Flavorwire once did a post (found here) about famous literary figures and their weird habits. I'm putting down some of the best 19th and early-20th century ones here, and adding a few of my own:
1.) Anton Chekov had a pet mongoose.
2.) "D.H. Lawrence found it stimulating to climb mulberry trees in the nude". Specifically mulberry trees, specifically in the nude.
3.) Immanuel Kant "required an assistant to get out of bed each morning because he couldn’t sleep unless comprehensively mummified in blankets."
4.) Charles Dickens liked pets. Lots and lots of pets. He had: "two ravens, two St. Bernards, two Newfoundlands, a spaniel, a mastiff, a Pomeranian, a cat, a canary, and a pony. Their names, respectively, were Grip I, Grip II, Sultan, Linda, Don, Bumble, Timber, Turk, Mrs. Bouncer, Williamina, Dick, and Newman Noggs. Dickens had Grip I mounted after it died from eating lead paint"
5.) Anthony Trollope was obsessed with foxhunting. He was so obsessed with it that nearly everything he wrote had a foxhunt in it, whether the story merited one or not.
6.) Henrik Ibsen used to keep a painting of his arch-enemy, August Strindberg, on his study wall looking directly over him as he wrote. Seeing this man's face used to motivate him to do good work.
7.) William Faulkner used to binge drink and binge write. He'd spend several months writing a new work and when he was finished, he'd "celebrate" for several months in a state of constant inebriation. Then he'd come out of it and start writing again. Only, one he finished writing a book, he never re-read it. So when he was asked to teach a class about his work at the University of Virginia (the department thought it would be great–Faulkner teaching Faulkner), his students knew far more about his work than he did. He didn't remember vast swathes of what he wrote, confused his plots and mixed up characters. The course was a disaster.
8.) Victor Hugo suffered from writer's block when composing Les Miserables. He ordered his servant to take all his clothing away, leaving him naked inside his house. He had nothing to do but stay inside and write.
9.) We get two for Victor Hugo (although some attribute this habit to Balzac). He couldn't write unless he was constantly fueled on coffee, even though it didn't agree with his stomach. Despite causing him severe gastronomic distress, he would drink 40-60 cups per day.
10.) As we had discussed previously on this blog, Lewis Carroll got inspired to write his Alice in Wonderland books while photographing naked young girls.
11.) Jane Austen wrote on a ridiculous tiny desk she called her "writing box". She mostly wrote on teeny slips of paper, later assembling these slips into little booklets.
12.) Jeremy Bentham requested that after his death he be dissected, stuffed and put in one of his best suits. He is still on display at University College London, and–if the rumors are true–is wheeled out on occasion to sit at the table for the annual Bentham Dinner or for the annual Board of Directors Meeting (although I believe this latter practice has stopped).