Great artists often work alone, but some form symbiotic relationships with their contemporaries. These relationships often help inspire amazing works through mentoring or editing each other. All friendships below are composed of literary giants whose works are etched into history; some even helped each other’s writing careers. Jealous…
1. Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Two of the most famous American writers not only lived in the same era but were friends who sent each other their manuscripts. Hemingway even offered criticisms to Fitzgerald’s fourth novel Tender is the Night. They often exchanged letters and spent time together in Paris, despite quite opposite personalities.
2. C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien
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The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings are considered both classics and staples and are beloved by children and adults worldwide. The masters behind these fantasy series were also friends! They met when they were both in school at Oxford where they bonded over religion, their time spent in World War I, and the epic stories that would later be their biggest works. Their intelligent friendship may have been the inspiration that launched the both of their works from an idea into classic literature.
3. Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath
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These writers are the two most commonly mentioned names when discussing feminist poetry. Before their fame and publications, they used to meet for drinks after a poetry seminar. Besides writing, they bonded over their contemplations and philosophies on death and depression.
4. David Foster Wallace and Don Delillo
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Wallace claimed that Delillo was the greatest living author, especially when people started comparing the two after the publication of Infinite Jest. Wallace even used Delillo’s White Noise in his teachings when he was a professor at Emerson. The two exchanged letters and Wallace looked for advice from Delillo. After Wallace’s death, annotated copies of Delillo’s work were found amongst his possession.
5. James Baldwin and Toni Morrison
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Morrison met Baldwin when she was editing his work at Random House. A life-long friendship then blossomed, and Morrison was devastated after Baldwin passed in 1987. She was one of the people who spoke at his funeral and memorialized him with a piece in the New York Times.
Do you know any more literary friends?
Feature image courtesy of The Fight City