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Many stars had regular jobs before becoming famous and recognized. Today, we will present five famous people who worked as essay writers before achieving the fame:
Franz Kafka was one of the most famous writers of the 20th century. His work combines the every day with the incredible and invites readers to challenge their ideas about human nature, politics, and society. His story “The Castle” remains perhaps his most famous piece. While Kafka is celebrated for his contributions to literature, he is not known to have worked as an essay writer before gaining fame.
Kafka’s childhood was filled with tragedy. His two younger brothers died in infancy, and his mother was a devoted housewife who could not understand her son’s dreams of becoming a writer. He also had a problematic relationship with his father, who was a successful businessman.
He began studying chemistry at university but switched to law after just two weeks. This switch allowed him to take other classes, including German and art history, that he was passionate about. He would go on to be an excellent lawyer.
However, Kafka’s health was never good. He suffered from clinical depression, social anxiety, and a wide variety of psychosomatic symptoms. He could not sleep properly, experienced boils and constipation, and was often debilitated by migraines. He also struggled with tuberculosis and died at 26 in 1924. He was buried alongside his parents in the Jewish cemetery in Prague.
Scott Fitzgerald’s life embodied the ups and downs of the American Dream, and his work reflects the whirlwind pace of America’s Jazz Age. Fitzgerald was born into affluence and social privilege in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of a wicker furniture salesman and an adoring heiress. A talented and promising student, he dropped out of Princeton University to join the army at age 21, and his ensuing military service brought him to Alabama, where he met 18-year-old Zelda Sayre, daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court Justice.
Their marriage and subsequent years of lavish living made them young celebrities. Throughout these years, Fitzgerald wrote short stories and novels to support his hedonistic lifestyle, and his early works helped popularize the flapper character type with which he would be associated.
With their bobbed hair and knee-baring skirts, Fitzgerald’s heroines, such as Rosalind Connage in This Side of Paradise and Marcia Meadow in Head and Shoulders, modeled a self-consciously rebellious subcultural identity free from Victorian feminine strictures for female readers.
After publishing his first novel, Fitzgerald penned several screenplays for Triangle Club theatrical productions and worked as a freelance writer. He also briefly wrangled a job as a contract writer for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios but found writing by committee stifling his creativity.
Dorothy L. Sayers
Dorothy Leigh Sayers is best known for her Lord Peter Wimsey novels, but she was a prolific essay writer before she turned to fiction. Her work on religion, history, and English literature helped her become one of British society’s most widely read and respected authors.
Sayers was an intelligent young woman with an insatiable appetite for knowledge and a writing talent. She studied modern languages and medieval literature at Somerville College in Oxford, England – a time when women were not granted degrees. After graduating, she held various teaching, copywriting, and advertising jobs before deciding to write detective novels to support herself.
She wrote for various magazines and was an editor for Blackwell’s, the Oxford bookshop and publishing company. She was a committed Christian who lived within the strictures of her faith. For instance, she refused to sleep with her boyfriend, John Cournos, before marriage because she believed in the sanctity of monogamy.
Her religious work also earned her a reputation as a lay theologian. She regularly addressed gatherings of churchgoers and had a thriving correspondence with fellow Christian authors such as Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien.
DeLillo has written a series of 17 novels, a play, and several short stories. He has won many awards, including the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages.
He grew up in the Bronx, an Italian immigrant neighborhood in New York City. His parents were working class, and he worked as a parking attendant while pursuing his writing interests. He has written extensively about conspiracy theories and America’s post-World War II culture of conformity, consumerism, and waste. He has also been a political commentator, critic, and essayist.
DeLillo is one of the most influential American novelists of our time. His books engage with the history of his country and predict its future with frightening accuracy. He is an artist of great depth, a writer who writes what it is necessary to write without second-guessing his readers or himself. Each sentence he writes sings a freeform muscular musicality to the eye and ear. Every word in his works has its purpose, a resonance that is intense and subtle. He published White Noise, Libra, and Mao II a few years later. This was followed by his magnum opus, Underworld, which covered the latter half of the twentieth century.
Salman Rushdie, the acclaimed British-Indian author, is known for his novels, but he has also worked as an essayist throughout his literary career. Before and after achieving fame, Rushdie has written numerous essays and non-fiction pieces on a wide range of topics.
One of the most severe, playful, cosmopolitan writers of contemporary literature, Rushdie is also one of the most controversial. His first novel, Grimus, was a modest success, but his second, Midnight’s Children, won the Booker Prize in 1981 and caused a furious reaction from many Muslims who considered it an insult to their faith. Rushdie was forced into seclusion for several years, but he has since emerged as an advocate for free expression and is a prominent figure in postcolonial literature.
Rushdie attacks the prevailing literary trend toward autofiction in his latest essay collection, Languages of Truth. He believes the “write what you know” classroom imperative has led to a culture of tedium, angst, and dead ends. He argues that novels need a healthy dose of imaginative invention to survive.
In the past two decades, Rushdie has published a memoir about his years in seclusion (Joseph Anton) and a series of novels that explore the immigrant experience in America (Luka and the Fire of Life, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh). He is a Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Emory University and holds the rank of Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France. He is a former president of the PEN American Center and founder of PEN’s World Voices Festival, which has brought authors from around the globe to New York City since 2005.
In conclusion, the journey to fame for many renowned individuals often began with humble beginnings, and their initial careers were not necessarily in the field for which they are now celebrated. In the case of these five famous figures – Franz Kafka, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy L. Sayers, Don DeLillo, and Salman Rushdie – their early professional lives encompassed various roles, from law and advertising to teaching and copywriting. It was through their literary talents, whether in the form of essays, novels, or other writings, that they eventually achieved fame and recognition, leaving a lasting impact on the world of literature and beyond. Their diverse experiences and contributions demonstrate the potential for individuals to evolve and excel in different domains throughout their careers.