Living People Who Work in Bed
15 Famous Dead People Who Worked in Bed
This French king was ugly, fat, and sickly but also ruthless and clever, earning the title of the “universal spider”. He introduced the custom of the lit de justice (bed in justice), a ceremonial appearance of the monarch, in bed, before le parlement with the princess of the realm on stools, the greater officials standing, and the lesser ones kneeling. No one is ure exactly why he began the practice, but it caught on and lasted until the French Revolution. Fontanelle, a critic of Louis XV, was asked on the eve of the Revolution, “What, sir, is a ‘bed of justice’?” He replied, “It is the place where justice lies asleep.”
2. LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519)
Leonardo earned a unique fame as an artist and scientist, and according to his Notebooks, he spent some time each night “…in bed in the dark to go over again in imagination the main outllines of the forms previously studied… it is useful in fixing things in the memory.”
3. CARDINAL DE RICHELEU (1585-1642)
In the last year of his life the diabolically clever and scheming cardinal took to his bed and sstayed there because of his rapidly deteriorating efficient secret police in exposing the treasonous machination of the youthful royal favorite Cinq-Mars. Nor dit it hinder the peripatetic cardinal from traveling — his servants carried him about his bed, and if the door of a house he wanted to stay in was too narrow, they would break open the walls.
4. THOMAS HOBBES (1588-1579)
Hobbes, the great Brithish political philosopher, was renowned for his mathematical approach to natural philosophy and found bed a comfortable and handy place place to work on his formulas. He wrote the numbers on the sheets and , when he ran out of room, on his thighs. He wrote his 1661 Dialogue on Physics, or On the Nature of Air entirely in bed. Hobbes also sand in bede because (according to Aubreyis Brief Lives) “… he did beleev [sic] it did his lungs good, and conduced much to prolong his life.”
5. HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW (1807-1882)
Throughout his life Longfellow suffered from periodic bouts of severe insomnia. Out of desperation he decided to put his sleepless nights to some good use, and he began to write poetry in bed — including his 1842 classic “The Wreck of the Hesperus.”
6. MARK TWAIN (1835-1910)
He loved the luxurious comfort of writing in bed and these composed large portions of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. He seems to have been the only person ever to point out that working in bed must be a very dangerous occupation, since so many deaths occur there.
7. IGNACE FANTIN-LATOUR (1836-1904)
Best known for his protrait groups, especially Homage a Delacroix , this French painter worked in bed out of necessity when he could not afford wood for a fire. William Gaunt, in The Aesthetic Adventure, describes him propped up in bed, “Shivering, mournful, persistent… in a threadbare overcoat, a top hat over his eyes and a scarf round his mouth, balancing a candle on the edge of his drawing board and sketching with numbed, gloved hand.”
For years Stevenson was wracked by coughing spells caused by tuberculosis, ande consequently he wrote most of Kidnapped and A Child’s Garden of Verses in bed at his home in Bourmemouth, England. Bed sometimes brought him inspiration in the form of dreams. One night his subconcious mind spun “a fine bogey tale,” as he called it, based on a real-life criminal he had read about. Stevenson’s dream became Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
9. EDITH WHARTON (1862-1937)
Pulitzer Prize-winning author (Age of Innocense, 1920) Edith Wharton wrote primarily about the upper classinto which she was born. Her perspective on the good life was no doubt sharpened by her work habits– she wrote in the mornings, finding inspiration in the comfort of her bed. So addcustomed was she to this routine that she once suffered a fit of hysterics because her hotel room bed did not face the light so she could work.
10. MARCEL PROUST (1871-1922)
Bundled in sweaters, a hot-water bottle at his feet, the Frence author worked to refine his series of novels called A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past) while lying virtually flat in bedin a cork-lined room. He had all the necessities within arm’s reach–more than a dozen pens (if he dropped one, he refused to pick it up because of dust); all his notes, notebooks, and manuscripts; even fumigation powder, which he believed helped his asthma. In spite of all his precaustions, he died of pneumonia at age 51.
11. WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874-1965)
Churchill lobed to lie abed in comfort while dictating letters and going through the boxes of official state papers for several hours each morning. Although he much preferred to write his books while standing up, declining health in his later years forced him to write and correct most of The Second Warld War and A history of the English-Speaking Peoples in bed.
12. MAE WEST
The legendary sex queen with the hourglass figure was famous for her double-contender lines. She wrote several of her own screenplays, including Diamong Lil, and in 1959 she published her autobiograqphy, Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It. She did all her writing in bed, she reported, noting the “Everybody knows I do my best work in bed.”
13. MAMIE EISENHOWER (1896-19790)
While in the White House, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower did away with an office but not with the office routine. She had bedside conferences, dictated to her secretary, paid the bills, and signed letters while ensconced in her pink-ruffled bed.
14. F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (1896-1940)
During the last two years of his life, while writing The Last Tycoon, Fitzgerald found that he could work longer hours by staying in bed with a dozen Coca-Colas (which had replaced alcohol in his drinking habits), prop himself on pillows, and using a lapboard, he’d work for about five hours a day. A fatal heart attack prevented him from completing The Last Tycoon.
15. HUGH HEFNER (1926- )
It seems appropriate that a man who made his fortune in sex should have done so in bed. For 20 years, Hef has controlled the Playboy empire from a massive bed in Chicago mansion, where he has stayed awake for 60-hour stretches, fueled by amphetamines and Pepsi.