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Archive for October, 2002

A Week in Literary History

October 31st, 2002

Future writer, gardener, and diarist John Evelyn (Diary, 1706) is born in Wotton, Surrey in 1620.

evelynbyrobertwalker1648John Evelyn, b. October 31, 1620, d. 1706

Evelyn’s famous Diary has been somewhat overshadowed by the more sensational one covering much the same period by Samuel Pepys, but it demonstrates bits of expertise in several fields, including art and the cultivation of trees, that were beyond his contemporary. His Diary is mandatory reading for students of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell and the Great Plague and Fire of London.

Suggested Reading Diary Evelyn’s Diary: 1641-1705, first published 1818.

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

A Week in Literary History

October 30th, 2002

Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan (The Rivals, 1775), is born in 1751 in Dublin.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan, b. October 30, 1751, d. 1816

sheridancolor.jpgIn addition to writing plays, Sheridan was the long-term owner of London’s Theatre Royal in Drury Lane and served for thirty-two years in the House of Commons. He was thought so highly of by his contemporaries that at his death he was buried in Westminster Abbey’s Poets’ Corner. Two of his plays, The School for Scandal and his first, The Rivals, have been continuously performed since the eighteenth century, and the character Mrs Malaprop in The Rivals has taken her place as one of the unforgettable personages of the stage.

Suggested Reading Drama The Rivals, 1775. The School for Scandal, 1777. The Critic, 1779.

Posted by: The Editors
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Last Week in Literary History

October 30th, 2002

In 1885, American poet Ezra Pound (The Cantos, 1917-69) is born in Hailey, Idaho.

Ezra Pound, b. October 30, 1885, d. 1972

It’s not unfair to say that Pound is remembered for encouraging the literary contributions of his friends rather than for his own literary output. His poems are not much read now, but he made possible many a poem and book by his devotion to writing and help to fellow writers. Gertrude Stein famously said of him, “He was a village explainer, excellent if you were a village, but if you were not, not,” perhaps foreseeing Pound’s later turn to outspoken fascism and anti-Semitism.

Suggested Reading Poetry Hugh Selwyn Mauberley. The Cantos, 1917-1969.

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

A Week in Literary History

October 29th, 2002

English novelist Henry Green (Loving, 1945) is born Henry Vincent Yorke near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

Henry Green, b. October 29, 1905, d. 1973

greenhenry.jpgNo less a writer than Graham Greene called Henry Vincent Yorke, who published his novels as Henry Green, the finest English novelist of his generation. Green’s gentle but stylistically innovative books were issued to little fanfare during his lifetime, but they have found a new readership in recent years and are all again in print. Loving is the most famous, but equally fascinating and satisfying are Living, Party Going, and Concluding.

Suggested Reading Novels Blindness, 1926. Living, 1929. Party Going, 1939. Caught, 1943. Loving, 1945. Back, 1946. Concluding, 1948. Nothing, 1950. Doting, 1952. Memoir Pack My Bag, 1940.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

October 29th, 2002

Scottish biographer James Boswell (The Life of Samuel Johnson, L.L.D., 1791) is born in Edinburgh in 1740.

James Boswell, b. October 29, 1740, d. 1795

In his biography of the incomparable Samuel Johnson, Boswell virtually created a new form and also brought to life one of the most vivid men of his time. The discovery in the 1920s of a cache of his private papers led to the publication of a dozen books of diaries and letters, which taken collectively give us our best view and understanding of the eighteenth century in England.

Suggested Reading Works Account of Corsica, 1768. The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, 1785. Life of Samuel Johnson, 1791. Journals 12 volumes, from Boswell’s London Journal, 1762-63 to Boswell: The Great Biographer, 1789-93.

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

A Week in Literary History

October 28th, 2002

In 1903, English novelist Evelyn Waugh (A Handful of Dust, 1934) is born in Hampstead.

Arthur St. John (Evelyn) Waugh, b. October 28, 1903, d. 1966

waughevelynat56.pngWaugh first achieved fame as a deliciously wicked satirical novelist, but he also wrote beautifully in his more serious works, such as Brideshead and his Sword of Honour trilogy. Also not to be missed are his seven travel books, now all again in print.

