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#41017 - Tue Jan 15 2002 06:04 PM Which author of history would you...
thejazzkickazz Offline
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Registered: Fri Apr 14 2000
Posts: 3232
Loc: Utah USA
most love to have dinner with? Remember, you'd have to sit with him or her through several courses and dessert...so you'll want someone with which you could discuss a multitude of topics.

My choices would be Oscar Wilde or Jane Austen. I imagine that Wilde's wit would translate into cheerful and indulgent conversation. Austen would surely regale the listener with her opinions on manners and social interaction! Both would most likely be charming people with plenty to say about the world revolving around them. I'd love to hear either of them opine on the modern intellectual/political world!

Please share with us your dinner companion for the evening...


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#41018 - Tue Jan 15 2002 09:57 PM Re: Which author of history would you...
LindaC007 Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 02 2001
Posts: 2224
Loc: North Carolina USA
I'd love to sit down at dinner with H.G. Wells and Harry Houdini. I can't imagine a lag in conversation with them at the table--between discussing The Time Machine with Wells, and getting Houdini to perform some famous escapes, I think it would be a Great evening. I'd get their autographs, too. If I could only pick one-I'll take Wells. I love his books.
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#41019 - Tue Jan 15 2002 10:12 PM Re: Which author of history would you...
malizma Offline
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Registered: Sat Jan 20 2001
Posts: 1104
Loc: Nashville Tennessee USA    
No surprises here I'm sure: Mark Twain and Thomas Wolfe for me. I've heard that Wolfe was not the most sociable but I would attempt to be gracious and try to engage him in conversation. I think dinner with Mr. Twain would be incredibly entertaining and enlightening. I can imagine both would have quite the opinion on everything.

[ 01-15-2002: Message edited by: malizma ]

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#41020 - Wed Jan 16 2002 07:29 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
LindaC007 Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 02 2001
Posts: 2224
Loc: North Carolina USA
Yes, Wolfe could be Difficult, I hear. He was born in Asheville, NC, I believe. I'm glad you enjoy him, because a lot of critics are saying his works are not for more modern tastes. I like him, too. But the not easy to get along with part, well, he really laid the old home state and city in the shade more than once!! Tell him to mind his manners! I bet you know that his angel statue from Lookward Angel is in Oakdale Cemetery in Hendersonville, NC. Some poor tourists knocked it over and had to pay a few thousand to repair it one time.
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#41021 - Wed Jan 16 2002 11:54 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
Dobrov Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 02 2001
Posts: 265
Loc: Hradec Kralove Czech Republic
Ok, it would have to be a candlelit dinner with William Hazlitt because he would be nasty and brilliant and I would deeply, seriously wish him to make a pass at me. Gosh. Call me what you will...

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#41022 - Wed Jan 16 2002 03:23 PM Re: Which author of history would you...
vikan Offline
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Registered: Thu Jan 18 2001
Posts: 403
Loc: Winter Park Florida USA  
I would choose one of the “Vicious Circle”, that famous group of writers, playwrights and critics that lunched together at a round table in the Algonquin Hotel in New York City during the 1920’s. I have heard about them all my life and I cannot imagine a more stimulating group with who share a meal. What fun it would be to listen to such bright and articulate people debate the problems of the day. Edna Ferber, George Kaufman, Robert Sherwood, actor Robert Benchley and especially Dorothy Parker with her rapier wit would join together to make a most memorable dinner.
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#41023 - Wed Jan 16 2002 04:18 PM Re: Which author of history would you...
flem-ish Offline
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Registered: Thu Oct 11 2001
Posts: 319
Loc: Belgium
Barbecue with good old Ernest Hemingway?? Guess there might be too much booze for coherent talk.
Well I would not mind being invited for a private audience by Mr J.D.Salinger. I would promise him NOT to talk about his books.
Would not mind being introduced to Isaac Bashevis Singer
either.
Well, all in all, I might not really want a dinner. Just a walk would be nice enough.
The author I would avoid by all means would be Henry James.Not because he might not be o.k., but if he talks as he writes I would definitely get a headache.
Nicest walk and talk for me would be visiting Florence or Rome in Mark Twain's company.

