"I used to be a connoisseur of stories about young, doomed geniuses," says Timothy Egan at The New York Times, but the "doomed youth parables" of the F. Scott Fitgeralds and Vincent van Goghs who die "early, broke and crushed," no longer move me. "I now look to the late bloomer, somebody who kicks around in frustration and misdirection for decades before going on a brilliant late-innings streak." Take one of our greatest filmmakers: After directing his first movie at age 62, Clint Eastwood, now 80, is the "king of geriatric film genius"; and as much as you might love John Huston's early work, such as The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of Sierra Madre, you'll be blown away by "the last film of his life, an adaptation of the James Joyce story The Dead." It makes you wonder, when does human creativity peak? Here, an excerpt:
"Writers are a tough call. For every J.D. Salinger, who published The Catcher in the Rye when he was 32, there is a Mark Twain, who brought out The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn at 49. Huck Finn, Hemingway said, is the foundation for all modern American fiction, and I agree. ...
My favorite septuagenarian inspiration is Norman Maclean, who published the most beautiful, word-perfect novel of the American West, A River Runs Through It, when he was 74. And then he had a second book in him, Young Men and Fire, published after his death at 87. Old, seemingly doomed, and brilliant — a role model for all second-act aces."
Read the full article at The New York Times.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- Israel has only two choices: Eliminate the Palestinians or make peace
- 9 things you probably didn't know about the moon
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What if The Purge was real?
- Why I choose not to be rich
- 29 adorable slang terms for sex (from the last 600 years)
- Here's the last time Russia shot down a passenger plane
Subscribe to the Week