Many famous authors have struggled with alcohol addiction. Some use it as a means of sparking inspiration, while others depend on it to self-medicate. It is widely debated whether or not drinking actually helps with the quality of writing. These particular authors didn't let their addiction get in the way of their work, as many of these books have been deemed classics. Unsurprisingly, several of the following alcoholic authors wrote about drinking and alcohol abuse in their books. The plague of alcoholism has consumed the lives of numerous individuals throughout history. Here multiple famous books written by alcoholic writers.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Truman Capote was born in 1924 and died of liver cancer at 59 years old. He had a difficult childhood and his mother struggled with alcoholism as well. After In Cold Blood became famous, he often drank or did drugs to calm his nerves. Following his arrest due to drunk driving, he went to rehab for alcoholism. Capote tried to quit drinking several times, only to relapse after a couple months and have his addiction get the better of him. It's been reported that while writing In Cold Blood, the author would drink a double martini before lunch, one with lunch and a stinger after lunch. Other famous Truman Capote works include The Innocents and Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Ulysses by James Joyce
James Joyce was considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He was born in suburban Dublin in 1882 and lived in Ireland throughout his live. His father was a drinker too, as well as his son after him. Ulysses is rumored to have been written under the influence as Joyce believed it would enhance his work. Despite his addiction, Joyce is said to have been a functional alcoholic, and was able to write acclaimed work until his death at 58 years old from peritonitis. However, his binge drinking apparently often led to bar fights. The alcoholic writer is well-known for his books A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Finnegans Wake, alongside Ulysses.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Jean Rhys is one of few female writers on this list. Alcoholism was even more frowned upon for women than it was for men in the mid 20th century. Her novel Wide Sargasso Sea is a prequel to Charlotte Brontë's classic, Jane Eyre. Rhys struggled with poverty and depression through most of her life. She initially tried to be an actress but found very little success, and depended on men to support her. She was married three times yet still lived a lonely life, and drank to cope with that. Rhys was once imprisoned for assault, and at another time she was sent to a hospital for attacking someone with scissors. Along with Wide Sargasso Sea, Voyage in the Dark and Good Morning, Midnight were also written by the alcoholic author.
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner is considered to be one of the greatest books of the 20th century. The novel follows the downfall of a southern aristocratic family and is separated into different sections. Faulkner had a drinking problem throughout his life and often binged for several days in a row. During the 1920's, in Prohibition era, Faulkner was known for being able to find bootlegged alcohol. Other works by William Faulkner include As I Lay Dying, A Fable, and The Reivers. Faulkner's alcoholism did not inhibit his written work, as he was writing renowned pieces until he died of a heart attack at age 62.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Carson McCullers wrote The Heart is a Lonely Hunter when she was only 23 years old. The novel is about a deaf man in the deep South and the people he interacts with. McCullers and her two-time husband Reeves were heavy drinkers, and McCullers had many illnesses throughout her life. She had a ritual for drinking throughout the day, starting with a morning beer, drinking sherry as she wrote, sometimes whiskey before dinner, a martini with dinner, various cocktails at evening parties, and another beer before bed. It's a wonder she got anything done at all with this schedule. In addition to The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, McCullers wrote The Member of the Wedding, Reflections in a Golden Eye, and Clock Without Hands.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway is famous for his writing along with his drinking habits. In fact, there are even books of Hemingway-inspired drink recipes. He is reported to have started drinking at 15 years old, and kept doing it until his suicide at age 61. Hemingway suffered from bouts of depression over the years along with other mental and physical ailments. His books include many drinking scenes that are described in great detail. supposedly, Hemingway did not drink while writing his famous works, but he managed to finish about a quart of whiskey per day. Apparently, Hemingway loved daiquiris without sugar and did not like to drink anything sweet. Some of Hemingway's other famous books include A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald was well-known as an alcoholic in the 1920's. He became famous for writing This Side of Paradise, followed by The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night. His novels recounted stories of greed, status, and partying. Fitzgerald was not a classy drunk, but rather behaved poorly and foolishly when he was intoxicated. Over a span of four years, he went to the hospital for alcoholism eight times. The alcoholic author was thrown in jail several times throughout his life for disorderly behavior, such as fistfights, while he was drunk. Fitzgerald's wife Zelda and himself often had marital issues, and Zelda was diagnosed as schizophrenic in 1930, at the height of her husband's alcohol addiction. Fitzgerald faded out of the spotlight toward the end of his life, as he stopped being a productive writer. He never finished his novel The Last Tycoon, as he suffered from many illnesses as a result of his excessive partying, and died at age 44.