What I Learned On My Way to My Novel

Part of the fun of doing historical research is finding the quirks of famous people.  My writing partner, Gail Upp (really her name), and I included some of these into World Enough and Time, the mystery-romance we are writing.  We discovered them while researching the 18 famous artists, writers, musicians and mathematicians who time-travel into the future.  Some didn’t make the cut, some did.  Below are tidbits we enjoy.  Hope you do, too.

Felix Mendelssohn didn’t butter his toast, he dunked it into his coffee.

Jane Austen loved the color yellow.

Ludwig van Beethoven liked his coffee so strong that it took 60 beans to make one cup.  He also like mac & cheese.

Christopher Marlowe was killed—possibly assassinated—in a swordfight where he was fighting three other men.  Take that, Errol Flynn!

The artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was a murderer, who was condemned by the Pope.  He (Caravaggio) left town quickly.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was left-handed, and may have had Asperger’s Syndrome.

Ada Augusta King, Countess Lovelace, was a computer pioneer.  Although she died in 1852 she created computer programs for computers which didn’t exist yet.  In the 1940s her programs were loaded onto computers, and they worked.  The computer programming language ADA is named for her.  She was also Lord Byron’s only legitimate offspring.

Franz Schubert was only 5’2”, and so near-sighted he sometimes fell asleep wearing his glasses.

Percy Bysshe Shelley was a vegetarian.

The poet Amy Lowell was part of the famous Lowell family of Massachusetts.  The town of Lowell, MA is named for a relative.

Charles Baudelaire kept a bat in a cage by his writing desk.

What quirks do you think people will remember about you after your death?

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