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Thread: Today In Literature

  1. #1
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    Today In Literature

    Today is the sixtieth aniversary of the Dresden bombing. As a result, it (along with Kurt Vonnegut) is the focus of today's story at todayinliterature.com.

    I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with this site but if not, you should check it out. You don't have to be a member to read the daily feature, but you DO have to be a member to search the archives.
    Last edited by R. Schmidt; 02-13-2005 at 03:09 PM.

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    Well why don't you give us the benefit of reading it in the forum, by posting the daily event in the literature history?
    I, my self, would really appriciate that.

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    in a blue moon amuse's Avatar
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    On the evening of this day in 1945, British and U.S. air forces began the 48-hour bombing of Dresden, Germany. Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five is the most famous fictional record of what resulted -- a firestorm that destroyed 85% of the "Florence by the Elbe" and killed upwards of 135,000 people, most of them civilians and POWs. Vonnegut and fellow-POWs hid in an underground cold storage room of the slaughterhouse where they were quartered. Their old job had been to make a vitamin supplement for pregnant women; their new one was to dig up whatever corpses they could find, from shelters that "looked like a streetcar full of people who'd simultaneously had heart failure. Just people sitting in chairs, all dead."

    Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade was published in 1969, Vonnegut saying that it took him twenty-five years to be able to face or articulate his experience. It came out to Woodstock and the My Lai massacre, and it became an instant popular classic, many looking to Billy Pilgrim or Vonnegut for some perspective on the times:

    Robert Kennedy, whose summer home is eight miles from the home I live in all year round, was shot two nights ago. He died last night. So it goes.
    Martin Luther King was shot a month ago. He died, too. So it goes.
    And every day my Government gives me a count of corpses created by military science in Vietnam. So it goes.
    My father died many years ago now -- of natural causes. So it goes. He was a sweet man. He was a gun nut, too. He left me his guns. They rust.
    At the beginning of a 1990 speech delivered at the National Air and Space Museum, Vonnegut said that the only person to clearly benefit from the Dresden bombing was him: "I got about five dollars for each corpse, counting my fee tonight." The rest of the speech then took up the crusade again, and "an assertion by that A-plus student, the heavy thinker George Will, that I trivialized the Holocaust with my novel Slaughterhouse-Five." It reiterated Vonnegut's view that the Dresden bombing was not militarily significant but "a work of art": "It was religious. It was Wagnerian. It was theatrical. It should be judged as such." When the speech was published in Fates Worse Than Death (1991), Vonnegut included this revised perspective in the preface:

    The Russian Empire has collapsed. All the weapons we thought we might have to use on the USSR we are now applying without stint and unopposed to Iraq, a nation one-sixteenth that populous. A speech our President delivered yesterday on the subject of why he had no choice but to attack Iraq won him the highest rating in television history, a record held many years ago, I remember, by Mary Martin in Peter Pan. . . ."
    Several months ago, at eighty -- "I'm mad about being old and I'm mad about being American" -- Vonnegut spoke again, and again about Iraq, to the anti-war rally in New York's Central Park.
    from: http://todayinliterature.com/today.a...Date=2/13/2005
    shh!!!
    the air and water have been here a long time, and they are telling stories.

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    It is a wonderful world we live in. Humans slaughtering humans.......so it goes.....

    *nod to Vonnegut*

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    Here's an interesting piece on Thomas Gray. "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" was published on this day in 1751.

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    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    May 19th

    On this day in 1795 James Boswell died, aged fifty-four. Even without his two-decade relationship to Samuel Johnson and the famous books which came from it, Boswell would have a secure place in literary history. This is due to the remarkable stash of journals, letters and personal papers which he kept, and which friends, relatives and negligence kept from the world for over a century.


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    May 20

    On this day in 1937 W. H. Auden's Spain was published in England; the proceeds from sales of this pamphlet-length poem went to the Spanish Medical Aid Committee, one of a number of international organizations supporting the anti-Franco cause, and a group which Auden had tried to join as an ambulance driver in Spain just months earlier. One who would have had need of such aid was George Orwell: also on this day in 1937, and also in Spain while fighting for the Republican cause, George Orwell was shot in the throat in front-line fighting.

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    May 21

    Alexander Pope as Hedgehog and Monkey

    On this day in 1688 Alexander Pope was born in London, the only child of middle-aged, Catholic parents. His religion barred him from politics, or from attending university for a professional career, and his teenage tuberculosis made him a hunchback no more than 4' 6" tall. Many biographers portray him as an outsider and attribute his penchant for satire to such a convergence of circumstances. MORE


    Bust of Alexander Pope from the Leeds City Art Galleries.
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    May 22nd

    Langston Hughes In His Place

    On this day in 1967 Langston Hughes died, aged sixty-five. Hughes was one of the most influential and respected of Black American voices in the middle decades of the century, writing prolifically in many genres, and almost exclusively on racial themes. He lived on East 127th Street in Harlem; today his block is "Langston Hughes Place." FULL STORY
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    May 23rd

    On this day in 1910 Margaret Wise Brown was born. Her over one hundred children's books – these include the classics The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon – reflect the influence of Lucy Sprague Mitchell's "here-and-now" approach to children's literature; her eccentric and enjoyable personality seems all her own making. FULL STORY
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    May 24

    The Sad Café of Carson McCullers

    On this day in 1951 Carson McCullers's The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Works was published. Included in this omnibus edition were most of the pieces upon which her reputation now stands, and the critics used the occasion to confirm McCullers as one of America's most important contemporary writers, one who gave her regional settings and characters "their Homeric moment in a universal tragedy.
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    May 25th

    On this day in 1938 Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, the family moving three years later to Yakima, Washington. Carver's biographical essay, "My Father's Life," tells about his upbringing what his highly-acclaimed stories tell about others: the grind of poverty, the ruin of alcohol, the endless threat of breakdown and break-up, the resolve of those who keep going when their only sure direction is down. FULL STORY
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    May 26th

    On this day in 1891, Edith Wharton's first published story, "Mrs. Manstey's View," was accepted by Scribner's Magazine. Wharton was twenty-nine years old, brought up in wealth and high society, and recently married to a prominent banker; she was as opposite to her destitute heroine as she was to being a struggling young writer, and her first story throws the write-about-what-you-know rule out the window.
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  14. #14
    in a blue moon amuse's Avatar
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    i' recommend the only one of her novels that i've read: The House of Mirth. enjoyed it. beautifully simple and tragic.
    shh!!!
    the air and water have been here a long time, and they are telling stories.

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    May 30th

    On this day in 1960 Boris Pasternak died, at the age of seventy. Pasternak's last years were dominated by the publicity and persecution which attended the publication of Doctor Zhivago. The Soviet line, communicated by quiet threat and noisy rhetoric, was that Pasternak and his novel were anti-communist; but he was also the subject of contempt from many of his peers, who believed that he acted cowardly in his complacency toward the Soviet regime. FULL STORY
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