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#41024 - Wed Jan 16 2002 04:25 PM Re: Which author of history would you...
tjoebigham Offline
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Registered: Sat Dec 25 1999
Posts: 2755
Loc: Fairhaven Massachusetts USA   
Besides Twain, Wilde, Alex Woollcott et al, I'd like to have G.K. Chesterton, creator of Father Brown and known for his paradoxical wit, Shaw, the playwright famed for his stinging views on mankind, Johnathan Swift, who gave us "Gulliver's Travels", Sydney Smith, English clergyman who was also a wit and essayist, Ben Hecht, ex-newspaperman whose screenplays, plays and writings enlivened the 30's and 40's, diarist Samuel Pepys, and perhaps Dorothy Parker and Thoreau. tjoeb};>
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#41025 - Thu Jan 17 2002 05:34 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
Bruyere Offline
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Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18382
Loc: California USA
Erica Jong would be good fun. Now there's someone you can discuss everything under the sun with!
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#41026 - Sat Jan 19 2002 09:12 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
TabbyTom Offline
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Registered: Wed Oct 17 2001
Posts: 8174
Loc: Hastings Sussex England UK    
For my ideal dinner I'd like to have Dr Johnson and Voltaire. I'd just love to hear a verbal duel between them - Johnson armed with a bludgeon and Voltaire with a rapier. Of course Johnson wouldn't speak French as a matter of principle ("There is no point in giving the French an advantage over you with every word that you speak"), so they'd probably argue in Latin. Then there's John Aubrey - he'd be a fascinating source of gossip about the people and customs of his times. To balance the sexes I'd have Aphra Behn (said to be the first woman in England to make a living by writing), and Mary Shelley. I see Jane Austen's been bagged already, so perhaps Fanny Burney would be an equally good choice: I suspect that Jane owes a certain amount to her reading of Fanny, and I'd also like to know more about her father (Charles Burney the musicologist).
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#41027 - Sat Jan 19 2002 10:55 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
Anonymous
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I do believe a dinner observation finding Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, and Karl Popper would be excruciatingly delightful to witness. Or some drunken discourse finding the likes of Socrates, Anaxogoras, Heraclitus, and other dissenting Greek people of the era mixed in with some Chinese and Indian logicians like Dharmakirti and Jetsun Milarepa might prove to be an interesting evening...

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#41028 - Wed Jan 23 2002 07:51 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
Lupetta Offline
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Registered: Tue Jan 22 2002
Posts: 404
Loc: London
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Ohhhh Dobrov, what a fantastic reply ;-). My choice would be a good friend of Hazlitt's, the immortal Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I know what a bewitching conversationalist he was from biographies and I'd give any thing to stare into those famous, huge, grey eyes for a while. He was one for reciting his own verse aloud so perhaps I'd get a reading of "Frost at Midnight". Bliss ;-).
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#41029 - Wed Jan 23 2002 08:00 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
Bruyere Offline
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Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18382
Loc: California USA
As long as we're confessing our status as historian groupies, I'd love to meet Simon Schama after working with his work on Holland and France. I don't think that would be very boring somehow.
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#41030 - Thu Jan 24 2002 06:37 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
Dobrov Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 02 2001
Posts: 265
Loc: Hradec Kralove Czech Republic
Lupetta, I totally agree. The only problem with Coleridge is that he probably would keep on reciting waaaay past midnight. Bruyere, I read a GREAT book about 15 years ago called An Embarrassment of Riches (I think). Is that the same Schama?

[ 01-24-2002: Message edited by: Dobrov ]


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#41031 - Thu Jan 24 2002 08:56 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
obi_ewan Offline
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Registered: Fri Dec 21 2001
Posts: 42
Loc: Bovensmilde, the Netherlands
I would like to have dinner with Tolkien, Anthony Hopkins and Immanuel Kant. I would love to hear what they think of eachother's work, so they will have to read/see it before, of course...
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#41032 - Thu Jan 24 2002 09:14 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
Bruyere Offline
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Registered: Sat Feb 10 2001
Posts: 18382
Loc: California USA
Dobrov you've got it. I love an academic who can write a book that doesn't make you fall asleep immediately...that you read from cover to cover!
I recommend him.
I did a lot of work on Holland and I found some subjects to start with.
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#41033 - Thu Jan 24 2002 10:26 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
LilSpikey Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 02 2001
Posts: 581
Loc: North Carolina USA
Seated at my table, across from me is author of the Anastasia books, Lois Lowry. She's written Anastasia Krupnik, Number the Stars, 100 Ways to Die, and All About Sam. In the other seat is author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. She wrote Shiloh, The Agony of Alice, and the other Alice books.
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#41034 - Thu Jan 24 2002 10:58 PM Re: Which author of history would you...
Lupetta Offline
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Registered: Tue Jan 22 2002
Posts: 404
Loc: London
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Dobrov, I could definetely put up with that! ;-)

Anyone vaguely interested in Coleridge and his circle could do a lot worse than read Richard Holmes' sublime two volume biography. Part one is called "Early Visions" and part two "Darker Reflections". Even if you're not that interested in STC it's so beautifully written, with such warmth and painstaking research that anyone with a literary interest would find it enjoyable. Lots about Hazlitt, Southey, Lamb etc.

