Birthday info courtesy of Molly Williams at the Waterboro Public Library in Waterboro, Maine (http://www.waterborolibrary.org/birth.htm)
JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY
AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER
JANUARY LITERARY BIRTHDAYS
Carl Sandburg, Illinois poet & Lincoln biographer, 6 Jan. 1878 - 22 July 1967
Sandburg is probably best known for his poem about fog (which "comes on little cat feet"), or for his characterisations of Chicago ("Hog butcher for the world"), but it's for his biography of Abraham Lincoln that he won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize. Sandburg's biography, bibliography, and on-line works are available through the Carl Sandburg Page. Seven books of Sandburg's poems are available through a Univ. of Md. site, and a version of Sandburg's book Chicago Poems is also available.
[John] Robinson Jeffers, U.S. poet & playwright, 10 Jan. 1887 - 20 Jan. 1962
Jeffers was born in Pittsburgh, studied forestry, medicine, and other subjects in California, Washington, and Zurich colleges, and settled in 1919 in California, where he and his family built a house in Carmel. The constant theme of his poetry is mankind's worthlessness and nature's beauty and strength. Works include Tamar and Other Poems (1924), Roan Stallion (1925), Cawdor and Other Poems (1928), Dear Judas and Other Poems (1929), Descent to the Dead (1931), Thurso's Landing and Other Poems (1932), Give Your Heart to the Hawks (1933), Solstice and Other Poems (1935), The Double Axe and Other Poems (1948), and Hungerfield and Other Poems, which won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize. Some of his poetry is still being put to music and played at annual festivals. He also adapted two of Euripides' tragedies for the modern stage.
The Jeffers Studies website offers biographical background on Jeffers, tips on teaching Jeffers, a chronology, book reviews, bibliography, and more. Finland's Kuusankoski Public Library also has a page of bio on Jeffers; the Academy of American Poets has a biographical sketch and some bibliography for Jeffers as well; and Modern American Poets provides information on Jeffers' life and career, a chronology, and criticism of poems.
Zora Neale Hurston, African-American novelist, 7 Jan. 1903 - 28 Jan. 1960
Born in Eatonville, FL, Hurston became part of the Harlem Renaissance, the black literati in New York City. Besides being a writer of novels (Their Eyes Were Watching God, Dust Tracks on a Road, Mules and Men, etc.) and short stories, she was also a folklorist who travelled to Latin American and the Caribbean to learn more about her roots, and she received degrees from Howard University and Barnard, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship. Yet, she spent most of her life in Florida and died there in a welfare home in 1960. The writer Alice Walker resurrected her works and interest in her in the 1970s.
The best Hurston page on the Web is Zora, with a long introductory essay on Hurston, the first chapter of Their Eyes Were Watching God, bibliography, photos, a Hurston chronology, more. If you're researching Hurston, you might try the St. Paul's School's Hurston Research Tip Sheet for a list of resources and some ideas on how to get started.
Other January Birthdays:
Jan 1: Lithuanian poet Kristijonas Donelaitis (1714); Anglo-Irish novelist (born Oxfordshire) Maria Edgeworth (1767; d.1849), whose work, including Castle Rackrent (1800) and Ormond (1817) presented lively tales of Irish life; English poet Arthur Hugh Clough (1819; d.1861), whose first and best-known poem was "The Bothie of Toberna-Vuolich;" Scottish classicist and anthropologist Sir James [George] Frazer (1854; d.1941), who wrote The Golden Bough, 2 vols. 1890/12 vols. 1911-15); Mexican novelist Mariano Azuela (1873; d.1952); English novelist and Ivory-Merchant film muse E[dward] M[organ] Forster (1879; d.1970), whose novels, including A Room with a View (1908), Howard's End (1910), and A Passage to India (1924), pit honest emotion against the acceptable conventions of society; NYC-born recluse J[erome] D[avid] Salinger (1919); British children's book author Jean Ure (1943)
Jan 2: Philip Morin Freneau (1752; d.1832), American poet and political gazette editor (born NYC of French Huguenot family), the first poet to use themes from American nature, anticipating the English romantics; Wisconsin-born novelist and poet William Scott (1914); Oklahoma native, African American historian, biographer, and essayist John Hope Franklin (1915), whose 1947 From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans is still considered the standard text on African American history; NYC poet and novelist Robert Nathan (1894), wrote Portrait of Jennie (1940); Russian-born scientist and sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov (1920; d.1992); NYC-born writer of young adult novels Jan[ice] Slepian (1921); another NYC-born novelist, and short story writer, Leonard Michaels (1933); German-born novelist Leonard B. Scott (1948)
Jan 3: Roman author, essayist, and poet [Marcus Tullius] Cicero (106 B.C.); London author and playwright Douglas William Jerrold (1803; d.1857); Scottish dramatist James Bridie (1888; d.1951); South African fantasy writer J[ohn] R[onald] R[euel] Tolkien (1892; d.1973); French novelist and essayist Pierre Drieu La Rochelle (1893); short-lived Danish poet and resistance fighter Morten Nielsen (1922; page in Danish)
Jan 4: German librarian and philologist, and, with his brother Wilhelm, collector of Grimm's fairy tales (1812-1815), Jakob Ludwig Carl Grimm (1785; d.1863); Maine native, painter and writer Marsden Hartley (1877; d.1943); A[lfred] E[dgar] Coppard (1878), English poet and short story writer
Jan 5: Count Miklos Zrinyi (1620), Hungarian poet; Khristo Botev (1848; d.1876), short-lived Bulgarian poet and revolutionary; Friedrich Durrenmatt (1921), Swiss playwright and novelist; Pennsylvania-born poet W[illiam] D[e Witt] Snodgrass (1926), who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1959; Italian novelist and critic Umberto Eco (1932); Kenyan novelist, dramatist, and critic Ngugi wa Thiong'o (1938) aka James T. Ngugi, a significant East African writer
