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Archive for July, 2002

A Week in Literary History

July 30th, 2002

English novelist Emily Brontë (Wuthering Heights, 1847) is born in Thornton, Yorkshire, in 1818.

bronteemilyportrait.pngEmily Brontë, b. July 30, 1818, d. 1848

A great one-book author, Emily Brontë originally published Wuthering Heights under the name Ellis Bell in 1847 as the first two volumes of a three-volume set, the third volume being her sister Anne’s Agnes Grey. Three years later, eldest sister Charlotte edited and published Emily’s classic under her sister’s real name, and it has enchanted (and bewitched) readers ever since.

Suggested Reading Novel Wuthering Heights, 1847.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

July 30th, 2002

Painter and art biographer Giorgio Vasari (Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, 1550-1568) is born in Arezzo, Tuscany.

vasariGiorgio Vasari, b. July 30, 1511, d. 1574

Without Vasari’s precious book, we would have scant information on a lot of magnificent artists of the Italian Renaissance. For this he is often called the first art historian, and his guidebook (really a set of brief lives) is mandatory reading for anyone interested in the most glorious period in Western art.

Suggested Reading Biographies Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, 1550-1568.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

July 30th, 2002

In 1685, English poet and playwright John Gay (The Beggar’s Opera, 1728) is born in Barnstaple, Devon.

John Gay, b. June 30, 1685, d. 1732

A pal of Swift and Pope and Sam. Johnson (and Handel), the poet John Gay is chiefly remembered today for his evergreen The Beggar’s Opera, on which Brecht later based his Threepenny Opera, with a few of its songs also borrowed from Gay’s show, which was a smash hit in its lavish London production by one John Rich. In the bon mot of the day, the show “made Rich gay and Gay rich.”

Suggested Reading Plays Acis and Galatea, 1718 (opera, music by Handel). The Beggar’s Opera, 1728. Polly, 1729.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

July 29th, 2002

Immortal American journalist and novelist Don Marquis (archy and mehitabel, 1927) is born in 1878 in Walnut, Ill.

marquis.jpgDon Marquis, b. July 29, 1878, d. 1937

An indefatigable writer of stories, poems, and plays, Marquis made his name early in the twentieth century with humorous newspaper columns in first The New York Sun and then the Herald Tribune. His place in history, however, was insured with the publication of archy and mehitabel in 1930 and its companion books in the years to follow. The stories of the cockroach author archy and his pal mehitabel, a down-at-the-heels lady cat, are as fresh today as when they were written. Be sure to get copies with the original illustrations by George Herriman.

Suggested Reading archy and mehitabel, 1930. archy s life of mehitabel, 1933. archy does his part, 1935. the lives and times of archy and mehitabel, 1943.

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A Week in Literary History

July 28th, 2002

In 1866, naturalist and children’s author Beatrix Potter (The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, 1908) is born in London.

Beatrix Potter, b. July 28, 1866, d. 1943

potterBeatrix Potter was a multi-faceted and talented scientist and conservationist who is now remembered exclusively for her series of twenty-three children’s tales, starting in 1902 with The Tale of Peter Rabbit and ending in 1930 with The Tale of Little Pig Robinson, for which she provided the laconic prose and iconic illustrations.

Suggested Reading Tales The Twenty-three Tales, 1902-1930.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

July 28th, 2002

In 1844, English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (“Pied Beauty,” 1877) is born in Stratford, Essex.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, b. July 28, 1844, d. 1889

Hopkins may or may not have invented the famous “sprung rhythm”; some readers have found it in much earlier poetry. But he certainly helped widen the rhythmic possibilities of poetry in the twentieth century. And his extravagant language and ecstatic exclamations will always remain favorites with young-hearted readers and Roman Catholics.

Suggested Reading Poetry Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Now First Published, with Notes by Robert Bridges, 1918. Complete Poems, 1947. Letters The Letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins to Robert Bridges, 1935. The Correspondence of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Richard Watson Dixon, 1935.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

July 28th, 2002

In 1844, English poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins (“God’s Grandeur," 1877) is born in Stratford.

hopkinsGerard Manley Hopkins, b. July 28, 1844, d. 1889

Hopkins may or may not have invented the famous “sprung rhythm”; some readers have found it in much earlier poetry. But he certainly helped widen the rhythmic possibilities of poetry in the twentieth century. And his extravagant language and ecstatic exclamations will always remain favorites with young readers and Roman Catholics.

