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Thread: Today In Literature

  1. #46
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    July 6

    On this day in 1535, Sir Thomas More was beheaded, his punishment for refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII as head of the Church of England, and husband of as many as he pleased. More's last letter, written in charcoal from the Tower on the eve of his execution, praises his daughter Margaret for showing the authorities that she too "hath no leisure to look to worldly courtesy." . . .
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  2. #47
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    July 7

    On this day the running of the bulls begins in Pamplona, on the first morning of the nine-day Feast of San Fermin. Hemingway first went eighty years ago, as a twenty-three-year-old still filing stories for the Toronto Star: "Then they came in sight. Eight bulls galloping along, full tilt, heavy set, black, glistening, sinister, their horns bare, tossing their heads ...."
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  3. #48
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    July 10

    Oh my, am I not a bit late

    On this day in 1873 Paul Verlaine shot Arthur Rimbaud in a Brussels hotel, wounding him in the wrist. Although not yet two years old, their relationship was in such sexual, emotional, financial and absinthe confusion that no specific motive seems relevant, but the Belgian courts were determined to convict Verlaine of assault, and gave him the maximum two-year sentence. ...
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  4. #49
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    July 11

    On this day in 1818, John Keats visited Robert Burns's first home in Alloway, and wrote his sonnet, "Written in the Cottage Where Burns Was Born." Keats was twenty-two years old, barely published, and on a summer-long walking tour of the North Country -- twenty or thirty rugged miles a day and "No supper but Eggs and Oat cake," which corrects the wan-and-weary side of the Keats myth. . . .
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  5. #50
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    July 12

    On this day in 1904, Pablo Neruda was born in Parral, Chile, as Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. The headmistress of his hometown high school was Gabriela Mistral, Chile's other Nobel winner; when he was sixteen years old, Neruda knocked on her door, handed over his poems, and returned three hours later to receive her judgment that he was "indeed a true poet." . . .
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  6. #51
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    July 15th

    On this day in 1919, the novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin. Many of Murdoch's twenty-six novels present the horrors of modern egomania, so given the chance she may not have enjoyed all the attention that her life has received since her death in 1999: her husband, John Bayley's, Elegy for Iris and Iris and her Friends; Peter Conradi's authorized biography, Iris Murdoch; and the Oscar-nominated movie, Iris. FULL STORY



    July 16th

    On this day in 1951 J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye was published. Reviews were mixed, but having been pre-selected by the Book of the Month Club, the novel was immediately popular. Rare book dealers regard a good, signed copy of the first edition -- this is the one with the dust-jacket picture of a quixotic, carousel horse -- as "one of the most elusive of 20th century books." FULL STORY
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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  7. #52
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    July 17

    On this day in 1914 Amy Lowell hosted an "Imagist" dinner party in London attended by Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford and others prominent in the avant-garde movement. Though intended as a celebration of modern poetry and a joining of forces, it became an early skirmish in a longer war between Pound and Lowell over who would lead whom, and in what direction . . .
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  8. #53
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    July 18

    On this day in 1817, Jane Austen died, at the age of forty-one. She had been increasingly ill over the previous year and a half, probably from a hormonal disorder like Addison's Disease. Austen's devoted older sister, Cassandra, inherited all the author's papers, from which she expurgated some but not all of Jane's enduring wit and one-liners. . . .
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  9. #54
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    July 19

    On this day in 1374, or perhaps the day before, Petrarch died; and tomorrow is the 701st anniversary of his birth. He was a friend and contemporary of Boccaccio, and just a generation younger than Dante, but Petrarch's most formative relationship was the one he never had with "Laura." Some scholars hold that she was only an idealization, others think that she was an ancestor of the Marquis de Sade; either way, Petrarch wrote 366 enduring sonnets to her over a decade. . . .
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  10. #55
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    July 20

    On this day in 1869 Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad was published. This second book, the most popular one in his lifetime, was a distillation of the newspaper articles Twain had written during his trip to Europe and the Holy Land in 1867. Even with the distilling, Twain said he regarded the book as God regarded the world: "The fact is, there is a trifle too much water in both." . . .
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  11. #56
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    Just a note... if anyone else wants to update this thread I don't own the monopoly to it, feel free to update if you want, kind of getting a feeling of having monopolized this thread, lol. So if anyone reads this and would like to join, please do so, the site's Today In Literature.
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  12. #57
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    July 21

    On this day in 1796 Robert Burns died in Dumfries, Scotland, at the age of thirty-seven. This was a decade, almost to the day, of the publication of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (Kilmarnock edition), the collection which caused Burns to be as "ploughman poet" in Scotland and then around the world; some friends and early biographers blamed the fame for the death. . . .
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  13. #58
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    July 24

    I know, I've been slacking a bit

    On this day in 1725 John Newton, the seaman-turned-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born. Newton's autobiography (An Authentic Narrative of some Interesting and Remarkable Particulars in the Life of John Newton, 1764) reveals an amazing life, and makes clear how repeatedly lost and found a wretch he was.
    . . .
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  14. #59
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    June 27th

    On this day in 1890 Vincent Van Gogh shot himself in a wheat field outside Auvers-sur-Oise, in France; he died two days later, at the age of thirty-seven. The debate over Van Gogh's physical and mental health continues, with epilepsy, schizophrenia, inner-ear disorder, absinthe and other factors cited as cause of his troubles. Van Gogh's letters, available in a three-volume set or in edited form, provide a detailed look at his painting and his worries over the last few months, although there are only hints of a suicidal mood. MORE


    June 28th

    On this day in 1655 Hercule Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac died at the age of thirty-six. He was the model for Edmond Rostand's 1897 hit play, and a writer himself -- several plays, and two science-fantasy novels about voyages to the moon and sun. De Bergerac was in the Guards for several years, and injured twice in sword fights, but his reputation as a duelist is largely legend; on the other hand, he did have a very large nose, and a belief that "A large nose is the mark of a witty, courteous, affable, generous, and liberal man." MORE
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  15. #60
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    July 29

    On this day in 1909 Chester Himes was born. Until recently, Himes was known primarily for his contributions to the noir-hardboiled genre -- Cotton Comes to Harlem, and his other "Harlem Domestic" detective novels. Recent, restored editions of some of his other books and several recent biographies make the case for regarding Himes, rather than such contemporaries as Wright and Baldwin, as "America's central black writer."
    . . .
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