Not many people came to play. But for those who tried, and I thank you, here are the answers, along with an explanation of some of the clues that were hidden in the questions.
1. When Charles Dickens walked into a bar and ordered a martini, the barmaid replied, "Oliver Twist?"
An easy one, right?
2. On the voyage out, Vita asked Virginia just where the magical kingdom she was so certain existed might be. "Well, my dear, have you not heard of Orlando?"
Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf were both married, but had their own special relationship and according to Vita's son, George Nicholson, Woolf's novel Orlando was a love letter to his mother. The character Orlando lives for 400 years but never gets older than 36, and, changes sex during the narrative! And, of course we have our own magic kingdom in Orlando, Florida. Also, The Voyage Out was Woolf's first published novel.
3. Ernest asked the guide, once again,for the directions to Kilimanjaro. "Get a grip, Mr. Hemingway. When the sun rises, we'll go Across the River and Into the Trees."
Bad reviews for that title. The Snows of Kilimanjaro, a short story, and The Sun Also Rises were just thrown in for titillation. Rumor has it that Hemingway was confessing about his impotency in The Sun Also Rises, and that is why I threw in the phrase, "get a grip, Mr. Hemingway."
4. Samuel Beckett was surprised how much he liked the disco and decided to stay, waiting for Krapp's Last Tape.
Did some of you simply put in the word "Godot?" Rules had it that the answers had to be full titles. Sorry.
5. Gertrude was not amused when several professional football players auditioned for Four Saints in Three Acts.
I sometimes get mixed up in remembering if the Saints are a football team or a basketball team. At any rate, Gertrude Stein wrote the libretto for the opera Four Saints in Three Acts, music by Virgil Thompson. I do not think this opera is performed often, but do know the Houston Opera revived it a few years ago.
6. At his neighborhood local, Kingsley's friend slurred a warning: "You can't do both you know --drink heavily, write productively. You old devil, Kingsley replied, by the way, How's Your Glass?"
My favorite book by Kingsley Amis is Lucky Jim, a scathing, humorous look at academia. The old devil phrase in the question is a hint about his Booker prize novel The Old Devils. He might have been quite the boozer, however, since he wrote three non-fiction titles about drinking: On Drink; Everyday Drinking; and How's Your Glass?
7. Mark Twain wrote to a friend that "the report of my death was an exaggeration." Twain wondered how many people were now asking "Is He Living or is He Dead?"
This short story by Twain takes place in France and makes fun of the fact that many artists gain fame and fortune after they are dead. Francois Millet and three friends fake his impending death in order to sell his paintings, which he is turning out by the barrel full as his friends flog them to unsuspecting customers.
8. The croupier was frustrated by Monsieur Beyle's betting habits, but finally learned to ask, The Red and the Black?"
Marie-Henri Beyle's pen name was Stendhal, of course, but I have no idea if he ever played roulette.
9. A rose is a rose is a rose. Sounds like an echo to me. Are you certain it is not The Name of the Rose?"
This is another groaner. Tried to throw you off by quoting Gertrude Stein, but then thought I would give you an internal hint about the author, Umberto Eco.
10. John Keats was bored by the baseball game until the 9th inning when Chapman, the center-fielder, saved the day for the Yankees. On Looking Into Chapman's Homer, Keats decided that a thing of beauty was a joy forever.
All right, another groaner, but did you get the quote from Endymion?
As my partner yelled at me when I read him a few of these: "That's unfair." But it was fun to do, and for the few who cared enough to take a look, thank you. And good reading.