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Recent Discoveries in Literary Scholarship

February 14, 2011

  • The Gutenberg Bible (circa 1454) was a commercial failure until its release as a mass-market paperback
  • De revolutionibus orbium coelestium [On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres] by Nicolaus Copernicus (1543) marks the first appearance in print of the word “bromance”
  • The original title of Jane Eyre (1847) was Lexxi Montana
  • The popular magician David Copperfield took his name from the 1851 book Charles Dickens F*cking Stole My F*cking Idea for David Copperfield by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • According to an 1898 account in the New York World, the first screenplay (now lost) was written on an actual piece of fine wire mesh
  • James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) was banned in Georgia until 1997 on the mistaken belief that it was a biography unfairly sympathetic toward General Grant
  • Pearl Buck was said to harbor a profound, ironic hatred of oysters and dollar bills
  • James M. Cain’s 1934 noir classic The Postman Always Rings Twice was never written or published
  • Thomas Wolfe’s 1940 novel You Can’t Go Home Again was completely discredited after scientists determined that going home again was possible in more than 97% of experimental trials
  • Scholars have concluded from an in-depth reexamination of her oeuvre that Ayn Rand was a total buzzkill
  • In the earliest drafts of Lolita (1955), Vladimir Nabokov based the title character’s physical attributes on those of Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Stephen King has no actual monarchial authority
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