In the TV series, The Bold Type, when one of the characters complained about writers and how her writing career was making her crazy, and her friend replied: “All writers are crazy, why did you think Sylvia Path put her head in an oven?” Writers and writing have been a recipe for crazy since forever. They either come that way or writing makes them crazy. But some excelled at being eccentric. Some great writers who showed hints of eccentricity were these 6 authors.
1. Oscar Wilde
Dorian Grey has manifested in different legends, stories, movies, and TV series over the years and anyone who owns a social media account or watches movies and reads books have heard of this unique character written by Oscar Wilde. And I’m sure you’ve seen his work at least in a Facebook quote or Instagram and Twitter posts.
Oscar Wilde was born in October 1864 and lost a battle with meningitis that forced him into an early grave 46 years later, he lived life was that was full, eventful and flamboyant. The first person to notice that Oscar Wilde was different was Father Prideaux P Fox, a priest in Wicklow County. He said, “I am not sure if she ever became a Catholic herself but it was not long before she asked me to instruct two of her children, one of them being the future erratic genius, Oscar Wilde. After a few weeks, I baptized these two children, Lady Wilde herself being present on the occasion.”
For someone so concerned with beauty, he was less concerned with what others thought of him and more about what he thought of himself and his version of beauty. He was a brilliant writer with just the right touch of eccentricity. He grew his hair long when what was accepted as male appearance wash ort hair and manly looks. It was rumored he once put a lobster on a lease. Now more than a century after his death he is still celebrated.
2. Edgar Allan Poe
What the poet and writer, Griswold, had called lunacy and madness was Poe’s grief and eccentricity. Edgar Allan Paul was born in January 1809 and died forty years later, a broken man. He is considered to be one of the first artists to indulge in short stories and is seen as the godfather of romanticism. Although he had a financially difficult childhood and some impossible early adult years, it was the Raven that brought him his first big break.
This was short-lived as his wife and cousin died of tuberculosis 2 years later. All his friends and acquittances have described him as a weird man who drank a lot. But his whole world collapsed when his wife died. One thing is very certain of him, he was a genius. He once let himself get court-martialed in an attempt to leave west point. He purposely ignored his duty as a cadet and refused to attend formations and classes. When he was tried, he said he was not guilty while leaving a trail of guilty evidences behind which led to his dismissal.
3. Jack Griffin London
Jack London was popular and unlike most early writers, he made quite a fortune from his work. He was also largely celebrated and an American sweetheart. He was born in January 1876 and although he was a very brilliant fellow, he was not inspired the way most writers were. His writing stemmed from a need to escape poverty and make a name for himself. He would stay in bed for days and obsesses over a particular thing until he finally understood it. He once said he wanted to sell his brain.
4. Graham Greene
He was an English writer born in October 1904 and was quite a legend in the 20th century. He wrote fiction and thriller novels, had two kids and suffered from suicidal fantasies at a very young age. It is recorded that he was also obsessed with numbers which he admitted made everyday life difficult for him. Greene once wrote to his wife that he had a character that was profoundly antagonistic to domestic life. What he called a disease, he also admitted was also the core of his genius.
5. Ernest Miller Hemmingway
He was an American writer who lived in the early to late nineties. Hemmingway was married four times and scholars have sometimes said he showed hints of narcissism. He invented his version of the iceberg theory and he wrote about divorcing one’s emotions. He would later defend that he was talking about the science of emotions. His character in his book, Island in the Stream was a cat he was in love with while in Cuba. He owned about 60 cats in his Cuban estate.
6. Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf was weird long before she lost her family and took to paper and ink for survival and companionship. She came out to be a very brilliant and influential writer over time. When she was younger she used to stand on a desk to write and was till the day she died obsessed with the color purple. She later died by putting rocks in her pocket and going for a swim.
It is believed that is because writers hold whole worlds, dimensions, and realities within them. It is hard to have an imagination so great that it begins to manifest into words and stories. Some writers sometimes weave a sequence of events so powerful that they begin to confuse imagination with reality. But perhaps their unique minds are what helps their writing to stand the test of time.