Sorting through English poets (because that’s what I know), I don’t find many “pure” authors at all.
I suppose the Romantics were most “pure.” Keats gave up being an apothecary, and Shelley and Byron were both wealthy nobles. Pure enough. But Wordsworth and Coleridge had jobs. I’m not sure about Tennyson or either Browning. Arnold was a government official, related to the school system I believe. Dante Rosetti was an artist. Hardy was a pop novelist, but I guess that’s pure. Hopkins was a priest.
As for the Elizabethans, I think Spenser was a “pure” poet, insofar as writing an allegory about the reigning Queene in exchange for a pension is pure. You could argue that Shakespeare was pure, although he was a commercial playwright, and made tons of money off of real estate. Marlowe was a spy for the British crown, so not pure. Donne had some job or other, then became a priest, so not a pure poet. Herbert was some sort of clergyman or other. Sidney was a noble and a soldier, but I guess basically he was pure. Jonson was a bricklayer and a soldier, so not pure at all. Milton was a government official, and Marvell was his secretary, so neither was pure.
As for the Neoclassicists, Dryden was another government official, but he made enough from his translation of epics to survive on for most of his life. Same with Pope. I’d say that’s half-pure. Blake was an artist.
I’ll leave Modernist poets out, since I’m getting kind of tired of this. But my point is that most poets don’t just start writing poems, and “scrabble and toil” their way to success. They work ordinary jobs like ordinary people, where they encounter real-life subjects to write about. That’s another reason I’m reluctant to support screenwriters who say, “We’re not being paid fairly!” – because most of the best writers, historically, couldn’t even survive <i>just by writing</i>.
I’m not sure about that. Any one of Marlowe’s or Shakespeare’s major plays, as produced in a London theater of the era, would have generated enough cash to feed a village at least for a while. The rule was that the playwright got the 3rd night’s revenues. So not only were the best playwrights of the period about as well off as screenwriters now, but their all-at-once payment system is comparable to the current system.
As for the Elizabethans, I think Spenser was a “pure” poet, insofar as writing an allegory about the reigning Queene in exchange for a pension is pure.
The classical odists teach us that this is the height of purity. The government sinecure is a time-honored position for poets, as is getting somebody like Ezra Pound to cobble you together a salary from wealthy socialites. I was just reading a letter of Hemingway’s to I forget who and he was going on about how Joyce was always moaning and groaning about money matters but there he was with his entire family at the fancy Parisian restaurant every day, which Hemingway couldn’t even afford more than once a week. And whatever his public persona was, Hemingway was sincerely one of the most dedicated writers, as a real workman, we as a species are likely to have or have had.
Just for fun, I might note that Hemingway wrote in another letter, around 1954 or so, “(date): Became drunk with Joyce, in the literal rather than figurative sense.”
For those who are still stuck, Joyce died in 1941.
Hey, I’m not defending the studios, as far as I can determine this is their fault. Still, when you have the people who write Leno, Letterman, Conan, SNL, The Soup and lots of other mock-the-establishment-for-a-living shows arrayed against you, you’re gonna end up looking bad no matter what you say.
And I’m pretty sure if the studios could fire everybody they would have by now. But the Writer’s Guild includes nearly every writer in the TV & Movie businesses, and has non-union writers frightened of being blacklisted if they scab. Even writers from other countries have declined being hired by the American studios out of fear of the WGA. Man, that’s power. O.o
Good news at last? Rumors say that the negotiations have reached a deal and the strike will end before the Holidays are over. Let’s take it with a grain of salt, of course, but also hope it’s for real: