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What Pens Did/do Famous Writers Use?


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#21 dogpoet

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 12:30

I think that was one criticism he received from another author, wasn't it? "That's now writing, it's typing..."

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#22 MiamiArchStudent

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 16:56

I think I remember Hemingway and Montegrappa are somehow connected. Can anyone verify this?


I also read this somewhere, I think on fpn only. I think there was this other post on roughly the same thing.


Its also in the Montegrappa warranty books and on their website (or it used to be, I don't know since they changed the website).
What I'm looking for: Montblanc 132, 235, 422 and 432. Any help would be most appreciated.

#23 penrivers

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 22:58

I think that was one criticism he received from another author, wasn't it? "That's now writing, it's typing..."

"That's no writing, its typing"..T.Capote.
One of the aestetic rules of Kerouac was : no rewriting, no corrections. Just as it flows out of mind. Paul Bowles said that Kerouac didnt have sense of the language. I dont remember where , maybe in the Bowles interview in "the
beat writers at work" and then again I dont know why because I canot discern what is good english or not, maybe the no rewriting was a Bowles concern. Kerouac will be a classic in 800 years from now, like G. Chaucer. If not before.Greetings.

Edited by penrivers, 28 October 2010 - 21:01.


#24 Brian C

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 23:27

But if you read the On The Road scroll he did revise.

#25 dogpoet

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 23:56

A bit, but not half as heavily as the first editor he showed it to wanted him to.
Most writers have ideals that they don't always, or occasionally never, live up to. Being forced into a compromise to get published doesn't necessarily mean that these ideals are unsound. Visions Of Cody is mostly first draft material, and that's easily Kerouac's best novel.

#26 welch

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 00:37

Knowing Hemingway's love for very expensive shotguns and rifles it's hard to see him as an Esterbrook man.

In the twenties in Paris he wrote with pencils. He used to carry for them mechanical sharpeners cause with a
pocket knife you lose to much graphite and wood. Once I saw a photo of Kerouac writing with a fountain pen
I think it was a Parker 51 but I am not sure.


...and Hemingway's use of pencils and sharpeners is documented in his book about being young in Paris in the '20s, "A Moveable Feast". Proud of how little money he spent.
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#27 penrivers

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 00:39

yes, maybe it was his estetical ideal,not to edit, but accordingly wit Carolyn Cassady wife of Neal , Kerouac rewrotte a lot. He didnt even mention it directly in his 30 rules for writing. "Do as I say not as I Do" said Charlie Parker who also wrote spontaneous prose in his sax. Greetings.

#28 shaylenwilliams

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 05:48

Sylvia Plath used a black Shaeffer-


Now I know what pen I want next... :hmm1:
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#29 garnet

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 21:42

Sylvia Plath used a black Shaeffer-


Now I know what pen I want next... :hmm1:


I love my black (and gold) PFM... Ted Hughes mentions Sylvias' pen in his 'Birthday Letters' and says that she lost it!!:blink: Unfortunitly he doesn't say what model it was.:angry:
Lamy 2000 xf
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#30 trent

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 04:02

I saw a photo of Simone de Beauvoir sitting in the Cafe de Flore over a blank sheet of paper, holding, pensively, what appears to be, I swear, an Esterbrook J...The lever, the cap band, really match the Esterbrook, but, somehow, that doesn't strike me as a pen that would have been used much in Europe. Or was it? I do not know. Maybe she bought it during one of her trips to the US. You can see the photo at http://www.hotels-pa...ive-gauche.com. In the bio of Simone de Beauvoir by Claude Francis and Fernande Gontier the photo is larger and the pen is easier to see.

Edited by trent, 29 October 2010 - 04:22.


#31 Nib Joy

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Posted 29 October 2010 - 23:17

Shelby Foote used an Esterbrook dip pen, as he mentioned in his Paris Review interview.

I believe Hemingway mentioned he used pencil for drafts on onionskin, and he would be standing up while writing.

Kerouac wrote with pencil a lot, despite the typewriter myth and the no revision myth. I believe at the New York Public Library display of his works I saw a couple of years ago they mentioned he used an Eversharp mechanical pencil, and he was famous for his breast pocket notebooks. I believe some of the novels were engendered in these breast pocket notebooks, as was his "Sketchbooks," if you have seen that book, in which they maintained the line breaks from his small notebooks. They had many many pencil manuscripts at the exhibit. I think there were a few in pen as well.

W.S Merwin says he uses a Waterman. I think Gary Snyder does as well.

I noticed in a few of the Philip Roth novels I read this past summer he mentions Parker 51s. I wonder if he is a fan.

I also saw a Vladimir Nabokov display at the NYPL and they had his pen, which looked like a Montblanc 149, though he also famously used pencil to write his novels on index cards. I think he used Blackwings.

Steinbeck said he loved Blackwing pencils also, but thought they were devilishly expensive.

I think Virginia Woolf in her diary makes mention of getting a newfangled fountain pen, a Waterman?

In Woody Guthrie's "Pretty Boy Floyd," he wrote "Some will rob you with a six gun, and some with a fountain pen."

#32 DAYoung

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 00:52

Knowing Hemingway's love for very expensive shotguns and rifles it's hard to see him as an Esterbrook man.

In the twenties in Paris he wrote with pencils. He used to carry for them mechanical sharpeners cause with a
pocket knife you lose to much graphite and wood. Once I saw a photo of Kerouac writing with a fountain pen
I think it was a Parker 51 but I am not sure.


...and Hemingway's use of pencils and sharpeners is documented in his book about being young in Paris in the '20s, "A Moveable Feast". Proud of how little money he spent.


As an older man, Hemingway also used a large, gold fountain pen. He lost it in a New York hotel, and mentioned this in a letter.
Damon Young
philosopher & author
OUT NOW: The Art of Reading

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#33 penrivers

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 05:44

I saw a photo of Simone de Beauvoir sitting in the Cafe de Flore over a blank sheet of paper, holding, pensively, what appears to be, I swear, an Esterbrook J...The lever, the cap band, really match the Esterbrook, but, somehow, that doesn't strike me as a pen that would have been used much in Europe. Or was it? I do not know. Maybe she bought it during one of her trips to the US. You can see the photo at http://www.hotels-pa...ive-gauche.com. In the bio of Simone de Beauvoir by Claude Francis and Fernande Gontier the photo is larger and the pen is easier to see.

It Doesnt seem strange at all. With all my respect there should had been a lot of Esterbrooks since 1945 or possibly
it was a gift fom Mr Nelson Algren. Greetings.

#34 trent

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 06:09

I thought of the Algren connection but he strikes me as a typewriter/pencil man.
Of course, you are right, Esterbrooks probably went over with the troops. It would be interesting to know the extent of Esterbrook's penetration of the European market. I think of it as a brand more or less limited to the US, not as respected internationally as Parker.

#35 Ondina

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 11:00

I saw a photo of Simone de Beauvoir sitting in the Cafe de Flore over a blank sheet of paper, holding, pensively, what appears to be, I swear, an Esterbrook J...The lever, the cap band, really match the Esterbrook, but, somehow, that doesn't strike me as a pen that would have been used much in Europe. Or was it? I do not know. Maybe she bought it during one of her trips to the US. You can see the photo at http://www.hotels-pa...ive-gauche.com. In the bio of Simone de Beauvoir by Claude Francis and Fernande Gontier the photo is larger and the pen is easier to see.


Could you please link or post the photo? The link provided is jut to the hotel chain.

#36 Ondina

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 11:09

Posted ImagePosted ImageOf all the pictures published, she appears with a different one ech time, so they may be borrowed. Many of her originals are written in pencil, I believe. Posted Image

#37 trent

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 12:33

I saw a photo of Simone de Beauvoir sitting in the Cafe de Flore over a blank sheet of paper, holding, pensively, what appears to be, I swear, an Esterbrook J...The lever, the cap band, really match the Esterbrook, but, somehow, that doesn't strike me as a pen that would have been used much in Europe. Or was it? I do not know. Maybe she bought it during one of her trips to the US. You can see the photo at http://www.hotels-pa...ive-gauche.com. In the bio of Simone de Beauvoir by Claude Francis and Fernande Gontier the photo is larger and the pen is easier to see.


Could you please link or post the photo? The link provided is jut to the hotel chain.


Sorry, Ondina. I tried to copy and to link, but I can't get the photo. Anyway, you posted several others, and you are right, she is using a variety of pens. I didn't know about her use of pencils---have you seen some of her manuscripts? Manuscripts are fascinating, aren't they? They bring us so close to an author and her/his process.

#38 Ondina

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 14:15

Shame, I wanted to see that one. Anyhow, the couple manuscripts I got to see, very briefly and just once, were written on scattered pieces of loose leaf paper of all nature, mixing pencil, fountain pen and roller. She did use fountain pen for her personal correspondence, blue, blue-black, black. Always excusing herself for the illegible handwriting. Someone must have convinced her she did not write well, personally i find it very attractive and personal, even if not the most legible. I have no idea of the fountain pens she had, though. Posted ImagePosted Image
Posted Image

#39 trent

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 14:43

Thank you for these treasures, Ondina!
If you go to

http://www.denise-bellon.fr/

and once there to "Monde Artistique"

you will find the shot of Simone at the Cafe de Flore, 1946 among the photos of writers and artists. It is one of my favorite photos of her (besides the one by Henri Cartier-Bresson). I even keep a small xerox of it in the pocket of my Moleskine for inspiration!

Thanks again.

#40 penrivers

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 19:59

Aparently she is signing books with a dark Sheaffer snorkel.I like the book about her mother's death.






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