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#41035 - Sat Jan 26 2002 02:47 PM Re: Which author of history would you...
Dobrov Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 02 2001
Posts: 265
Loc: Hradec Kralove Czech Republic
Ok, Lupetta, but be warned. When Colerlidge asked Charles Lamb (his best friend), "Have you ever heard me preach?" Lamb replied,"I've never heard you do anything else."
I've only read the first of the Richard Holmes, but it was just great. Actually, I was just looking over the reponses to this thread and I think they are really intriguing. What would be interesting is if all these people turned into producers. If Tabby Tom, for instance, was going to fund a short subject based on a dinner with Voltaire, Sam Johnson and Fanny Burney, who would play whom? Why? I bags Mr. Alan Rickman for William Hazlitt, because he's the only actor neurotic enough to do the job. Coleridge?

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#41036 - Mon Jan 28 2002 04:02 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
Lupetta Offline
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Registered: Tue Jan 22 2002
Posts: 404
Loc: London
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What a marvellous question ! Malcolm McDowell in his prime or how about Rafe Fiennes? I can't think of anyone with enough charisma, maybe Anthony Hopkins but he's getting on a bit now.

You'll know if you've read Holmes how infuriating STC could be but the thing that stands out is the way everyone was so charmed by him. Look how much his friends forgave him for, look how people threw money at him after their first meeting with him. DO read the rest, it's very sad but fascinating and deeply moving.

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If Jesus was a carpenter how much did he charge for bookshelves? - Woody Allen

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#41037 - Mon Jan 28 2002 09:55 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
Dobrov Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 02 2001
Posts: 265
Loc: Hradec Kralove Czech Republic
Ralph Fiennes. What a concept. He would make a very very interesting Coleridge. Now that I'm thinking about it again, I will definitely look for the second volume of the Coleridge bio. I'll be in Canada in March and I can do it then. Here it's kind of hard to find such books. BTW, If you liked the Richard Holmes, try The Bondage of Love by Molly Lefebure (1986). It's a biography of Sara, Coleridge's wife and it's equally lucid, tragic and great fun to read.

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#41038 - Tue Jan 29 2002 01:09 PM Re: Which author of history would you...
Lupetta Offline
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Registered: Tue Jan 22 2002
Posts: 404
Loc: London
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Yes I'm aware of this book, it's in the bibliography for the Holmes. I know it's very anit-STC and that's kind of put me off a bit. He's SUCH an easy target and what I really love about Holmes is the way he doesn't hide his faults or make excuses for him but balances his bad points with the good and shows him as a flawed but brilliant and much loved man with many good points.

By the way, I come from North London, not too far at all from Highgate where STC spent his final years. One of the best things about the second volume of the Holmes (called "Darker Reflections" by the way) is that he has STC wandering around places that I actually KNOW!! JOY!!

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If Jesus was a carpenter how much did he charge for bookshelves? - Woody Allen

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#41039 - Tue Jan 29 2002 05:54 PM Re: Which author of history would you...
Dobrov Offline
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Registered: Sun Dec 02 2001
Posts: 265
Loc: Hradec Kralove Czech Republic
You are unbelievably lucky. What a great place to live. Even getting to work in the morning would be an adventure. Yes, B of L is VERY sympathetic to Sara, but it's still such a great book that even true-blue Coleridge appreciaters such as yourself will really like it anyway, even if it is annoying. I have to say that the person who really comes off the worst is not Col. but Dorothy Wordsworth. Fuj, she was horrible.

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#41040 - Wed Jan 30 2002 01:40 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
Lupetta Offline
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Registered: Tue Jan 22 2002
Posts: 404
Loc: London
England UK
Well I could say the same about you!! I've never been to the Czech Republic but I have spent some time in Poland and visited Krakow which I'm told is very similar to Prague. I LOVED the architecture and the beer and the culture and Prague is high on my list of most longed for hiliday destinations. Are you a Czech National? If so I have to say your english is REMARKABLY good ;-)
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If Jesus was a carpenter how much did he charge for bookshelves? - Woody Allen

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#41041 - Wed Jan 30 2002 04:00 AM Re: Which author of history would you...
thejazzkickazz Offline
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Registered: Fri Apr 14 2000
Posts: 3232
Loc: Utah USA
Hmm...this thread seems to be veering a bit off subject (may I suggest the private message option?) Thanks for the contribution to the thread thus far from all participants...some fascinating choices.

Now that we've heard with whom you'd love to have dinner...are there any writers with whom you would NOT want to dine? Surely there are some irascible personalities amongst your favorite writers...let us find out which ones display the most choleric demeanors!


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