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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Thornton P. Knowles On Why So Many Novelists Are Drunks

William Faulkner, Sinclair Lewis, and F. Scott Fitzgerald are probably three of the most notorious fall-down drunks in the literary history of Twentieth Century America. They are followed by Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and John Cheever. Many literary critics believe that all this drinking among male novelists stems from the fact that, in American culture, creative writing is not considered masculine. In other words, real men don't write. I'm not sure I buy that. I think maybe these literary booze-hounds where simply alcoholics who happened to take pen to paper. I'm a writer, and I accept the fact that a male who spends a good deal of his life sitting at a writing table is not a particularly manly way to live. In my case, while writing and teaching writing has significantly contributed to a life of self-loathing, it has not driven me to the bottle. At least not yet.

Thornton P. Knowles

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