Literary speculation

There's a new biography out that claims–without any actual evidence, as far as I can tell–that the poet John Keats was an opium addict, and wrote many of his most famous poems under the influence of laudanum. There's no way to prove the situation either way, of course, but I can't help but think of Cold Comfort Farm's Mr. Mybug, who was working on a biography of Branwell Brontë that claimed that he, rather than his sister Emily, had written Wuthering Heights. Mr. Mybug bases this theory on three letters Branwell had written to his Aunt Prunty (none of which mention any writing, by the way):

Mr. Mybug paused and refreshed himself with a spoonful of orange juice. Flora sat pondering on what she had just heard. Judging by her personal experience among her friends, it was not the habit of men of genius to refresh themselves from their labours by writing to old aunts; this task, indeed, usually fell to the sisters and wives of men of genius, and it struck Flora as far more likely that Charlotte, Anne, or Emily would have had to cope with any old aunts who were clamouring to be written to. However, perhaps Charlotte, Anne, or Emily had all decided one morning that it really was Branwell's turn to write to Aunt Prunty, and had sat on his head in turn while he wrote the three letters, which were afterwards posted at prudently space intervals.
I'm always amazed at how often Cold Comfort Farm proves useful in my daily life. You might not think of an eighty-year-old satirical novel as a practical guide to life, but seriously, it's like my Bible.
Posted by: Julianka


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