Suggested Reading Poetry Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Now First Published, with Notes by Robert Bridges, 1918. Complete Poems, 1947. Letters The Letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins to Robert Bridges, 1935. The Correspondence of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Richard Watson Dixon, 1935.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

July 27th, 2002

In 1870, English writer and versifier Hilaire Belloc (Cautionary Verses, 1940) is born in Versailles.

Hilaire Belloc, b. July 27, 1870, d. 1953

Belloc was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century, an historian noted for his Catholic faith, and for a time a member of Parliament. In his lifetime he collaborated with G.K. Chesterton, among others, but his reputation was tarnished by his antisemitic views. He is best remembered today for his cautionary tales, poems with outlandish morals, ostensibly written for children, which seem likely to live forever.

Suggested Reading Poems Cautionary Verses, 1973, including Cautionary Tales for Children, New Cautionary Tales, The Bad Child’s Book of Beasts, More Beasts for Worse Children, More Peers, A Moral Alphabet, Ladies and Gentlemen. Non-fiction The Servile State, 1912. Europe and Faith, 1920. Jews, 1922.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

July 26th, 2002

English author (Brave New World, 1932) is born in 1894 in Godalming, Surrey.

Aldous Huxley, b. July 26, 1894, d. 1963

huxleyHuxley started as a novelist with intellectual relatives and ended as an apostle of hallucinogens and Eastern religions, to which he devoted the last twenty years of his writing life. His clear eye for hypocrisy and, above all, his prescience will ensure that at least his novels are read for a long time.

Suggested Reading Novels Crome Yellow, 1921. Antic Hay, 1923. Point Counter Point, 1928. Brave New World, 1932. Eyeless in Gaza, 1936. After Many a Summer, 1939. Ape and Essence, 1948. Essays Essays New and Old, 1926. Vulgarity in Literature, 1930. The Doors of Perception, 1954. Other Beyond the Mexique Bay: A Traveller’s Journey, 1934. The Devils of Loudon, 1953.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

July 26th, 2002

Irish genius and playwright George Bernard Shaw (Man and Superman, 1903) is born in Dublin, 1856. In 1925 he will win the Nobel Prize for literature.

George Bernard Shaw, b. July 26, 1856, d. 1950

shaw.pngShaw singlehandedly dragged English drama out of its Victorian doldrums and restored its tattered Shakespearean reputation. His plays shine with humor and subtlety, and in his prefaces to them, he shows himself a master of persuasive prose. For almost eighty years, this brilliant, combative Irishman bestrode the world of English letters without peer, a continual advertisement for intelligence and wit.

Suggested Reading Plays Arms and the Man, 1894. Candida, 1897. The Devil’s Disciple, 1897. Captain Brassbound’s Confession, 1900. Caesar and Cleopatra, 1901. Mrs Warren’s Profession, 1902. Man and Superman, 1903. John Bull’s Other Island, 1904. Major Barbara, 1905. The Doctor’s Dilemma, 1906. Misalliance, 1910. The Dark Lady of the Sonnets, 1910. Androcles and the Lion, 1913. Pygmalion, 1913. Heartbreak House, 1919. Back to Methuselah, 1921. Saint Joan, 1923. The Apple Cart, 1929. Too True to Be Good, 1932. Essays & Studies The Quintessence of Ibsenism, 1891. The Impossibilities of Anarchism, 1893. The Sanity of Art, 1895. The Perfect Wagnerite, 1898. Dramatic Opinions and Essays, 1906. Common Sense about the War, 1914. The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, 1928. Major Critical Essays, 1930. Music in London 1890-1894, 1930. Essays in Fabian Socialism, 1932. Pen Portraits and Reviews, 1932. London Music in 1888-1889, 1937. Autobiography Shaw Gives Himself Away, 1939. Sixteen Self Sketches, 1949. Letters Bernard Shaw and Mrs Patrick Campbell: Their Correspondence, 1952.

Posted by: The Editors
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