Jan 6: Besides Carl Sandburg, above: Khalil Gibran (1883; d.1931), Lebanese mystic poet (birthdates also listed as Dec. 6 and April 10); Icelandic poet Tomas Gudmundsson (1901); South African Zulu poet, novelist, and educator Benedict Wallet Vilakazi (1906); Nebraska-born novelist, short story writer, and photographer Wright Morris (1910; d.1998), who wrote Love Among Cannibals; English writer and interpreter of Zen Buddhism Alan Watts (1915; d.1973); E[dgar] L[awrence] Doctorow (1931), NYC novelist, authored Ragtime
Jan 7: Besides Zora Neale Hurston, above: English political author James Harrington (1611; author of The Commonwealth of Oceana); French Roman Catholic socialist writer and poet Charles Péguy (1873; d.1914; authored essay "Sinners and Saints"); British zoologist and writer Gerald Malcolm Durrell (1925; d.1995; brother of Lawrence Durrell); NYC-born Exorcist author William Peter Blatty (1928)
Jan 8: English novelist [William] Wilkie Collins (1824; d.1889), whose most popular works are a mystery, The Woman in White (1860), and The Moonstone (1868), forerunner of the modern detective novel; another English novelist [Margaret] Storm Jameson (1891); Senegalese novelist and screenwriter Sembene Ousmane (1923), renowned for his films and novels addressing social wrongs in post-colonial Africa; English physicist and author Stephen [William] Hawking (1942), whose 1988 A Brief History of Time: From Big Bang to Black Holes was a bestseller
Jan 9: English poet and author of the first history of English poetry, Thomas Warton (1728; selected poems of Wharton); English comedic playwright Thomas William Robertson (1829); Chicago realistic novelist Henry B[lake] Fuller (1857); Karel Capek (1890), Czech novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and essayist, authored the play R.U.R.; French writer Simone de Beauvoir (1908)
Jan 10: Besides Robinson Jeffers, above: Irish poet, critic, and essayist Aubrey Thomas Hunt de Vere (1814); Detroit-born poet Philip Levine (1928)
Jan 11: NYC native, philosopher, psychologist, and older brother of novelist Henry James, William James (1842), who penned The Principles of Psychology (1890) Kentucky-born novelist Alice Caldwell Hegan Rice (1870), who wrote the bestselling Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1901); Utah-born novelist, historian, critic Bernard Augustine De Voto (1897), known for works on Mark Twain and histories of the U.S. west; Alan Paton (1903), South African writer, authored Cry, the Beloved Country; Manfred B. Lee (1905), co-creator, with his cousin Frederic Dunnay, of Ellery Queen; American performer and novelist Helen Howe (1905), born Boston
Jan 12: Andreas Alicati (1492), Italian author; Charles Perrault (1628), French lawyer and writer of Mother Goose tales, such as "Puss in Boots" and "Little Red Riding Hood"; Edmund Burke (1729), Irish politician, orator, philosopher, author of many political pamphlets and essays; Jack London (1876), San Francisco writer and socialist; Kentucky-born African-American poet Margaret Danner (1915), many of whose poems focus on Africa, which she visited in 1966; Japanese novelist (born Kyoto) Haruki Murakami (1949), who wrote Hear the Wind Sing and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, among others; Los Angeles-born detective writer Walter Mosley (1952)
Jan 13: Eduard von Bauernfeld (1802), Viennese comedic playwright; Massachusetts-born rags-to-riches author Horatio Alger Jr (1834); New Jersey native Carolyn Heilbrun (1926), aka Amanda Cross, non-fiction author and mystery writer; British children's writer and Paddington Bear creator [Thomas] Michael Bond (1926); Nigerian novelist and short story writer Flora Nwapa (1931; d.1993), one of the first African women to publish in English; California-born mystery and sci-fi writer Ron[ald Joseph] Goulart (1933); Bright Lights, Big City author Jay McInerney (1955)
Jan 14: Zacharias Topelius (1818), Finnish historic novelist (site is mostly in Finnish); French writer Pierre Loti (1850; site in German); Dr. Dolittle-creator Hugh Lofting (1886), born Berkshire, England; Thornton Waldo Burgess (1874), children's writer; Chicago-born novelist John dos Passos (1896; d.1970), whose first novel was One Man's Initiation -- 1917 but who is best known for his U.S.A. trilogy (1930-1936); St. Louis native, author and New Yorker essayist Emily Hahn (1905); Nebraska-born novelist and non-fiction writer Tillie Olsen (1913); African American publisher, editor, and poet, and the first Poet Laureate of Detroit, Dudley [Felker] Randall (1914), whose Broadside Press provided a forum for unknown black writers; Georgia native, novelist, essayist, playwright, and co-founder of the Harlem Writers Guild John Oliver Killens (1916; d.1987); Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima (1925); American sci-fi/horror novelist and actor Thomas Tryon (1926); Washington, D.C.-born novelist and short story writer Mary Robison (1949)
Jan 15: Jean Baptiste Poquelin Moliere (baptised on this date, 1622), French satirical dramatist; gloomy Austrian dramatist Franz Grillparzer (1791; d.1872), who perpetuated the German classic and romantic traditions and influenced later playwrights Hauptmann and Maeterlinck; Russian novelist and satirist Mikhail Evgrafovich Yevgrafovich] Saltykov-Shchedrin (1826; birthdate is 27 Jan. in new calendar); Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu (1850); Warsaw-born poet Osip Mandelstam (1891; poem "Ill Day"); Louisiana-born novelist Ernest J. Gaines (1933), who wrote The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, among other novels NYC native, writer Frank Conroy (1936)
Jan 16: Canadian poet Robert W. Service (1874); Ukranian novelist and playwright Valentin Katayev (1897; birthdate is 28 Jan. in new calendar); author and editor Norman Podhoretz (1930; speeches delivered on Podhoretz's retirement in 1995 as editor of Commentary Magazine).
