After reading a whole bunch of modern and recent bestsellers, it’s always nice to come back to a classic. Recently, I read The Age of Innocence and Wuthering Heights. Now I’m re-reading The Great Gatsby, in preparation for the new Baz Luhrmann movie coming out this fall. But now there’s a book that has the backstories of all your favorite classics. Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway: Stories of the Inspiration Behind Great Works of Literature offers the inspiration behind fifty classic books, including Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, The Bell Jar and even Winnie-the-Pooh.
Some examples are listed in Amazon’s description of the book.
Gabriel García Márquez was driving to Acapulco with his family when he slammed on the brakes, turned the car around, and insisted they abandon their trip so he could return home to write. He had good reason to cut the trip short-a childhood memory of touching ice had suddenly sparked the first line to a novel that would become his most famous work, One Hundred Years of Solitude.
C. S. Lewis, on the other hand, spent decades pondering the scene that inspired The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When Lewis was sixteen, he had a peculiar daydream: a faun carried a bundle of parcels and an umbrella through snow-covered woods. Lewis was almost forty when he decided to write a novel that grew around the vision.
If you’re a lover of literature — like I am — this book sounds awesome.