To which list of literary friendships I must (of course I must) add Kafka and Brod. Max Brod of infamy who refused Kafka's request to burn all his manuscripts (as Kafka knew he would). Actually, in their lifetime, Brod was the well-known and respected author of the two. How times and reputations change.
Max Brod and Kafka
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11 Literary Friendships We Can Learn From
A friendship between two great creative minds can sometimes yield a bounty of great work, inspiration and mutual admiration for one other. Of course, it can just as easily spur on jealousy and hurt feelings. Both have been the case in real-life friendships between some of the biggest, most notable giants of the literary world. While we might hope these connections would always work out for the best, there are lessons to be learned from even the most tumultuous of relationships. Whether you’re a writer yourself, a college student or just love learning about literature, take a look at these great bookish bromances for some lessons on how to be a good friend to your nearest and dearest in life.
- Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald
Already a successful writer when he met Ernest Hemingway in 1925, Fitzgerald was familiar with the greenhorn’s work and eager to help him move forward. Hemingway was not quite so charmed by his eager, self-appointed mentor — who was a bit of a sycophant and a drunk — but benefited greatly from the connections and help he offered. For a time, the two were close friends, working and socializing together in the literary heyday of pre-war Paris. Yet things were not meant to last between the two, as Hemingway could simply not abide Fitzgerald’s rocky marriage to Zelda, rampant alcoholism (a bit ironic, don’t you think?) and his lack of writing discipline. Hemingway became increasingly critical, and his public belittling of the man and his work, especially his unflattering portrait in A Moveable Feast, severed their friendship. Close friends say Fitzgerald was always hurt by Hemingway’s rebuff, but the other man’s opinions never softened — not even after the former’s death in 1940. The lesson? Choose your friends carefully — they may not always respect you as you do them.
- C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien
It only makes sense that two writers, both famous for creating immersive fantasy worlds, would find common ground in real life and strike up a friendship. That’s just what happened between these two men, who met at an Oxford faculty meeting in 1926 and quickly discovered their mutual love for all things mythical. It was this friendship that helped spur both authors to write their now-famous trilogies. They bonded over their experiences in WWI, the loss of their parents and the desire to create make-believe places to escape from these deeply emotional pains. While always marked by differences in opinion, their friendship grew more distant as Lewis became more successful. Both personal and professional disagreements, including Tolkien’s hatred for theNarnia series, were to drive them apart. This unfortunately severed a close connection that had served the men well for many years. The lesson? Sometimes keeping your opinions to yourself can save a friendship.