Jan 17: Spanish poet and dramatist Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600; d.1681;), known for plays including the fantasy, La Vida es sueño (Life is a dream) and El Mágico prodigioso (The Wonderful Magician), based on the life of St. Cyrian; Boston-born Benjamin Franklin (1706; d.1790), American statesman, philosopher, scientist, printer, writer, whose (Autobiography, published 1867) reveals him to be imbued with genius and with the American spirit of idealism, practicality, and optimism; American novelist and editor (born and died in Philadelphia), Charles Brockden Brown (1771; d.1810), "Father of the American novel" (Gothic novel Wieland; or the Transformation, 1798); English novelist Anne Bronte (1820), aka Acton Bell; Anton Chekhov (1860; birthdate is 29 Jan. in new calendar; d.1904), Russian playwright and short-story writer, one of the great exponents of Russian realism; London novelist Ronald Firbank (1886); British-born Australian novelist Nevil Shute [Norway] (1899)
Jan 18: British thesaurus developer and physician Peter Mark Roget (1779); English poet, critic, and biographer [Henry] Austin Dobson (1840; poem "In After Days"); Rubén Dario (1867), born Félix Rubén Garcia-Sarmiento, Nicaraguan poet and short-story writer (page in Spanish); Winnie-the-Pooh creator and mathematician A[lan] A[lexander] Milne (1882); Spanish poet and critic Jorge Guillén (1893); William Sansom (1912), British writer of novels, short stories, and travel books
Jan 19: French writer Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (1737; Studies of Nature); Boston-born horror story writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe (1809; "The Raven"); Alexander Woolcott (1887), NJ short-story writer and critic, and member of the famed Algonquin Round Table; Texas-born mystery writer Patricia Highsmith nee Mary Patricia Plangman (1921); Scottish/British poet George Mann MacBeth (1932; d.1992); English writer Julian Barnes (1946)
Jan 20: Maine native Nathaniel P. Willis (1806; d.1867), writer and editor of American Monthly Magazine; English writer Richard Le Gallienne (1866; d.1947); Johannes V. Jensen (1873; d.1950), Danish novelist, poet, essayist, and 1944 Nobel Prize winner; Abram Hill (1910), American playwright, wrote "On Striver's Row;" Joy Adamson (1910; d.1980), naturalist, friend of lions, and writer of the "Born Free" books; Japanese writer Sawako Ariyoshi (1931; wrote The Doctor's Wife).
Jan 21: Icelandic poet, novelist, playwright, and librarian David Stefansson (1895); Richard P. Blackmur (1904; d.1965), Massachusetts poet and critic;
Jan 22: Sir Francis Bacon (1561; d.1626), English essayist, philosopher, historian, and statesman; German critic and dramatist Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729; d.1781); Rene Charles Guilbert de Pixerecourt (1773), prolific French dramatist; George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron of Rochdale (1788; d.1824), aka Lord Byron, English romantic poet; August Strindberg (1849; d.1912), Swedish dramatist and novelist; poet, playwright, and long-time New Yorker poetry editor Howard Moss (1922; d.1987), who wrote the satirical and epigrammic Instant Lives (1974); Pittsburgh-born crime writer Joseph Wambaugh (1937)
Jan 23: French writer [Marie-Henri Beyle] Stendhal (1783; d.1842); NYC-born experimental poet Louis Zukofsky (1904; d.1978); West Indies-born (St. Lucia) poet and playwright Derek [Alton] Walcott (1930), who won the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature
Jan 24: British comedic playwright and poet of the Restoration Age William Congreve (1670; d. 1729), who wrote The Way of the World (1700); Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732; d.1799), French dramatist who authored "The Marriage of Figaro," "The Barber of Seville"); NYC-born novelist Edith Wharton (1862; d.1937), who won the 1920 Pulitzer Prize; British zoologist, author, and artist Desmond [John] Morris (1928), who wrote The Naked Ape (1967) and The Human Zoo (1969), among over 50 books
Jan 25: Scottish's national poet Robert Burns (1759; d.1796); W[illiam] Somerset Maugham, English novelist and poet (1874; d.1965; wrote Of Human Bondage); English modernist novelist and Bloomsbury member Virginia Woolf (1882; d.1941); NYC-born novelist Gloria Naylor (1950), whose novel The Women of Brewster Place (1982) won the American Book Award for best first fiction
Jan 26: Marie Joseph Sue (1804; d.1857), aka Eugène Sue, French novelist; Mary Mapes Dodge (1831), NYC writer of Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates; NYC cartoonist and author Jules Feiffer (1929); Alabama-born political activist, essayist, and autobiographer Angela Yvonne Davis (1944); playwright Christopher Hampton (1946), born on Fayal Island in the Azores, whose adaptation of the French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses won him an Oscar in 1988
Jan 27: Russian novelist and satirist Mikhail Evgrafovich [Yevgrafovich] Saltykov-Shchedrin (1826; d.1889; birthdate is 15 Jan. in old calendar); Lewis Carroll (1832; d.1898), born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, English poet and author of children's books, including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865); NYC native, songwriter and composer Jerome Kern (1885; d.1945); Ukranian writer Ilya Ehrenburg (1891; d.1967); Montreal-born novelist, journalist, and scriptwriter Mordecai Richler (1931; d.2001); English novelist D[onald] M[ichael] Thomas (1935); Missouri-born musician, political activist, folklorist, educator, novelist, and children's author Julius [Bernard] Lester (1939)
Jan 28: Japanese novelist, essayist, and haiku poet Ozaki Koyo (1869); French novelist [Sidonie-Gabrielle Claudine] Colette (1873; d.1954), France's foremost female writer in her time; Ukranian novelist and playwright Valentin Katayev (1897; d.1986; birthdate is 16 Jan. in old calendar); NYC author and film director Susan Sontag (1933; note that the New York Times says she was born 16 Jan 1933); English novelist David Lodge (1935)
