Reader's block by David Markson - selection from the selection

Fighting with his wife, drunk, Paul Verlaine once threw their three-month-old son against a wall.

Saint Thomas Aquinas was an anti-Semite.

Saint Augustine said his first teacher was also the first person he ever saw who could read without moving his lips.

What has happened? It is life that has happened; and I am old. Said Louis Aragon.

If an ox could paint a picture, his god would look like an ox. Said Xenophanes.

Despite decades of self-analysis, Frued was forever so anxiety ridden about missing trains that he would arrive at a stationn as much as an hour ahead of time.

Joseph Beuys was a Stuka pilot in World War II.

In Konigsberg, where he spent his entire life, Immanuel Kant had several sisters and a brother and did not see any of them for a quarter of a century. At one point he had a letter from the brother and did not answer it for two and a half years.

Throughout the Middle Ages, often no more than a single manuscript of certain classics existed. One leaking monastery roof and the Satyricon could have been lost forever, for instance.

Raymond Chandler lived with his mother until her death when he was thirty-five. And then almost immediately married a woman seventeen years older than he was.

George Bernard Shaw was an anti-Semite.

William Butler Yeats was an anti-Semite.

Bruno Schulz was carrying home a loaf of bread when he was shot down in the street by the Gestapo.

Only a lunatic would dance when sober, said Cicero.

Frederic Chopin was an anti-Semite.

Lice in the locks of literature, Tennyson called critics.

An illiterate, underbred book. Said Virginia Woolf of Ulysses.

Impoverished and freezing, Gerard de Nerval hanged himself near a cheap Paris doss-house after no one responded to his late-night knock.

Alexander Pushkin was an anti-Semite.

Ernest Hemingway was an anti-Semite.

Ingenious nonsense, Isaac Newton dismissed poetry as.

Martin Luther was an anti-Semite.

Rilke died of Leukemia.

The vocabulary in Shakespeare's plays includes 29,066 different words. There are 29,899 different words in Ulysses.

Savonarola was burned at the stake in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence in 1498. Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in the Campo de Fiori in Rome in 1600. Savonarola was granted the kindness of being hanged beforehand. Bruno was alive and conscious.

Life is a long preparation for something that never happens, Yeats said.

Mark Rothko committed suicide by slashing the inside of his arms at the elbows with a double-edged razor blade. First folding kleenex over one edge of the blade to keep from cutting his fingers.

Voltaire was an anti-Semite.

Georg Trakl died from an overdose of cocaine, presumed deliberate. Trakl's sister Margarete committed suicide also. There seems evidence of incest.

GK Chesterton was an anti-Semite.

Tolstoy and Gandhi corresponded.

Martin Heidegger was an anti-Semite. Who kept a portrait of Pascal in his study. While signing his letters Heil Hitler.

Toynbee finds twice as many civilisations in his history than Spengler did.

Mina Loy.

Thomas Hobbes was born prematurely when his mother became hysterical at the approach of the Spanish Armada.

Picasso, when told that Gertrude Stein did not look like her portrait: Never mind. She will.

TS Eliot was a virgin until his marriage at twenty-six. And possibly thereafter.

The tyranny of the ignoramuses is insurmountable and assured for all time. Said Einstein.