Because it is Friday and the short weeks always somehow feel longest, today seems like a nice day for a slideshow of literary drunks and junkies. Life magazine put this together, complete with not-so-fun facts about the authors’ addictions. It is both troubling and somehow understandable that we almost instinctually feel genius and addiction go hand in hand–though undeniably tragic, what clearer manifestation of mental struggle than to spend your life at the bottom of a bottle? If nothing else, the slideshow taught me some things: in spite of my love for Little Women, I know little about Louisa May Alcott and had no idea she was an opium addict. Also, F. Scott Fitzgerald, who I swear I must’ve seen pictures of before but somehow hadn’t noticed–pretty hot!
I’m not equipped to judge the seeming correlation between genius and addiction (and not entirely sure whether there’s actually a relationship–what percentage of brilliant artists of all stripes are perfectly sane and sober? What percentage of addicts have no discernible artistic ability?). But if we assume for a moment there is one, I wonder how many of these authors would have taken the trade of sobriety for a lack of a legacy.
(via Book Bench)