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Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors
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Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors

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3.55  ·  Rating details ·  504 ratings  ·  93 reviews
In Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love, Andrew Shaffer explored the romantic failures of some of the great minds in history. Now, in Literary Rogues, he turns his unflinching eye and wit to explore our love-hate relationship with literature's most contrarian, drunken, vulgar, and just plain rude bad boys (and girls) in this very funny and shockingly true compendium of li ...more
Paperback, 297 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Harper Perennial
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3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  504 ratings  ·  93 reviews


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Gloria
May 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
In a world obsessed with celebrities (and the trainwrecks which often are their lives), it's no wonder a book like this is put out.

Granted, curiosity plays a part in checking out such a collection, but barely half way through, I felt no remorse for simply stuffing it back in my library bag for return.

How do I explain?

Marquis de Sade, Poe, Fitzgerald, Parker, Hemingway, Kerouac, Thompson ...
I seriously don't have a burning desire to know the sordid details of your lives. Some of you I read and e
...more
Jenn Ravey
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it
From thepickygirl.com:

*This book was offered to me via the publisher, Harper Perennial, in exchange for an honest review.

In January, a friend and I went to a Half Price Books. We separated, looking at the shelves obsessively. As I moved from one aisle to another, I heard this little gem:

“You know Hemingway hated women, right? He was, like, worse than Eminem.”

I looked at the only other person in the aisle, who happened to be my friend, and raised my eyebrows. Poor Hemingway. Worse than Eminem. F
...more
Alvin
Jul 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
This starts out OK, detailing the debauchery of 18th & 19th century authors like Shelley, Balzac, and Poe, who led quite dramatic lives. I lost interest when it got to the early 20th century authors (spoiler alert: they were unhappy and drank a lot!) and the mid-20th century was almost as bad (drugs!). It really hit rock bottom when trying to pass off the consequence-free antics of the barely-even-talented late-20th century bad boy poseurs like Jay McInerny and Brett Easton Ellis as interest ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Literary Rogues consists of portraits of the 'bad boys' of literature, though some women, too, merit a place within these pages. These are the authors with wild lifestyles, drug habits, and an endless string of romantic relationships. Though not a history tome by any means, this relatively brief nonfiction book is a delightful light read for those curious about author biographies but not perhaps committed to a full length work on a particular author.

As a reader, I cannot help but be fascinate b
...more
Casia Courtier
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways, arcs
I recieved this First Reads Goodreads Giveaway book for an honest review.

Nonfiction tends to be the bane of my existence. It never fails, I am always lagging behind in a nonfiction book and become disinterested. That was until this book. Though it did take longer than a fiction book for me, LITERARY ROGUES was an interesting enough read to keep me going.

I love looking into the lives of writers and seeing a part of them that not many people usually think about. I used to sit for every Biography c
...more
Celia
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! It is a fantastic compilation of the bad boys and bad girls of literature. It was packed full of stories and tidbits of authors such as Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allen Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald and many more. Each chapter is dedicated to a different era of literature and the authors that belonged to each. First of all, this was a wonderful way to describe each of the eras, but it was also a great way to realize how closely knit the authors were with each other. This le ...more
Jason Robinson
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
An entertaining read about literature's bad boys (and girls). Lifestyles written about may be hazardous to your health!
Brian Bixler
Feb 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Andrew Shaffer's "Literary Rogues" is an easy read with highly liftable quotes and engaging anecdotes about some of the greatest literary minds of the last two centuries. However, it wasn't exactly the book I thought it would be, based on the title. Yes, many of these authors went their own way when it came to conventions of their times. But, really, Shaffer has compiled stories about writers who have one thing in common: addiction.

From Thomas De Quincey's laudanum to Hunter S. Thompson's LSD,
...more
Gri Limanlar
Büyük eserler vermiş kişilerin hayatları hep ilgimi çekmiştir. O eserleri ortaya çıkartırken, hangi aşamalardan geçtiklerini, hangi duyguları yaşadıklarını araştırırım. İlham veren çok örneğe rastlasam da, bu araştırmalar, her zaman olumlu sonuç vermez. Mesela Cemal Süreya'nın karısına şiddet uyguladığını öğrendiğimde epey şaşırmıştım. Bu yüzden, edebiyatçıların ve sanatçıların davranışlarını, eserlerinden ayrı tutmak mı lazımdır, buna henüz karar veremedim. "Edebiyatın Aykırı Çocukları"na gelir ...more
Kris
Jun 15, 2016 rated it liked it
If you are a lit buff, there is nothing in these pages that will come as any surprise to you. The book is a fun, quick ride. Brief bios of all kinds of men (and a sprinkling of women) who led colorful and self-destructive lives that probably reduced their output by decades. Interspersed, this collection of addicts and train wrecks managed to write some of the greatest books in the world before departing this mortal coil.

Opium and laudanum play a prominent role in many of these writers lives. Sec
...more
rpw
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing

As I read this book I was a little taken aback when I would catch myself smiling and chuckling at passages I read. I mean, this is tragic stuff. These are literary greats who fought their demons to produce works of literature that defined their generation. Why did I find it humorous? Then it dawned on me. There wasn't anything wrong with me. It was Andrew Shaffer. His ability to present these larger than life men and women in all their flawed glory, shining a light not only on their genius but o
...more
Cheryl
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
I am not a history buff so I am not that familiar with most of the authors featured in this book. However it seemed like things that I could find out about the authors from the internet. So what I am saying is nothing new learned other then getting myself familiar with the authors.

