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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Writer's Life 3/29 - Naughty, Nice

In 1444 Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini wrote Historia de Duobus Amantibus. Translated from Latin that's The Tale of Two Lovers. Filled with erotic imagery, it was one of the bestselling books of the 15th century. The author (1405-1464) went on to become Pope Pius II. In his early years Piccolomini led the dissipated life of a gentleman of the day. I don't know if he changed his wayward ways once he ascended, but his papacy lasted from 1458 until his death. In those days the office was political. A pope wielded as much power as a king. No pontiff today would get away with the behavior of many of his predecessors. The office has evolved almost entirely to a religious one, influential only to a degree. Unfortunately, there isn't an excerpt of the novel available, and it has yet to be rated by any user, although it is selling modestly, judging by its rank: #817,040. There are more than 13 million books listed at Amazon. A 2010 large paperback edition lists for $11.90... That neat bit of info got me to thinking about another writer whose early work was risqué by the standards of his day, and who went on to become a cleric in the Church of England - John Donne (1572-1631). His poem The Flea is essentially about seduction. Since the flea has sucked blood from both the man and woman in question, the poet reasons that since their blood has already been joined in the flea, why not join bodies and swap fluids in sexual intercourse? In Go and Catch a Falling Star, the speaker argues that finding a woman who will remain faithful is as impossible as catching a falling star. Later in life Donne would write Sonnet X, also known as Death Be Not Proud, and Meditation 17, which was inspiration for Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. (Facts from Wiki and various sources, in my own words.)

Finally - a day of sunshine. Non-fiction ruled the session. My thanks to Ira, who bought Kitty Kelley's unauthorized bio of Nancy Reagan, to the gentleman who parked his walker beside Twenty Steps to Power, Influence, and Control over People by H. W. Gabriel, and looked it over and bought it; to the kindly Russian old timer just returned from wintering in Florida, who purchased Yanks: The Epic Story of the American Army in World War I by John Eisenhower; and to Barry Spunt, author of Heroin and Music in NYC, professor of criminology at John Jay College, who recognized an author's name, an accused murderer released after 18 years on death row for the murder of three boys in what authorities believed was a satanic ritual. The book is Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row by Damien Echols and Lorri Davis, who married. In 2011, after a high-profile campaign for his release backed by Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder and Dave Navarro, Echols and two friends were freed under a plea deal. Today he and Davis live in Salem, Massachusetts, the site of the infamous witch trials (, in my own words.). As usual, Doctor Spunt overpaid for his purchase. He is a prince.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
Vic's Short Works:

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