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Friday, February 26, 2010

Literary Dinner Party

I was having a discussion with some co-workers about my favorite authors when someone asked me a rather strange and intriguing question: if I could invite five authors to a dinner party, who would I invite? And then someone else added that they couldn’t be alive…I had to bring them back from the dead in order to attend.

Well, I only had to think for a moment before answering:

1) Wilkie Collins: because I am an uber-fan and I would love to get his take on crafting a killer mystery - terrible pun, I know. (As well, I’d hand him Drood by Dan Simmons and see what he thought of the characterization – since it is told from Collins’ point of view and takes some liberties with regards to fact vs. fiction.)

2) Edgar Allan Poe: because he was so darn creepy…I’d love to get a taste of his social etiquette.

3) Nathaniel Hawthorne: because I enjoy reading all of his novels and short stories; I would love to hear him speak on the duplicity of human nature and wonder what his take on our modern world would be.

4) Mary Shelley: because I’d like to know what impact her writing had on her role as a woman in her society.

And finally,

5) Oscar Wilde: mainly because he was funny and bizarre and I believe he would add some interesting chatter to the table.

So that’s my list of perfect dead authors to sit and chat with…how about you? Do you have a group of dead authors you’d like to have a dinner party with?



  1. Ooohhhh, that's tricky, I think I'd go for :
    1) David Gemmell - A friend I'd love to share another pint with.

    2) Oscar Wilde - Purely the same reason as you, I'd want someone witty, charming and quirky.

    3) Jules Verne - I'd love to see his take on the modern world.

    4) Homer - For a guy still read and enjoyed today, I'd like to see his take on the Heroes of current legend and see what he thinks about it.

    5) Agatha Christie - She'd put a mystery into the whole evening and inspire some cracking conversation.

  2. Not easy! I'm not as much of a fan of classics as I sometimes think I ought to be, so "dead" causes an issue.

    Of course, that means I'd invite Mark Twain. (How does that quote go? Something like "Liturature is something everyone wants to have read, but no one wants to read.)

    Roger Relazny, because the Amber series was such a part of my coming of age.

    Isaac Asimov, just to see how such a prolific author interacts at dinner.

    Robert Heinlein, to see what he was like, as opposed to what so many who hadn't met him said he was like.

    Hmmm....Hemminway, whom I've read very little of, but if the others are more boring than I would have imagined, I know he'll liven things up.

  3. ooohhhh...I loved the Amber series too! I think I should read it again!

    I should have added Marion Zimmer Bradley.

  4. Huh. I've never really thought about it. MZB would be a good one though. I like her work and I think the conversations could be interesting.

  5. I'll second Jules Verne. I'm sure he'd get a kick out of today's fascination with Steampunk.

    Carl Sagan because he would make my head grown.

    Another second for Robert Heinlein.

    I'll throw in Tolkien and CS Lewis, too.

  6. Oh, that's a tough one.

    Mordechai Richler because he was always very opinionated and I'd love to hear his thoughts on the current Canadian lit scene.

    Charles Dickens because he could tell a fine tale and amuse us.

    Jane Austen, because she could talk about social mores - and because she may be a distant relation of mine.

    Al Purdy, great poet, great raconteur.

    Lucy Maude Montgomery, because I'd like to know if she committed suicide, or not and because I admit liking the first three "Anne" books.

    Darn, I'd invite more than 5.

  7. What a fun topic!

    Poe. Definitely Edgar Allan Poe. And Bradbury. Hitchcock would be a must as is Rod Serling. And Twain. Maybe Dickens, and Agatha Christie, too!

    What a dinner party it'd be!

  8. Upon thinking about it, most of my favourite authors are still alive. But this made me think, thanks!
    1) JRR Tolkien - To chat about his ridiculously extensive other world history & mythology and how fairy stories are really for adults
    2) Lord Byron - Because he was gloriously excessive, and to see if he could charm me. Plus, he was apparently the original model for Dracula
    3) Violet Trefusis - who featured fictionally in a Virgina Woolf novel for a passionate lesbian affair and mostly to see the person behind this quote:
    "Be wicked, be brave, be drunk, be reckless, be dissolute, be despotic, be an anarchist, be a suffragette, be anything you like -- but for pity's sake be it to the top of your bent...
    Live fully, live passionately, live disastrously. Let's live, you and I, as none have ever lived before."
    4) Jane Austen - Because I adore her books and would like to talk about her own life experiences
    5) Hunter S Thompson - to see the man behind the madness. Or the man and the madness

  9. I would say Charles Dickens and JRR Tolkien. Great Post. x