Suggested Reading Novels Decline and Fall, 1928. Vile Bodies, 1930. Black Mischief, 1932. A Handful of Dust, 1934. Scoop, 1938. Put Out More Flags, 1952. The Sword of Honour World War II trilogy: Men at Arms, 1952, Officers and Gentlemen, 1955, and Unconditional Surrender, 1961. Brideshead Revisited, 1945. The Loved One, 1948. The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, 1957. Stories Mr. Loveday’s Outing and Other Sad Stories, 1936. Love Among the Ruins, 1953. Tactical Exercise, 1954. Travel Labels, A Mediterranean Journal, 1930. Remote People, 1932. Ninety-Two Days, The Account of a Tropical Journey Through British Guiana and Part of Brazil, 1934. Waugh in Abyssinia, 1936. Robbery Under Law: The Mexican Object-Lesson, 1939. The Holy Places, 1953. A Tourist in Africa, 1960. Biography Rossetti: His Life and Works, 1928. Edmund Campion, 1935. The Life of the Right Reverend Ronald Knox, 1959. Autobiography and Other A Little Learning, 1964. The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, 1976. A Little Order, 1977. The Letters of Evelyn Waugh, 1980. The Essays, Articles and Reviews of Evelyn Waugh, 1980.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

October 27th, 2002

In 1914, Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (Portrait of the Artist As a Young Dog, 1940) is born in Swansea.

Dylan Thomas, b. October 27, 1914, d. 1953

thomasdylan&caitlin*Thomas became a celebrity because of his wildly popular public readings in the U.S. A prototype of the wildly lyric, hard-drinking, philandering artist, he was nevertheless a superb craftsman and an extremely gifted poet. Contrary to the sensational story, he did not die as a direct result of drinking eighteen whiskies at a New York bar, but rather as a result of bronchitis and pneumonia that caused a fatal swelling of his brain.

Suggested Reading Poetry 18 Poems, 1934. Twenty-five Poems, 1936. Deaths and Entrances, 1946. Collected Poems 1934-1952, 1952. Prose works Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, 1940. Adventures in the Skin Trade, 1953. A Child’s Christmas in Wales, 1954. Drama Under Milk Wood, 1954.

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

A Week in Literary History

October 27th, 2002

American poet Sylvia Plath (Ariel, 1965) is born in Boston in 1932.

plath.pngSylvia Plath, b. October 27, 1932, d. 1963

We’ll never know what Sylvia Plath might have accomplished had she been able to put aside her demons. She was writing the best poetry of her life just before she died, and her novel The Bell Jar is a small classic.

Suggested Reading Poetry The Colossus and Other Poems, 1960. Ariel, 1965. Plath:Poems, 1998. Prose The Bell Jar, 1963. The Journals of Sylvia Plath, 1982.

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

A Week in Literary History

October 27th, 2002

In 1795, English poet John Keats (Endymion, 1818) is born in Finsbury Pavement.

keatsdrawing2.pngJohn Keats, b. October 31, 1795, d. 1821

Keats died so young that he was able to produce only a small amount of poetry, none of it appreciated much in his lifetime. In fact it is said the savage reviews of Endymion precipitated his death. The poems he did write, however, have taken their place among the finest in the English language.

Suggested Reading Poetry Poems, 1816. Endymion, 1818.

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

A Week in Literary History

October 25th, 2002

English novelist Zadie Smith (White Teeth, 2000) is born Sadie Smith in London in 1975.

Zadie Smith, b. October 25, 1975

Smith has emerged during the past decade, since her powerful and clever debut with White Teeth in 2000, as one of England’s best novelists. Although very much a “literary” writer, she is a master of every sort of language, from the refined to the most proletarian. Her opinions on writing and literature are deep, challenging, and refreshing. She’s the most brilliant young writer to have come along in many a year.

Suggested Reading Novels White Teeth, 2000. The Autograph Man, 2002. On Beauty, 2005. NW, 2012. Essays Changing My Mind, 2009. Other The Book of Other People, 2007.

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

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