Tennessee Williams

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

There is a long history of alcoholism in American literature. The heavy drinking of writers like Ernest Hemingway and Hart Crane inspired a kind of myth of the American writer as a genius armed with a typewriter and a bottle of whiskey. The success of writers like Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald also gave rise to the belief that alcohol somehow stoked their creativity.

H.G. Wells looks remarkably good for having died in 1946.

That's because he's being played by comedian Paul F. Tompkins.

Tompkins assumes the role every month for a series called "Dead Authors" at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles.

It's the quintessential "dog bites man" story. I'm talking about a new book I just read about a group of famous writers who — get this -- drank too much! I know, right? That's pretty much the equivalent of saying I just read a book about a group of famous writers who used commas in their sentences.