With not one, but two novels featuring Jane Austen, one featuring the ghost of Dorothy Parker, and a third about Virginia Woolf and her sister hitting shelves soon, it seemed like a good time to survey the entire “writer-as-character” subset of novels.
As it turns out, there are many sub-categories in this world. We have the ever-popular wife or mistress of famous male writer formula, the famous-writer-as-detective, the famous writer cameo in a literary novel to offer wisdom, the meta-novel about a character with the same name as the writer, the “secret lost romance” story of a famous writer, and the famous writer as ghost. And then there are those books that we just know contain juicy, thinly-veiled portraits of other writers.
As for the most popular fictionalized writers? No surprise to see a ton of Shakespeares, Austens, Dickenses and Brontës scampering with pens through the pages of other peoples’ novels. But a graphic-novel Susan Sontag? Cranky Robert Frost? Witty Alexander Pope? These are some of the delights we uncovered for your reading pleasure.
Jane Austen’s First Love, Syrie James
James, a specialist in novelizing writers’ lives, dug into Austen’s to find a possible love interest who has never been played by James McAvoy on the big screen!