I read across many genres of the past as well as the modern day. I'm fascinated by many of the great classic writers of novels, poems and plays who lived interesting lives in trying times, and had a huge influence on literature.
Here are eight interesting facts about some of the best classic writers:
1. Thomas Hardy’s ashes reside in the Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, but his heart was removed before his cremation and buried in Stinsford Church graveyard, where his first wife, parents and grandparents, also lay.
2. William Shakespeare is estimated to have created more than 1,700 words for the English language including the words ‘assassination,’ ‘cold-blooded,’ ‘tranquil’ and ‘gossip.’
3. In 1937, George Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War for a group fighting against General Francisco Franco and was shot in his throat and arm. He and his wife were indicted on treason charges in Spain - after they left the country.
4. Ernest Hemingway lived through skin cancer, malaria, anthrax, pneumonia, hepatitis, diabetes and two plane crashes. He also ruptured his spleen, kidney and liver and fractured his skull. He finally killed himself with his favourite shotgun.
5. Jane Austen was the earliest novelist to use the phrase 'dinner party’ (in Mansfield Park) and the first English writer to use the word ‘baseball’ (in Northanger Abbey – written in 1798-99)
6. Charles Dickens was interested in the paranormal and a member of The Ghost Club. He loved magic and once put on a conjuring show for his friends.
7. C S Lewis’s favourite books were Treasure Island and The Secret Garden, and Beatrix Potter was a main literary influence. He dedicated one of his books to J.R.R. Tolkien.
8. H G Wells is famously known for first coining the phrase ‘time machine,’ but did you know that in his lifetime he wrote a larger volume of work than both Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare’s combined?