Jan 29: Political essayist Thomas Paine (1737; d.1809); Anton Chekhov (1860; birthdate is 17 Jan. in old calendar), Russian playwright; French writer and 1915 Nobel winner Romain Rolland (1866; d.1945); Spanish (Valencian) novelist Vicente Blasco Ibáñez (1867; d.1928; site is written in wobbly English translation); Edward Abbey (1927), environmentalist U.S. writer
Jan 30: English politician and writer of restoration comedies, George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1628; d.1687); English critic and writer Walter S[avage] Landor (1775; d.1864), known for his hot temper and his reverence for classical writers; Boston-born nonsense poet Gelett Burgess (1866); Saul David Alinsky (1909; d.1972), Chicago writer, who wrote Reveille for Radicals; NYC-born historian and popular history writer Barbara [Wertheim] Tuchman (1912; d.1989), winner of two Pulitzer prizes; Shirley Hazzard (1931), Australian/American novelist and short story writer; Richard Brautigan (1935; d.1984), Washington-born Beat poet and novelist, who wrote Trout Fishing in America (1967); Kentucky-born novelist Michael Dorris (1945; d.1997), who wrote A Yellow Raft in Blue Water (1987), among other books
Jan 31: French-American essayist J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur (1735; d.1813), born Michel Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur, famous for Letters from an American Farmer (1782), drawing on his experience as a farmer in Orange County, N.Y.; Ohio-born American western writer Zane Grey (1872; 1939); Pennsylvania novelist and short-story writer John O'Hara (1905); French-born American Trappist monk, essayist, and poet Thomas Merton (1915), who wrote -- among many other works of autobiography and non-ficton -- the memoir The Seven Storey Mountain (1948); New Jersey-born novelist Norman Mailer (1923); Japanese novelist and 1994 Nobelist Oe Kenzaburo (1935)
FEBRUARY LITERARY BIRTHDAYS
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (27 Feb. 1807 - March 1882)
Longfellow was born in Portland, attended Bowdoin (1822-1825) with Hawthorne, and soon after became professor of modern languages there from 1829-1835. He went on to teach at Harvard from 1836-1854. For more biography, check Eclectic Esoterica's Longfellow page, which also has full-text of 21 of Longfellow's poems, including "The Children's Hour," "Evangeline," "Paul Revere's Ride," and "The Village Blacksmith.". Jay White at Western Washington University provides more information on "Evangeline" and Acadia. The Center for Maine History has info about the 1785 Wadsworth-Longfellow home. Bowdoin College offers an online collection guide to Longfellow's personal papers.
Longfellow's works (poems and books) include:
· Outre-Mer: A Pilgrimage Beyond the Sea (1835; essays)
· Voices of the Night (1839; poems)
· Ballads and Other Poems (1842; includes "The Wreck of the Hesperus" and "The Village Blacksmith")
· Evangeline (1847)
· The Song of Hiawatha (1855)
· The Courtship of Miles Standish (1858)
· Paul Revere's Ride (1860)
· The Children's Hour (1860)
· The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems
· The Seaside and the Fireside
· Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863/1872/1873)
· Norse ballads, compiled from several of the books listed above.
Charles [John Huffman] Dickens, English novelist (7 Feb. 1812 - 9 June 1870)
Dickens was the second of eight children in a family always in debt, so he knew firsthand the misery of child labor (factory work), hunger, and debtors' prison. His childhood poverty and adversity shaped his later passion for social reform and his compassion for the lower classes, especially for children, which is obvious in the novels, short stories, and articles he wrote.
Many of Dickens' novels are available on line, including Nicholas Nickleby (1839), Martin Chuzzlewit (1844), Dombey and Son (1848), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1861), and The Pickwick Papers (1837; this novel and Sketches by Boz, 1836, catapulted Dickens to instant fame) through Bibliomania and A Christmas Carol (1843), and David Copperfield (1850) through other sites. Other novels are Oliver Twist (1838), The Old Curiosity Shop (1841), Barnaby Rudge (1841), American Notes (1842), The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), Bleak House (1853), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1857), Our Mutual Friend (1865), Edwin Drood (1870; unfinished).
There's a big, well-updated Dickens site with info on the Dickens Society, the Dickens Project, Dickens' works, e-texts, bibliography, and chronology, and links to other Dickens pages. David Perdue's Dickens Page is also attractive and useful, with a bio, info on Dickens' London, list of works and illustrations, a timeline, Dickens in America, etc.
Sinclair Lewis, novelist and social critic, winner of 1930 Nobel (7 Feb. 1885 - 10 Jan. 1951)
Sinclair Lewis, born in Sauk Center, Minn., was the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930. After receiving his A.B. from Yale University in 1907, he was for a time a member of Upton Sinclair's Helicon Hall, a socialist, Utopian society in New Jersey. When the Panama Canal was being built, he went to find work there but was unsuccessful and returned to the midwest as a reporter and editor.
Lewis went east again in 1910, married in 1914 (divorced 1925, remarried 1928), and began writing novels full time in 1916. Our Mr. Wrenn (1914), The Trail of the Hawk (1915), The Job (1917), The Innocents (1917), Free Air (1919) were all written before Main Street, Lewis's break-through book, was published in 1920. Babbit followed in 1922 (written in Italy and England) and Arrowsmith in 1925; Lewis refused the Pulitzer Prize of $1000 for Arrowsmith in 1926 as a protest against the restrictive terms of the award.
Lewis published Mantrap in 1926, Elmer Gantry in 1927, The Man who Knew Coolidge in 1928, and Dodsworth in 1929; this last was a satire on Americans abroad, written while Lewis travelled in England.
