When you think of the literary world, "sex appeal" isn't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. But your favorite authors weren't just using their imaginations when it came to writing about sex. A little digging will show that French novelist Colette had an affair with her stepson, Simone de Beauvoir recruited lovers for her husband and everyone else was basically hooking up with each other. As you can see on the chart above, it doesn't take much to get from Oscar Wilde to Roald Dahl.
It's worth noting that literary luminaries and Hollywood celebrities were canoodling quite a bit not that long ago. The internet would probably explode if Jonathan Franzen and Megan Fox started getting it on, but it seemed less strange when it was Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe having a short-lived romance. The relationship between literati and Hollywood has indeed changed over the years.
Also worth noting on the chart is the lack of authors (and celebrities) of color. It's an issue that remains unresolved to this day, as the literary world is still shockingly dominated by white writers. In 2011, The New York Times, for example, reviewed 655 books by caucasian authors and less than 100 works by people of color. Although following the sex lives of your favorite writers is fun and silly, it also points to serious problems in the literary community — ones that have, unfortunately, experienced little improvement.
With all that said, I'd like to put every middle school teacher who's ever eye-rolled at hook-up charts on blast: Figuring out who's swapped spit with whom is productive work. I think we’ve all learned something here today.
Are there any connections we missed in the chart above? Do you have any of your own gossip from the literary world of yesteryear to share? (Remember: Be nice.) Let us know in the comments below!
Adina Applebaum is Michigan native studying English and creative writing at Barnard College. Her crowning achievements in life are memorizing all the lyrics on The Slim Shady LP and eating an entire gallon of chocolate-covered raisins during orientation week of college.
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