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Black Lamb


Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.


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Honorary Black Lambs

April 1st, 2007


Here, as always in this space, are new entries in what will become, later this year, The Ultimate Literary Calendar. We hope you find the following mini-guides with suggested bibliographies useful introductions to these two important figures from the world of books.

John Braine, b. April 13, 1922, d. 1987

braine.pngAlmost forgotten now, Braine became well-known in England during the Fifties when his first novel, Room at the Top, was made into an acclaimed movie starring Laurence Harvey and Simone Signoret. But this novel and many of those Braine wrote later repay rereading for their taut story lines and penetrating psychological portraits.

Suggested Reading Novels Room at the Top, 1957. The Vodi, 1959. Life at the Top, 1962. The Jealous God, 1964. Waiting for Sheila, 1976. The Two of Us, 1984.

mortimerjohn.jpgJohn Mortimer, b. April 21, 1923

Mortimer is celebrated for his creation of Horace Rumpole, the imperturbable barrister, and his wife Hilda, always referred to as She Who Must Be Obeyed. But he is also the writer of many other novels and plays, many of them superb. Our favorites are the Rapstone Chronicles, a trilogy of novels listed below after Rumpole, the autobiography Clinging to the Wreckage, the remarkable play A Voyage Round My Father, and two enchanting books of interviews with famous people (from Grahame Greene and Georges Simenon to Mick Jagger and Raquel Welch), In Character and Character Parts.

Suggested Reading Novels & novellas Charade, 1947. The Rumpole Series (19 books), beginning with Rumpole of the Bailey, 1978, through Rumpole and the Reign of Terror, 2006. Paradise Postponed, 1985. Titmuss Regained, 1990. The Sound of Trumpets, 1998. Plays A Voyage Round My Father, 1971. Edwin and Other Plays, 1984. Non-fiction Clinging to the Wreckage, 1982. The Oxford Book of Villains, 1992. Murderers and Other Friends: Another Part of Life, 1994. The Summer of the Dormouse: A Year of Growing Old. Interviews In Character, 1983. Character Parts, 1986.

other april birthdays and events of note 1st French gourmet Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), Russian pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), and Czech novelist Milan Kundera (b. 1929). 2nd Italian adventurer/writer Giovanni Jacopo Casanova (1725-1798), Danish fairy-tale writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), French novelist Emile Zola (1840-1902), and Flashman creator George MadDonald Fraser (b. 1925). 3rd English metaphysical poet George Herbert (1593-1633) and American tale-teller Washington Irving (1783-1859). 4th French novelist Marguerite Duras (1914-1996). 5th English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), British poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) and American educator Booker T. Washington (1856-1915). 6th Italian painter Raffaello Sanzio, known as Raphael (1483-1520) and American journalist Lincoln Steffens (1866-1936); Petrarch, aged twenty-two in 1327, sees Laura for the first time. 7th English poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850), jazz singer Billie Holiday (1915-1959), and American fictioneer Donald Barthelme (1931-1989); Samuel Johnson says, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” in London in 1770. 8th Lyricist Yip Harburg (1898-1981) and jazz singer Carmen McRae (1920-1994). 9th French poet Charles-Pierre Baudelaire (1821-1867). 10th English essayist William Hazlitt (1778-1830) and American travel writer Paul Theroux (b. 1941). 11th English poet Christopher Smart (1722-1771) and Yiddishist Leo Rosten (1908-1997). 12th English playwright Alan Ayckbourn (b. 1939). 13th American President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Irish Nobel playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), American writer Eudora Welty (1909-2001), American composer and pianist Frederic Rzewski (b. 1938), and Irish Nobel poet Seamus Heaney (b. 1939). 14th English historian Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975). 15th Italian genius Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), American novelist Henry James (1843-1916), and food writer Waverly Root (1903-1982). 16th French novelist Anatole France (1844-1924), Irish playwright John Millington Synge (1871-1909), and British novelist Kingsley Amis (1922-1995). 17th Greek poet C.P. Cavafy (1863-1933), Baroness Karen Blixen-Finecke a k a Danish writer Isak Dinesen (1885-1962), and American playwright Thorton Wilder (1897-1975). 18th Literary husband (of George Eliot) George Henry Lewes (1817-1878). 19th Lord Byron dies at thirty-six in 1824 of malarial fever in Missolonghi. 20th Spanish painter Joan Miró (1893-1983). 21st English novelist Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855); Mark Twain dies in 1910 at the reappearance of Halley’s Comet, which had last been visible the year he was born. 22nd English novelist Henry Fielding (1707-1754) and Russian-American author Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977); English poet Rupert Brooke dies in Greece in 1915 at the age of twenty-seven. 23rd William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English artist Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), Icelandic Nobel novelist Halldor Laxness (1902-1998), and American novelist J.P. Donleavy (b. 1926); Cervantes and Shakespeare die on the same day in 1616. 24th English novelist Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) and American novelist and poet Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989). 25th Jazz nightingale Ella Fitzgerald (1918-1996). 26th Roman philsopher and emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180), Scottish philsopher David Hume (1711-1776), French-Caribbean artist John James Audubon (1785-1851), French painter Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), brunette writer Anita Loos (1893-1981), and American novelist and short story writer Bernard Malamud (1914-1986). 29th Yellow journalist William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) and jazz royalty Duke Ellington (1899-1974). 30th American poet John Crowe Ransom (1888-1974). •

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Books and Authors, Honorary Black Lambs | Link to this Entry


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