When Lewis accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930, he "lived up to his reputation as a non-conformist and firebrand by his vehement speech in which he attacked the professors and men of letters who would subject American literature to conventional standards of taste and morals." (Living Authors, [New York: The H.W. Wilson Co., 1932], pp. 224-226). A Sinclair Lewis Page offers biography, timeline, bibliography, and information on the Sinclair Lewis Society.
W[ystan] H[ugh] Auden, U.S. poet, winner of 1948 Pulitzer (21 Feb. 1907 - 28 Sept. 1973)
The English-born but Americanised (1946) Auden (who considered himself not an American but a New Yorker) was an anti-war socialist whose poems are concerned with the dissolution of civilisation and culture. Besides living in England and America, he also lived in Germany (before the Nazis), Austria, and Italy. He won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Anxiety (1947), the 1954 Bollinger Poetry Prize, and the 1967 National Medal for Literature.
Auden's "Three Short Poems" and "In Praise of Limestone" are available on line, as are 11 more through the Academy of American Poets, which also has biographical information on Auden. More brief biographical information on Auden is provided here; the W.H. Auden Society website has news, links to poems, a list of critical works, archives of the Society's newsletter, and more.
Since 11 Sept. 2001, Auden's poem "September 1, 1939" has been widely quoted. An essay titled "Auden on Bin Laden" by Slate magazine's by Eric McHenry comments on this association.
Other February Birthdays:
Feb. 1: Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874; d.1929), Austrian poet, dramatist, and essayist, whose plays, including Elektra (1903) and Der Rosenkavalier (1911), are best known as texts for Richard Strauss operas; Denise Robbins (1897), London romantic novelist; African-American poet and translator, born Missouri, [James Mercer] Langston Hughes, leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance (1902; helpful Hughes' Teacher Resource File); S. J. Perleman (1904), humour essayist and screenplay writer; Scottish novelist Muriel Spark (1918); Rhode Island-born poet and 1983 Pulitzer prize winner Galway Kinnell (1927; poem "The Correspondence School Instructor..."); North Carolina-born novelist Reynolds Price (1933), who wrote Kate Vaiden
Feb. 2: popular English novelist Hannah Moore (1745); Hamid Abdulhak (1852; d.1937), Turkish romantic poet and playwright; Kentucky-born poet, dramatist, and short story writer Joseph Seamon Cotter, Sr. (1861; d. 1949), best known for Caleb, the Degenerate (1901), one of the earliest dramas by an African-American writer Christian Gauss (1878), educator, writer, Princeton dean; Irish novelist, poet, and stream-of-consciousness pioneer James [Augustine] Joyce (1882; d.1941), author of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1914), Ulysses (1922) -- which was banned in the U.S until a court decision in its favour in 1933, and Finnegan's Wake (1939); Russian-born novelist Ayn Rand (1905); Lithuanian poet, editor, and critic Bernardas Brazdzionis (1907; 5 Brazdzionis poems); poet and Deliverance novelist James Dickey (1923; 1997 Dickey obituary); New Jersey native, poet and children's author Judith Viorst (1931)
Feb. 3: New Hampshire-born editor, founder of the New York Tribune, Horace Greeley (1811; d.1872); English economist and journalist Walter Bagehot (1826; d.1877), whose father-inlaw was the founder of the Economist, which Bagehot edited from 1860 until his death; Sidney Lanier (1842; d.1881), Georgia-born musician, poet, and critic; Pittsburgh native, longtime Paris resident, avant-garde writer Gertrude Stein (1874; d.1946); Clarence Mulford, Illinois western writer, wrote Hopalong Cassidy novels (1883); NYC-born writer James A. Michener (1907); French essayist, philosopher, and fighter for the Resistance Simone Weil (1909)
Feb. 4: French writer Pierre De Marivaux (1688); English dramatist George Lillo (1693); French poet and screenwriter Jacques Prevert (1900; "Les enfants qui s'aiment"); MacKinlay Kantor (1904), Iowa-born writer of Andersonville, 1956 Pulitzer prize winner; [Mattheus] Uys Krige (1910; d.1987), South African playwright and novelist [site in French]; Betty Friedan (1921), Illinois-born feminist writer; novelist and Brown University professor Robert Coover (1948)
Feb. 5: French letter-writer Marie Sevigne (1626); Finnish poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804); French novelist Joris Karl Huysmans (1848; d.1907), born Charles Marie Georges Huysmans, who wrote A Rebours (1884); transl. as Against the Grain); William S. Burroughs, St. Louis-born experimental novelist (1914); novelist, writer on religion and sociology, and Catholic priest Andrew Greeley (1928), born illinois; Elizabeth Swados, U.S. composer and playwright, winner of 1972 Tony (1951)
Feb. 6: Christopher Marlowe, English poet and dramatist (1564); Italian poet, playwright, journalist, author Ugo Foscolo (1778); Hungarian romantic poet Kroly Kisfaludy (1788); Missouri native, African American poet, journalist, and dramatist Melvin B[eaunorus] Tolson (1898; d.1966), one-time Poet Laureate of Liberia; British-born American lawyer, author, and defender of those blacklisted, Louis Nizer (1902; summary of his book The Implosion Consipracy)
Feb. 7: Besides Dickens and Sinclair Lewis, above: Ann Radcliffe, London-born Gothic novelist (1764); Danish romantic poet Frederik Paludan-Muller (1809); Scottish lexicographer, creator of the Oxford English Dictionary, Sir James [Augustus Henry] Murray (1837; d.1915); Wisconsin-born children's writer Laura Ingalls Wilder, creator of the "Little House on the Prairie" series (1867; d.1957); teleplay writer (Outer Limits, Perry Mason) and director Milton Krims (1904); author Gay Talese (1932).
