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Archive for June, 2002

A Week in Literary History

June 19th, 2002

In 1947, British-Indian novelist Salman Rushdie (Midnight’s Children, 1981) is born in Bombay.

Salman Rushdie, b. June 19, 1947

rushdiecolor2011.JPGRushdie had already established his reputation with his second novel, Midnight’s Children, when he published The Satanic Verses in 1988 and immediately became an international cause célèbre because of the death sentence imposed on him by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Now in his sixties, he continues to write novels and is working on an autobiography.

Suggested Reading Novels Midnight’s Children, 1981. Shame, 1983. The Satanic Verses, 1988. Haroun and the Sea of Stories, 1990. The Moor’s Last Sigh, 1995. Shalimar the Clown, 2005. Luke and the Fire of Life, 2010. Stories East, West, 1994. Non-fiction The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey, 1987. Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism, 1981-1991, 1992. The Ground Beneath Her Feet, 1999. Step Across This Line, 2002.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

June 19th, 2002

American editor and author Elbert Hubbard (the Little Journey books) is born in 1856 in Bloomington, Ind.

Elbert Hubbard, b. June 19, 1856, d. 1915

hubbard.jpgMr. Hubbard carved out a nice living for himself as a guide to the great artists, composers, and philosophers of history. In a long series of “little guides,” he provided quirky, sharply written profiles of everyone from Michelangelo to Beethoven and Socrates. Although accused by some of being a literary charlatan, he set a whole generation to reading with his magazines and guides. But his lasting fame will be guaranteed by his own brilliant philsophical statement, the profoundest and most comprehensive ever uttered, which he included in his book A Thousand and One Epigrams: “Life is just one damned thing after another.”

Suggested reading Anything you can find.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

June 19th, 2002

In 1919, American film critic Pauline Kael (I Lost It at the Movies, 1965) is born in Petaluma, Calif.

Pauline Kael, b. June 19, 1919, d. 2001

kael.pngIt’s about time we raised a toast to the most influential (and perhaps the best) film critic of all time, who made or broke reputations for all of her twenty-four years at The New Yorker. Her books repay re-reading in these days of debased filmmaking, if only to remember cinema’s golden days.

Suggested Reading Books I Lost It at the Movies, 1965. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, 1968. Going Steady, 1969. Deeper into Movies, 1973. Reeling, 1976. When the Lights Go Down, 1980. 5001 Nights at the Movies, 1982. Taking It All In, 1984. State of the Art, 1987. Movie Love, 1991. Raising Kane and Other Essays, 1996.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

June 17th, 2002

American novelist John Hersey (Hiroshima, 1946) is born in Tientsin, China in 1914.

John Hersey, b. June 17, 1914, d. 1993

Hersey had already won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel A Bell for Adano before he published his remarkable book Hiroshima, printed in its entirety in a special issue of The New Yorker only a year after the bombs had fallen. He then went on to enjoy a career as a novelist and journalist; his novels of war and the Far East were among his best.

Suggested Reading Novels A Bell for Adano, 1944. A Single Pebble, 1956. The War Lover, 1959. The Child Buyer 1960. White Lotus, 1965. Other Hiroshima, 1946.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

June 16th, 2002

Super-prolific American novelist Joyce Carol Oates (them, 1969) is born in Lockport, N.Y. in 1938.

oatesJoyce Carol Oates, b. June 16, 1938

For the past twenty-five years, having won every other award, Oates has also been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize. She thinks she will be chiefly remembered for two novels, them and Blonde, but all of her 40 novels, 8 novellas, and several dozen books of short stories are of a piece: strongly written, gripping, and deeply imagined. She will probably not be equalled again in her output, which also includes 14 plays, 9 books for children, 10 books of poetry, and 16 books of essays and memoirs.

Suggested Reading Novels them, 1969. Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart, 1990. Blonde, 2000. Non-fiction The Profane Art: Essays & Reviews, 1983. On Boxing, 1987. George Bellows: American Artist, 1995. Where I’vc Been, And Where I’m Going: Essays, Reviews, and Prose, 1999. A Widow’s Story: A Memoir, 2011.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

June 16th, 2002

Super-prolific American novelist Joyce Carol Oates (them, 1969) is born in Lockport, N.Y. in 1938.

oatesJoyce Carol Oates, b. June 16, 1938

For the past twenty-five years, having won every other award, Oates has also been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize. She thinks she will be chiefly remembered for two novels, them and Blonde, but all of her 40 novels, 8 novellas, and several dozen books of short stories are of a piece: strongly written, gripping, and deeply imagined. She will probably not be equalled again in her output, which also includes 14 plays, 9 books for children, 10 books of poetry, and 16 books of essays and memoirs.

