I have an insatiable curiosity, which is probably one of the reasons that I love to read. Reading is a delicious way to learn and help sate that curiosity. For every book I read, I go online and research the author, the historical context, and any other juicy details that help me get the most out of it. I just want to soak up as much interesting stuff as I can. I do this because I am by nature--as I said--a very curious person. Also, I am, by nature, a big nerd.
I have learned many things in these frequent Wikipedia forays, of varying degrees of relevance. Of very little importance: Leo Tolstoy was a hunk! Who knew? I presumed that he was born a grizzled bearded old man! I discovered this last year and immediately texted this exact message to my sister: "Leo Tolstoy was a hunk!" This revelation didn't seem to faze her in any way. Let me add that the text wasn't totally out of context. She was reading War and Peace at the time.
So it seems deeply important that I share with you some of those other hunky authors you've been wondering about. Unfortunately, male authors tend not to be hunky, so I have a meager list for you.
OK, we all know that John Grisham, courtroom suspense writer extraordinaire, is the reigning Hunk of All Authors.
So let's get to some of the Dead White Guys that may surprise you. First, the aforementioned Leo Tolstoy, bearded wonder. But take a gander at this:
Très handsome. And scowling in a very Heathcliff-esque way. Old Leo really sowed some wild oats in his day. Apparently he had an illegitimate child, contracted syphilis, and kept a lewd and graphic journal of all of his sexual exploits. And then he presented this journal to his innocent bride the night before the wedding! She was probably expecting some perfume or a nice lace nightgown. Not a pornographic account of her to-be husband's adventures in bed. She went through with the wedding, anyway, though. Maybe he looked at her like this, all moody and dark, and she was helpless before his brooding gaze and had to acquiesce (like the peasant girls on his father's farm).
I assume this was taken prior to the creation of some of the longest and greatest novels ever written. He had to have had the beard at that point. With the beard comes wisdom.
Moving on to another Russian, Anton Chekhov. Now, admittedly, he's not as much of a looker as Leo. It's his image that is hunky. He's carefree and confident. He's got a certain swagger. Isn't Anton Chekhov an awesome name? Anton never wanted to get married. (He was probably sowing his wild oats like Tolstoy, though who knows if he recorded it all...) Both a doctor and a writer, he said that medicine was his lawful wife and literature his mistress. So maybe he felt he had no room for a real wife. He eventually did marry, though, and promptly died.*
*This was a slight exaggeration for effect. I think he lasted three or four years.
Here's Ernest Hemingway, circa 1918, when he was serving as a Red Cross ambulance driver in Italy in World War I. He was a handsome dude in his youth. Then he went on to write many well-received novels, win the Pulitzer Prize, get married four times, guzzle barrels of alcohol, kill big game, fall into depression, live in Cuba, have affairs, and grow a beard.
I've always felt that George Gordon, Lord Byron was hunky too. Alas, he lived before photography was invented and the portraits of him just don't do justice to the Byron of my imagination.
What do you think? Did I miss any hunky authors?