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Author's Most Embarrassing Moments

Updated on July 5, 2012
Pretty little baby Ernest
Pretty little baby Ernest
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
Leo Tolstoy as a young man
Leo Tolstoy as a young man
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Capote in the 1950s
Capote in the 1950s
Paul Coelho
Paul Coelho

Everyone has moments of incredible shame- those defining incidents when all eyes a on you..and you'd give anything to take a silly thing back you just said or did . You thought tripping down the stairs in highschool was bad enough, but wait until you hear these tales of blushing blunders from across the literary globe.


Why he's blushing: His mother tried to pass him as a girl

The Rest of the Story: You know it's going to be a hard life when you spend your childhood dressed as a girl. Ernest Hemingway's mother wanted twin girls so much that when he was born in 1899, she tricked the town by dressing him just like his sister, who was eighteen months older. She paraded them around with similar haircuts and identical clothing, hoping her peers would believe the children to be twin. In public, she even referred to Hemingway as Ernestine instead of Earnest.

Did you know...

  • He wrote The Sun Also Rises (1926) in around 6 weeks from his favorite Paris restaurant, La Closerie des Lilas.
  • Several members of his family committed suicide including his father, both of his siblings and himself


Why he's blushing: Bullies spread rumors that he at homosexuality in his writing

The Rest of the Story: Shakespeare was an easy target for jokes when it came to his love life. He was rumored to have married Anne Hathaway when she was already three months pregnant, and his reputation among both women and men forever changed once critics read his works. Twenty-six of his sonnets appeared to be love poems to a married woman, referred to as the Dark Lady , and another 126 are addressed to a man, Fair Lord. Although Elizabethans commonly referred to their friendships as more aggressive types of love in poetry, critics believed Shakespeare was actually referring to sexual rendezvous. Some argue that the "speaker" in the poems does not necessarily have to be Shakespeare; he could have been writing in third person, Others disagree and insist he was indeed bisexual.


Why he's blushing: He bragged about past lovers on his wedding night.

The Rest of the Story: Lonely and in desperate in need of a bride, Leo Tolstoy broke down one New Year's Day and vowed that if he did not get married by the end of 1859, he would count himself a bachelor forever. It didn't happen ,he did eventually marry three years later. However, Tolstoy put a damper on their marital bliss with an odd request on the wedding night - he insisted his new bride, Sonya, read all of his old diaries, which included details about his past relationships with other women. Tolstoy may have simply wanted to dispel all secrets , but Sonya was disgusted. The day after the wedding, she wrote in her own diary about her jealousy and the "filth" to which she had been subjected.

Did you know that...

  • When Leo Tolstoy was fifteen years old, His brothers took him to a brothel for his first sexual experience with a woman. Although initially plagued with guilt, he eventually became promiscuous and contracted gonorrhea.


Why he's blushing: He was beat up for being a sissy, then teased by his boyfriend's dad

The Rest of the Story: Clues about Oscar Wilde's sexual orientation came early in life. In college, he rebelled against trends and wore his hair long ; made fun of masculine sports and decorated his room with china, sunflowers and peacock feathers. He was not easily accepted by other students ( he frequently had his room trashed and was dunked in a nearby river for being so weird), but he was not ashamed of his homosexual tendencies. Not yet, at least. His true embarrassment regarding his reputation would come later in life , when his boyfriend's father went into great lengths to break up the relationship. The 9th Marquess of Queensbury, he made shameless plans to throw vegetables at Wilde while he was on stage and leave him calling cards referring him as a sodomite. Wilde tried accusing him for criminal libel, but in court ,things got worse. He actually admitted to lying while on the stand and ended up in court for " committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons".

Did you know that...

  • While in prison, Oscar Wilde wrote a 50,000 word letter to his boyfriend, Lord Alfred Douglas, which he wasn't allowed to send until he was released.


why he's blushing:He promised his buddies his latest story would be printed on one of the country's most popular magazines - but it never was.

The Rest of the story: Breakfast at Tiffany's was originally supposed to be printed as a fictional article in Harper's Bazaar magazine in the 1950s - but at the last minute , after the magazine requested some of Capote's raffish language be changed and had it laid out to be printed, the editors changed their minds. Embarrassed and outraged at the broken contract, Capote announced the magazine had stopped running "quality fiction" for their readers. He later sold the manuscript to Esquire and Random House Publishing.

Did you know...

  • Truman Capote got the title " Breakfast at Tiffany's from a story he once heard about a young marine in world war II. The man's friend offered him to breakfast, but it was Sunday and the shops were closed. " Where would you like to go? Pick the fanciest, most expensive place in town," he said. The Marine's reply, "let's have breakfast at Tiffany's ".


Why is he blushing: His parents gave him the electro-shock therapy for misbehaving.

The Rest of the story : Brazillian author Paul Coelho ,best known for his work on The Alchemist , had big plans for his future - that is, until his parents started bugging him about ho much money he could make as an engineer. They strongly discouraged him from a literary life, but Coelho soon became rebellious and made a habit out of breaking the family rules. His plan backfired, however, and his father decided that the only way to fix his son's atitude was to put him in a psych ward. At just seventeen years old, Coelho was locked up for what his dad called " Signs of mental illness". The treatment - a few rounds of painful electroconvulsive therapy.

After he was released, the author became independent, joined a theater group, and got a job as a journalist. However, his peers has such a reputation of immorality that his parents, once again. threatened to send him back to the "hospital". He eventually was taken back ,and when he got out, he became intensely withdrawn and depressed. On a hunch, his parents called for a second opinion from a different doctor who urged them to leave their son alone.


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