Sunday, March 6, 2011

The book of 150,000 words begins with the first 100

Anthony Trollope is taken as the supreme example in Western letters of shoehorning a productive literary career into a busy life, rising early to write for two hours each morning before putting in a full day as an official of the British postal service. Before his death at the age of 67 he produced 47 novels that are still read for pleasure today.

The Japanese novelist Banana Yoshimoto can top that. According to her Wikipedia bio, she has produced ten bestsellers on a work schedule of only half-an-hour a day.

Thomas Wolfe, on the other hand, famously wrote up to 10,000 words per day and died at the age of 38, probably of exhaustion. Nowadays hardly anybody reads him. Need we say more?

1 comment:

Tulkinghorn said...

I await with almost bated breath the resurrection of the reputation of Thomas Wolfe -- the maximalist writer who stands as refutation of everything fashionable taste finds acceptable.

I read "Look Homeward Angel" as a downy-cheeked thirty-five year old and recommend it to all such.