NEW YORK — Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling served up a bombshell Friday evening during a reading at Carnegie Hall, telling a crowd of fans from throughout the United States that Dumbledore, the wise Hogwarts headmaster and mentor to Harry, is gay. "I always saw Dumbledore as gay," Rowling said in answer to a fan's question about whether the wizard ever found love.
The revelations about Dumbledore, who dies in Book 6, were unplanned and a surprise to Scholastic, Rowling's U.S. publisher, which sponsored four special readings of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows across the country this week. Scholastic spokeswoman Kyle Good said afterward, "That's the first time she's brought that up."
—Greg Troppo, USA Today, 20 Oct. 2007
Rouen, FRANCE, 15 June 1890
In a revelation that has shocked the world of French letters to its very core, boon friend and traveling companion to Gustave Flaubert, Maxime du Camp, revealed that Flaubert confessed to him that his most famous creation, Emma Bovary, was really a man. Speaking at the unveiling of the Henri Chapu monument to the controversial author, du Camp recounted how Flaubert stated his intention during their 1849 trip to Egypt to return to Croisset and “write a real whopper about a dim-witted transvestite.”
“This really adds astonishing new perspectives to numerous passages in the novel,” said long-time acquaintance Alphonse Daudet from his home in Paris. “I questioned him once about a brief description of Emma’s gait in one scene, and that it seemed too… well, strident. Cocksure, you might say. But Flaubert just winked at me and spat onto my patio. Makes sense now, though.”
“I always thought that whole, you know, ‘Madame Bovary, c’est moi’ thing was kind of, you know, fruity,” said novelist Emile Zola. “I said as much one time. ‘You’re Emma Bovary?’ I said. ‘You’re a walrussy looking toff with the pox.' And I thought [Flaubert] was going to brain me with a cuspidor. I mean, you know, how was I supposed to know?”
“It certainly puts an additional slant, pun intended, on that whole carriage ride scene with Léon,” said Edmond de Goncourt.
Berlin, GERMANY, 3 January 1948
In 1933, the Gestapo confiscated some 20 notebooks and 35 letters composed by the late Franz Kafka from his last companion, Dora Diamant. While the whereabouts of most of this material is still unknown, several of the letters were discovered yesterday in a Berlin haberdashery, and shed a startling light on the author’s renowned short novel The Metamorphosis.
“I find it entirely amusing,” wrote the author to his confidante, Czech journalist Milena Jesenská, “that [Max] Brod and [Felix] Weltsch don’t realize that before my Gregor turns into a monstrous vermin [ungeheueren Ungezeifer] that he had already spent several weeks at a mineral spa as a monstrous rooster [ungeheueren Hahn]! He even pecks a charwoman, purely out of spite.”
In the letters, Kafka goes on to discuss his plans for sequels to the work: “Yes, Gregor dies, of course, but death is not the kind of thing that prevents one from turning into, say, a blood orange, or an Armenian. Oh, he’ll have this fun. By the way, God is stuck in a deep abyss. How are your parents?”
“Well, this is all news to me,” said Kafka’s lifelong advocate and literary executor Max Brod. “I wish I’d have known that. I might have laughed more when I read it. Hey, the guy worked in insurance; what do you want me to say?”
New York, NY, 16 July 2001
Toothy, beloved actress Elaine Joyce, known for her roles in such popular shows as “Match Game” and “What’s My Line,” revealed during a 50th anniversary celebration of the publication of Catcher in the Rye that J.D. Salinger said of his character, Holden Caufield, that “the poor kid had a goddamn nut allergy!” Ms. Joyce, after her second marriage ended in divorce, was “hot and heavy” with the reclusive American author through much of the nineteen-eighties, after Salinger wrote her a fan letter upon seeing her in the short-lived sit-com “Mr. Merlin.”
“You know, Jerry himself is lactose intolerant, so he had a real interest in the behavioral effects of food. He told me one night while we were, you know, snuggling, that before the whole story starts, Holden has a couple big fistfuls of cashews. And from there the whole thing just flowed,” said Joyce to a room of national and foreign press correspondents. “The whole ‘phoniness’ and disaffection thing in Holden, it’s really just a mild anaphylaxsis.”
“I really think this places Holden in a wholly new and, quite frankly, even more deeply tragic light,” says literary critic and biographer Janet Malcolm. “And it dovetails more appropriately with what we know of Salinger’s eclectic spiritual, medical, and nutritional beliefs. Homeopathy, macrobiotics, Vitamin C megadosing, vomiting to remove impurities, urine therapy. It’s a more poignant read, when you think about it.”Said Ms. Joyce (currently married to playwright Neil Simon): “Jerry was very specific that it wasn’t legumes, but tree nuts. He was emphatic about that. ‘Tree nuts!’ he’d say, over and over. He kind of hinted that Holden may have been snacking on sesame sticks, too, with the Pency Prep fencing team just before the narrative begins, though he wouldn’t come right out and say it. But I surmised.”