Dorset, England beneath the tombstone of his first wife, Emma.  In fact, he had left room for his name to be added to the tombstone.  However, many including J. M. Barre wanted him to be buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.  Florence decided that his heart would be buried in Stinsford parish churchyard while his ashes would be buried in Poets’ Corner.  Consequently, Hardy literally had two funerals.

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We find typographic errors in books all the time, but what are the consequences if they occur in the publication of a Bible?  What if, for instance, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” should be published as, “Thou shalt commit adultery”?  Could this ever happen?  Yes, it has happened a number of times with varying consequences for the printer.

The above mistake was made in a Bible printed by the printing firm of Barker and Lewis in England in 1631.  The fact that they were the king’s printers did not save them from a £300 fine which put them out of business.  This Bible became known as “The Wicked Bible.”

In 1653 a Bible printed in England contained this statement from 1 Corinthians: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the Kingdom of God?”  That Bible became known as “The Unrighteous Bible.”

You can read about other Bible bloopers here.

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