Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Let's have a toast ...

... to the Top 10 Drunk American Writers. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I'm not sure about Poe. He's always sounded to me like a guy who just couldn't hold his liquor.

Update: A distinguished collegue wonders where all the women drunks are. I just read about Edna St.Vincent Millay, who I gather could put it away with the best of them. Any others?


  1. Dorothy Parker.

  2. John Brumfield2:38 PM

    Carson McCullers and Jean Stafford

  3. Susan B.5:57 PM

    Carson McCullers immediately came to my mind, too. Also Anne Rice: I actually have a theory that all those thirsty vampires were a metaphor for her alcoholism.

  4. I'd like to add Molly Ivins' name to your list of women ..... a gifted writer, a courageous journalist, and (by some accounts) a two-fisted drinker ..... Ms. Ivins died nearly a year ago, and she is sorely missed.

  5. Susan B.8:49 PM

    I agree with you; I loved Molly Ivins, whose columns I first discovered in Ms. magazine when I was just out of my teens. She wrote a hilarious personal essay in there every month and they were rarely about politics, though that's what she became known for.

    Also, among journalists, Caroline Knapp. She wrote "Drinking, A Love Story," as well as a beautiful collection of essays that came out after her death. She kicked the booze, then died of lung cancer! Life ain't fair.

    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings ("The Yearling") was another heavy drinker. And I believe the writer she was doing a biography of at the time of her death -- Ellen Glasgow -- was also a drinker. Anyone ever read "Barren Ground"? A good, but very bleak Southern novel. Glasgow one of the lights of Richmond, if I'm remembering correctly.

  6. Journalists will not do. Got to be literature.

  7. Anonymous2:33 PM

    Let's not forget Jean Rhys.

  8. Truman Capote
    To anonymous - just read Wide Sargasso Sea ....didn't know about Jean Rhys.
    Malcom Lowry
    Eugene O'neill
    obviously Hemingway
    and of course let's not forget the elephant in the room
    Bill O'reilly -