Feb. 8: English scholar Robert Burton, aka Democritus Junior, Anglican clergyman and writer (1577; d.1640), who wrote The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621); English poet and satirist Samuel Butler (1612; d.1680), who wrote the highly autobiographical and satiric novel The Way of All Flesh, published 1903); writer and art critic John Ruskin (1819; d.1900); French sci-fi pioneer Jules Verne (1828; Around the World in 80 Days); Massachusetts-born poet Elizabeth Bishop (1911), who won a Pulitzer in 1956; St. Louis, Missouri-born Kate Chopin, writer of The Awakening (1851; d.1904); Mississippi-based novelist John Grisham (1955).
Feb. 9: Finnish-Swedish poet, journalist, educator, and bishop Frans Michael Franzén (1772); George Ade, U.S. journalist, playwright, and humorist (1866; d.1944); Amy Lowell, Massachusetts-born imagist poet and critic (1847); Irish author Brendan Behan (1923); Georgia-born novelist and essayist Alice Walker (1944), who won the Pulitzer Prize for The Color Purple (1982)
Feb. 10: Sir John Suckling, English poet and dramatist (1609; 12 of Suckling's poems); Restoration writer dramatist and poet William Congreve (1670; teaching notes on The Way of the World); English poet, essayist, critic, and man of letters Charles Lamb aka Elia (1775; d. 1834), who wrote The Adventures of Ulysses, 1808) and the popular children's book Tales from Shakespeare (1807); Kansas editor and 1942 Pulitzer Prize winner William Allen White (1868); Russian novelist and poet Boris Pasternak (1890; d.1960); German playwright and poet Berthold Brecht (1898; d.1956), born Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht, whose major plays include Mother Courage and Her Children (1941) and Galileo (1938); author Roxanne Pulitzer (1951)
Feb. 11: Lydia Maria Child (1802; d.1880), U.S. author and abolitionist (story "Stand From Under"); English poet and novelist Roy Fuller (1912); Chicago-born novelist Sidney Sheldon (1917), winner of 1947 Academy Award and a 1959 Tony Award
Feb. 12: Thomas Campion (1567; d.1620), English composer, poet, and physician (6 Campion poems); American preacher and writer Cotton Mather (1663); English naturalist and writer, author of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859), Charles [Robert] Darwin (1809; d.1882); English poet and novelist George Meredith (1828; Meredith poems); children's author Judy Blume (1938)
Feb. 13: French dramatist Prosper Jolyot, Sieur de Crébillon (1674; d.1762), whose licentious plays portrayed the depravity of high Parisian culture; Kanzo Uchimura (1861; d.1930), Japanese religious writer; Ricardo Güiraldes (1886; d.1927), Argentinian novelist and poet; Belgian mystery writer, creator of Inspector Maigret Georges Simenon (1903; d.1989)
Feb. 14: Argentinian writer Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1811; d.1888); English journalist and writer Frank Harris (1856); Israel Zangwill, English Jewish author (1864; d.1926); Indiana-born editor, drama critic, and author George Jean Nathan (1882; d.1958), who co-founded the American Mercury magazine in 1924 with H.L. Mencken; Russian-born Canadian poet A. M[oses] Klein (1909); Washington, D.C.-born journalist and author Carl Bernstein (1944), who with Bob Woodward won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for his Watergate coverage and wrote the best-selling All the President’s Men (1974)
Feb. 15: English mystery author, creator of Dr. Fu Manchu Sax Rohmer born Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward (1886; d.1959); New Jersey-born writer on thermonuclear war, Herman Kahn (1922; d.1983); Brooklyn feminist author Susan Brownmiller (1935; review of Seeing Vietnam); author of Goedel, Escher, and Bach, Douglas R. Hofstadter (1945).
Feb. 16: [Johann Jakob] Wilhelm Heinse, German novelist and art critic (1746; d.1803) [site in German]; Boston-born historian, writer, and grandson of John Quincy Adams, Henry Brooks Adams (1838; d.1918), who wrote The Education of Henry Adams; French writer Octave Mirbeau (1848; d.1917, also on 16 Feb. 8 works by Mirbeau); New Jersey native, critic, biographer, and literary historian, author of the five-volume literary history Makers and Finders, Van Wyck Brooks (1886; d.1963), who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1937; Australian short story writer Hal Porter (1911); English historian and writer G[eorge] M[acaulay] Trevelyan (1876; d.1962); Mississippi-born novelist and sportswriter Richard Ford (1944), who won a Pulitzer Prize for Independence Day (1995)
Feb. 17: Spanish romantic poet and journalist Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836; d.1870 Becquer's "Rhyme LXXXI-Eternal Love"); Irish-American editor and publisher Samuel Sidney McClure (1857; d.1949), who organized the first syndicated newspaper in the U.S. (the "McClure Syndicate," 1884); Australian WWI correspondent and light-verse poet Andrew Barton Paterson (1864; d.1941), who adapted "Waltzing Matilda,"" Australia’s national song; U.S. novelist Dorothy Canfield (1879; review of The Bed Quilt and Other Stories); Margaret Truman (1924), Missouri-born mystery writer and Harry Truman's daughter; Jewish Bronx-born novelist Chaim Potok (1929); British mystery writer Ruth Rendell (1930), aka Barbara Vine
Feb. 18: Ukraine-born Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem (1859), author of the short stories on which the libretto for Fiddler on the Roof was based; Greek novelist, journalist, and politician Nikos Kazantzakis (1883; d.1957), best known internationally for novels Zorba the Greek (1943) and The Last Temptation of Christ (1951); author and presidential candidate Wendell Willkie (1892; d.1944); Iowa-born novelist, critic, and 1971 Pulitzer Prize winner Wallace Stegner (1909; d.1993), called "the dean of Western writers;" Arkansas-born editor and writer Helen Gurley Brown (1922), who wrote Sex and the Single Girl and edited Cosmopolitan magazine Ohio-born African American novelist Toni Morrison (1931), born Chloe Anthony Wofford, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 and the Pulitzer in 1987 (Apr/98 Morrison interview/article); NYC native, African American poet, essayist, novelist, and autobiographer Audre [Geraldine] Lorde (1934; d.1992), aka Rey Domini, a prominent feminist and gay rights advocate
Feb. 19: actor, producer, and writer David Garrick (1717); Swiss writer and pacifist Élie Ducommun (1833; d.1906; 1902 Nobel peace prize winner); Colombian poet and novelist Jose Eustasio Rivera (1889); French surrealist founder and theorist, writer André Breton (1896; d.1966), co-founder with Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, and David Hare the American surrealist magazine VVV; Minnesota-born novelist Kay Boyle (1902; d.1992); Georgia-born novelist Carson McCullers (1917, nee Lula Carson Smith; d.1967); California-born American-Chinese novelist Amy Tan (1952), whose first book was The Joy Luck Club
Feb. 20: Dutch mystic poet Pieter Cornelis Boutens (1870; d.1943); Japanese novelist Shiga Naoya (1883; d.1971); English biographer, actor, director, and playwright [Edward] Hesketh [Gibbons] Pearson (1887; d.1964); French novelist Georges Bernanos (1888; d.1948); journalist and playwright Russel Crouse (1893; d.1966), longtime play writing and producing partner of Howard Lindsay, with whom he won the 1946 Pulitzer Prize in drama for State of the Union; South African novelist Alex La Guma (1925; d.1985)
Feb. 21: Besides W. H. Auden, above: Spanish poet and dramatist Jose Zorrilla y Moral (1817; d.1893); publisher Charles Scribner (1821); novelist and diarist Anais Nin (1903; d.1977); Erma Bombeck (1927; d.1996), Ohio-born humorist and syndicated columnist; Texas politician and autobiographer Barbara [Charline] Jordan (1936; d.1996)
Feb. 22: poet, critic, and abolitionist James Russell Lowell (1819; Abraham Lincoln); French writer Jules Renard (1864; d.1910); Maine poet and Pulitzer prize winner Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892; d.1950); Greek poet and 1963 Nobelist Giorgios Seferis (1900; d.1971); Irish short story writer Seán O'Faoláin (1900; d.1991; aka John Francis Whelan); Canadian author Morley Callaghan (1903; photo of Callaghan); NYC-born short story writer and novelist Jane [Auer] Bowles (1917); Chicago-born author and artist of the macabre Edward St. John Gorey (1925; d.2000); Tennessee native (New York-raised) novelist, essayist, poet, and editor Ishmael [Scott] Reed (1938), known for his satiric commentaries and parodies
Feb. 23: English diarist Samuel Pepys (1633; d.1703) Massachusetts-born Ghanaian writer W[illiam] E[dward] B[urghardt] Du Bois (1868; d. 1963; The Souls of Black Folk); German children's author Erich Kästner (1899; d.1974); Chicago-born historian and radio journalist, author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer (1904; d.1993); Arkansas native, African American poet, essayist, critic, and publisher Haki R. Madhubuti (1942) born Don Luther Lee, a leading voice in the black arts movement
Feb. 24: Librarian, literary historian, and with his brother, Jacob Grimm, Grimm's Fairy Tales collaborator, Wilhelm Carl Grimm (1786; d.1859); George Moore (1852; d.1933), Irish novelist; Polish novelist Juliusz Kaden-Bandrowski (1885; d.1944); Maine educator and author Mary Ellen Chase (1887; d.1973); Wisconsin writer August William Derleth (1909; Derleth's 1971 obituary)
Feb. 25: Italian dramatist Carlo Goldoni (1707; d.1793); Rhode Island native, African American novelist, journalist, and reporter George Samuel Schuyler (1895; d.1977), best known for his satirical novel Black No More; Being An Account of the Strange and Wonderful Workings of Science in the Land of the Free (1931); author Frank Slaughter (1908); Anthony Burgess (1917; d.1993), essayist, novelist, and musician, author of A Clockwork Orange; Trinidad-born journalist, novelist and travel writer Shiva[dhar] Srinivasa Naipaul (1945; d.1985)
Feb. 26: French novelist, playwright, and Romantic poet Victor [Marie] Hugo (1802; d.1885), exiled to the Channel Islands during Napoleon's reign, author of Les Misérables (1862); U.S. author, Lincoln's private secretary and biographer John George Nicolay (1832; d.1901); French writer Jean Vercors (1902; aka Marcel Bruller); sci-fi writer Theodore Sturgeon born Edward Hamilton Waldo (1918; d.1985)
Feb. 27: Besides Longfellow, above: Boston-born African American dramatist and poet Angelina Weld Grimke (1880; d.1958); John Steinbeck, Calif. novelist and 1962 Nobelist (1902; d.1968) Steinbeck's California novels); Chicago native, novelist and short story writer James Thomas Farrell (1904; d.1979); Chicago author Peter DeVries (1910); India-born British novelist Lawrence Durrell (1912; d.1990), authored The Alexandria Quartet; U.S. novelist Irwin Shaw (1913; d.1984)
Feb. 28: French essayist Michel de Montaigne (1533; 21 Montaigne essays); English cartoonist and Alice-in-Wonderland illustrator, John Tenniel (1820; d.1914); Russian poet in the Symbolist movement, linguist, and literary scholar Vyacheslav Ivanov (1866; old style birthdate is 16 Feb.; d.1949); NYC-born, Wisconsin-raised screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, novelist, and journalist Ben Hecht (1894); English poet and critic Stephen Spender (1909; d.1995); Kansas native, physician, syndicated newspaper columnist, and historical novelist Don[ald] Coldsmith (1926)
MARCH LITERARY BIRTHDAYS
The March birthday cake - who can you spot?
