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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gertrude Stein Could Take Them All

posted by on August 20 at 16:45 PM

Guy’s Lit Wire has a list of the 5 Most Hardcore Writers of All Time.

#2 is Thoreau:

But wait, you say. Thoreau was a pacifist. He wouldnt hurt a potato beetle. (Literally. When gardening, he picked the pests off his plants by hand and carried them out to the woods.) Hes not hardcore!

But there are many roads to hardcore-dom, my friends. Thoreau took a rather meandering path, but he got there.

Think about it: You go to prison, its your first night, and youre curious about what your new cell-mates did to wind up there. The first guy says hes in for armed robbery, another says double homicide. Then, one guy looks up at you with a serene smile and says, Oh, Im here voluntarily.

Now seriously, which one of them are you never turning your back on?

HARD MOTHERFUCKIN’ CORE! (Not really.) I’m a little shocked that they didn’t include Hunter Thompson (He did, like, tons of drugs!) or William S. Burroughs (Bro, he totally shot his own wife in the fuckin’ head!), or Rimbaud (Arms dealer!), or Emma Goldman (Totally fucked shit up!), or etc. But the internet does love its lists.

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Beverly Cleary drank bat's blood with gunpowder every morning!

Posted by Skip | August 20, 2008 5:07 PM

What, no Chuck Palahniuk????

Posted by David | August 20, 2008 5:12 PM

Wasn't James Joyce the type of cantankerous little Irishman known for letting his mouth get him knocked off his barstool on a regular basis? I'm not sure that's tough though, that might just be alcoholism.

Typically though, writers are great champion's of bravado, they ultimately come from higher education and a somewhat privileged background. Even the toughest literary giant isn't much compared to the working everyman they usually romanticize about.

Posted by Dougsf | August 20, 2008 5:13 PM

The dreadfully obvious omission here is none other than Henry Rollins. Not only is he a dreadfully prolific writer, he surely and irrevocably mangles, with his infamously muscled manos, any notion that may exist--or have ever existed--that hardcore = excellent.

Indeed, Henry Rollins, prolifically tattooed destroyer of forests, has, let's now admit, written little of lasting worth. But, dude, was he ever hardcore back in the day.

Posted by Jeff Stevens | August 20, 2008 5:16 PM

Thoreau was NOT hardcore. Keep in mind, most of those weeks spent at Walden Pond were really spent at Ralph Waldo Emerson's house.

Posted by Patrick | August 20, 2008 5:28 PM

i would choose the double homicide guy. am i right?

Posted by max solomon | August 20, 2008 5:35 PM

Jean Genet was born to a prostitute and an unknown father. At 15 he was sent to a Penal Colony for 3 years, then joined the Foreign Legion from which he was discharged as a homosexual, and spent years as a vagabond, petty thief and prostitute across Europe. After ten convictions he received a death sentence in 1949, which was only repealed because Jean-Paul Sartre and Pablo Picasso petitioned the French government. All of his books were written while in prison.

Nelson Algren grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and wrote his first stories while working at a gas station. He got caught stealing a typewriter to write his first novel and got sent to jail for 6 months. A drug addict and small time crook, he later ran away with Simone DeBeauvoir to Latin America.

At 6 years old James Ellroy ("Demon Dog of American crime fiction") compulsively watched his prostitute mom having sex. He came home from school one day to find her murdered on the kitchen floor. He spent his adolescence researching her murder and his entire adult life writing about it.

Thoreau as an example of a hardcore writer? Piss off. This list is total bullshit.

Posted by Gurldoggie | August 20, 2008 6:20 PM

Without a doubt: Samuel Beckett. One look at that hair says it all.

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | August 20, 2008 11:02 PM

what about michel de montaigne?

and please thoreau was SO hardcore

unless you think that emo kids are hardcore

then yeah i can't argue with you

Posted by Shilo Urban | August 21, 2008 1:21 AM

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