However I do have to say that the bad boys and girls of literature at least were productive and made the most of their badness then the celebrities of Hollywood. The authors helped to produce history of great reading.
...more
Jacob
Apr 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book glosses over all of the many writers it profiles. Each bio feels like a Wikipedia page condensed by Reader's Digest. So-and-so was born, got raging drunk, wrote a classic, died (probably early). There is no insight into who these people were, and rarely any discussion about their actual literary output. The author's tone is flippant and irreverant, which does a disservice to some of the literary greats. The book's problems stem from the plethora of writers he actually discusses. Instea ...more
Virginia
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hugely informative and Entertaining it its entirety!
Never have I realized the true bad-assery of authors (and especially poets!) until reading this book. Andrew Schaffer takes us on a tour of all the major literary periods while focusing on a select few big names within each one i.e. Percy and Mary Shelley for the Romantic period. But this is far from the history they taught you in school, expect to find drunkenness, debauchery and depression in spades...and all the ways such dysfunctional liv
...more
Rita Varian
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Basically, it's good bathroom reading. I kind of expected a little more in-depth analysis - I wouldn't want the author to prove some big thesis, just a few relevant themes. Like the myth of the genius, how we came to expect some insanity/bad behavior from a genius, who is somehow set apart from the rest of the species. Also the idea that drugs can enhance creativity. There was some discussion of these, but nothing too probing.
Some bits were really witty. The parts that appeared the worst to me w
...more
Sally Wilsey
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I won this in a Goodreads Giveaway and was pleased at the prompt delivery.
I must say as a person who reads practically everything I can get my hands on. This book was so interesting to me as I have read most of the authors, both for pleasure and for school requirements eons ago. Some of them I knew about their addictions, others came as a complete surprize. Never would have thought it of them or even guessed. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is a book lover of all genres or not. My ha
...more
Hillary Seidl
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Andrew Shaffer cuts to the good stuff in his latest work, LITERARY ROGUES. This read is a fun, informative and intelligent look at vices, addiction, and copious amounts of drug addled poets and writers. In short, this is the money shot of entertaining non-fiction.

Hillary Seidl

ARC in exchange for honest review.
Becky
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a great read! I learned lots of things I never knew about many of the authors listed. I thoroughly enjoyed the short and simple essays. There was a lot of information packed into a tiny little book. It's one of those books you can pick up and lay down and not miss a thing. Easy to peruse and fun facts, to boot! ;-)
Shayera Tangri
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
A witty and interesting look at the bad boys (and occasional bad girls) of literature through the ages. Funny and engaging.
Mignon
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adults with an interest in literature
Shocking, entertaining, engrossing, gross, and sometimes funny. More than once I called out to my husband with "You gotta hear this," and read a passages to him.
Vanita Carrillo-rush
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loved! So entertaining...writers can be such degenerate rock stars.
Nathan Albright
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge-2019
Reading this book for me was a rather Nathanish experience, full of ambivalence and amusing irony and complexity.  The author is himself a successful writer of multiple volumes of material that has been generally humorous and sometimes decadent, and here he turns his attention on the struggles and failures of writers to live decent and decorous lives.  Yet if this book is written with a somewhat moralistic purpose of showing how writers have often lived dysfunctional lives and how writing has ty ...more
Rrlgrrl
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it
A fun read with all the usual suspects from your classical British and American literature high school class. I liked the inclusion of more modern authors from the 50s to the 80s. Some of the authors I did not recognize, but of the ones cited from the 80s, I remember when they caused a splash in the literary world with their books (Bret Easton Ellis, Elizabeth Wurtzel, for example). The pace and intensity of the bad behavior seemed to increase with each era described in the book, but there defin ...more
Frank Kohl
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I don't know whether to love or hate this book, which reveals that some of the world's greatest works of literature were written when their famous authors were either drunk or high on some kind of drugs or were sex fiends, or all three.
Margaret
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is both entertaining, and rather sad in some ways. While the people profiled did produce great and memorable literature and the book is well-written, I couldn't help but feel for the pain many of them experienced.
Lnsimon
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great anecdotes of the world's worst-behaved literary geniuses in history.
Jon
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hilariously written and filled with jaw-dropping facts about iconic authors and some that weren't as famous. I find myself wanting to read the works of the authors mentioned in Shaffer's book.
Metin KAPLAN
Kitabı çok incelemeden ismine bakarak sepete atmıştım.
Başlıktaki "aykırılık" edebi manada değil, yazarların/şairlerim madde bağımlılığı ve cinsel yönelimlerine ilişkin aykırılıklarla ilgili.
Shannon Allen
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it
not exactly what I hoped.
Carmen
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Turns out, a lot of well-known great writers had substance abuse problems. It didn't end well for many
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Andrew Shaffer is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books. He lives with his wife, novelist Tiffany Reisz, in Lexington, Kentucky, where he teaches at the non-profit Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning.