I know too much about F. Scott Fitzgerald. He was weak, a drunkard, he embarrassed his friends. He was insufferable and obnoxious, always broke or near broke, despite his many successes. It conflicts with my romantic image of him: pure, beautiful, with Gatsbyesque vitality and passion. And Zelda! Don’t even get me started on her ...
Jane Austen died without having found what seemed to be the source of a good deal of happiness for her heroines and for us, her readers. Lizzie Bennett found love. Emma Woodhouse found love. Even the sensible Eleanor and the passionate Marianne, after innumerable dramas, found their soul mates. Where is Jane's Darcy?
Tolstoy, died at 82 trying to “escape” his wife Tatyana Tolstaya, running away, boarding a train, falling ill then dying, far from home. Had he forgotten how he transcribed his thoughts of love using only the first letters of certain words on a tablecloth with his finger? Only to have Sonya read his inner most thoughts? When did she stop being the Kitty to his Levin?
Tolstoy wrote, “I clearly realized that my biography, if it suppressed all the nastiness and criminality of my life - as they customarily write biographies - would be a lie, and that if one is going to write my biography, one must write the whole truth.”
Originally published in an altered form at descant.ca/blog.