Suggested Reading Novels them, 1969. Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart, 1990. Blonde, 2000. Non-fiction The Profane Art: Essays & Reviews, 1983. On Boxing, 1987. George Bellows: American Artist, 1995. Where I’vc Been, And Where I’m Going: Essays, Reviews, and Prose, 1999. A Widow’s Story: A Memoir, 2011.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

June 14th, 2002

In 1941, American novelist John Edgar Wideman (Philadelphia Fire, 1990) is born in Washington, D.C.

John Edgar Wideman, b. June 14, 1941

The author of 10 novels, some of them prestigious prize-winners, Wideman has also published 5 volumes of short stories and 5 superb books of memoirs. An All-Ivy League basketball star, Rhodes Scholar, and MacArthur genius, he is one of America’s most talented and distingtuished writers.

Suggested Reading Novels Hiding Place, 1981. Sent For You Yesterday, 1983. Reuben, 1987. Philadelphia Fire, 1990. The Cattle Killing, 1996. Two Cities, 1998. Fanon, 2008. Short stories Damballah, 1981. Fever, 1989. God’s Gym, 2005. Briefs, 2010. Memoirs & other Brothers and Keepers, 1984. Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers and Sons, Race and Society, 1994. Hoop Roots: Basketball, Race, and Love, 2001.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

June 14th, 2002

English novelist and travel writer Colin Thubron (Among the Russians, 1983) is born in London in 1939.

thubron.pngColin Thubron, b. June 14, 1939

Thubron is the ideal travel writer: observant, sympathetic, and always seeking the larger meaning of the lands he explores. His clear and evocative prose never stands in the way of the landscape or the characters he finds awaiting him, and his novels, underrated, are models of quiet sensitivity.

Travel & Non-fiction Mirror to Damascus, 1967. The Hills of Adonis: A Quest in Lebanon, 1968. Jerusalem, 1969. Journey into Cyprus, 1975. The God in the Mountain, 1977. The Venetians, 1980. The Ancient Mariners, 1981. The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, 1982. Among the Russians, 1983. Behind the Wall: A Journey through China, 1987. The Silk Road: Beyond the Celestial Kingdom, 1989. The Lost Heart of Asia, 1994. In Siberia, 199. Shadows of the Silk Road, 2006. Novels Emperor, 1978. A Cruel Madness, 1984. Falling, 1989. Turning Back the Sun, 1991. Distance, 1996. To the Last City, 2002.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

June 13th, 2002

English scholar and mystery novelist Dorothy L. Sayers, creator of Lord Peter Wimsey, is born in Oxford in 1893.

Dorothy L. Sayers, b. June 13, 1893, d. 1957

sayersSayers was the best of her breed, even if we add all the mystery writers of the U.S. and France to her fellow British writers. Her crime novels, many of them featuring the redoubtable Lord Peter Wimsey, are enlivened by a keen intelligence, no end of learning, and a great sense of humor. In addition to her detective fiction and plays, she also translated Dante and published a dozen collections of essays and non-fiction on a number of subjects. Irreplaceable.

Suggested Reading Novels The Lord Peter Wimsey books, 1923-1939. Plays Busman’s Honeymoon, 1935. The Man Born to be King, 1941.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

June 13th, 2002

In 1865, Irish playwright and poet William Butler Yeats (The Tower, 1928) is born in Sandymount, Dublin.

William Butler Yeats, b. June 13, 1865, d. 1939

yeatsphotoyoung.pngThe great poet was also an influential playwright, theater manager, and champion of Irish culture, and he has the unusual distinction of having produced some of his best work (The Tower) after receiving the Nobel Prize, which he was awarded in 1923.

Suggested Reading Poetry The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems, 1889. The Countess Kathleen and Various Legends and Lyrics, 1892. The Wind Among the Reeds, 1899. The Green Helmet and Other Poems, 1916. The Wild Swans at Coole, 1919. A Vision, 1925. The Tower, 1928. The Winding Stair and Other Poems, 1933. Plays Collected Plays, 1934. Autobiography Autobiographies of William Butler Yeats, 1926. Autobiography, 1938.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

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