- answers below
Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian playwright (20 March 1828 - 23 May 1906)
Ibsen, born in Skien, Norway, wrote his first plays in 1850: Catiline and The Burial Mound. From 1857 to 1864 he was artistic director of the new Norske Theatre, the Bergen Theatre, and the Christiania Theatre. He married Suzannah Thoresen in 1858 and they had one son. After 1864, Ibsen exiled himself from Norway, returning home intermittently, for 27 years, living in Rome, Munich, Dresden; these are the cities where he wrote most of his best-known works, among them Brand (1866), Peer Gynt (1867), Pillars of Society (1877), A Doll´s House (1879), Ghosts (1881), An Enemy of the People (1882), The Wild Duck (1884), and Hedda Gabler (1890). Ibsen suffered a stroke in 1900 that put an end to his writing, and when he died in 1903 he was accorded a state funeral in Norway. His reported last words were "To the contrary."
HTML texts of Peer Gynt, The Wild Duck, and A Doll's House are all available online. There's a long essay on Ibsen's life and writing, including thoughts on the psychology of Ibsen, written by a professor at the Univ. of Oslo; a chronology of Ibsen's life through the Ibsen Centre Web site; a short bio of Ibsen through Finland's Kuusankoski Public Library; and a handy list of Ibsen links, again through the Ibsen Center, listing databases, concordances, e-texts, essays, commentaries, news articles, and museums relevant to Ibsen.
A[lfred] E[dward] Housman, English poet (26 March 1859 - 30 April 1936)
Housman was born in Worcestershire, England and worked in a patent office after failing final exams at college in 1881. He spent free time studying the classics and in 1892 became a professor of Latin. His first book of poems, A Shropshire Lad (1896) made him famous, but later books were not published for over 20 more years, including Last Poems (1922), More Poems (1936), and Collected Poems (1939). Housman's poetic influences were Shakespeare, Scottish ballads, and Heine. In addition to his poetry, Housman also published editions of Juvenal (1905), Lucan (1926), and Manilus (1903-31), which were widely respected. There is short bio of Housman and links to some poems through the Academy of American Poets Housman exhibit.
Housman's poems are available through the Univ. of Toronto, and the full e-text of A Shropshire Lad is also available online.
Robert P. Tristram Coffin, Maine poet and reporter (18 Mar 1892 - 1955)
Born in Brunswick, a 1915 graduate of Bowdoin, and later a professor there (1934-1955), essayist, poet, and novelist Coffin won the 1936 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Strange Holiness. The Bowdoin Special Collections Library gives detailed information about the almost 50 linear feet of manuscripts, drafts, proofs, notes, personal records, lectures, plays, poems, books, recordings, and photographs that it holds.
Two biographical pages are found on the Bowdoin Special Collections page on Coffin and from A Princeton Companion - entry for Coffin (which records an incorrect date for the Pulitzer).
Coffin's works include:
Poetry: Christchurch (1924), Dew & Bronze (1927), Golden Falcon (1929), The Yoke of Thunder (1932), Ballads of Square-Toed Americans (1933), Strange Holiness (1935; won Pulitzer), Fifteen Girls on a Hobby Horse (1937; collection of short stories and poems), Saltwater Farm (1937), Maine Ballads (1938), There Will Be Bread and Love (1942), Primer for America (1943), Poem for a Son with Wings (1945), Apples By Ocean (1945/1950), People Behave Like Ballads (1946), Collected Poems (1948), One-Horse Farm: Down East Georgics (1949), The Third Hunger and the Poem Aloud (1949), Poems That Write the Poet (1953; poetic text of a lecture at Haverford College, given 1898), Hellas Revisted (1954), Selected Poems (1955).
Essays: Book of Crowns and Cottages (1925), An Attic Room (1929), New Poetry of New England: Frost & Robinson (1938; lectures), The Substance That Is Poetry (1942), Book of Uncles (1944), Maine Doings: Informal Essays (1950), On the Green Carpet (1951), Mainstays of Maine (1944/1978; cookery), Maine Cooking: Old-Time Secrets (1991?, essays on food; maybe a republication of Mainstays?).
Novels: Red Sky in the Morning (1935), John Dawn (1936), and Thomas, Thomas -- Ancil Thomas (1941).
Biographies and other Non-Fiction: A Book of Seventeenth-Century Prose (1929; co-edited), Laud: Storm Center of Stuart England (1930), The Dukes of Buckingham (1931), Lost Paradise: A Boyhood on a Maine Coast Farm (1934; based on recollections of childhood spent on Pond Island), Portrait of an American (1935; about his father), Kennebec: Cradle of Americans (1937/1965), Captain Abby and Captain John (1939; about The Pennells of Brunswick), Yankee Coast (1947), Christmas in Maine (1948), Do You Know Maine? (1948), Coast Calendar (1949), Life in America: New England (1951).
[Victoria Mary] Vita Sackville-West, British novelist and poet (9 March 1892 - 2 June 1962 )
Sackville-West was born in Kent, England, a place she always loved and returned to. She led an unusual life, married in 1913 to Harold Nicholson, a diplomat and politician. Their marriage was purportedly a happy one, although each was bisexual and had affairs outside the marriage, Vita's most notably with Violet Keppel Trefusis and Virginia Woolf. The couple had two sons, Benedict and Nigel; Nigel Nicholson wrote a book (Portrait of a Marriage) about his parent's unorthodox marriage in 1973.
Sackville-West was a prolific writer, beginning as a teenager and publishing her first book, Chatterton, a verse drama, when she was 17. She published about 50 books in all, including non-fiction, novels, and poetry. She won the Hawthornden Prize for her long poem "The Land" in 1927. Sackville-West also wrote a weekly gardening column for the Observer newspaper for years.
The Vita Sackville-West page at the University of Southern California-Fullerton Library offers a short background and a lengthy bibliography. More biography is available through Finland's Kuusankoski Public Library. The Spartacus Internet Encyclopedia features a painting of Sackville-West as well as a short biography and short works listing. You can also find a one-page bio of Sackville-West here. In 1913, the Nicholsons bought Sissinghurst Castle and with Vita as plantsman and Harold as designer, they created a garden that is still one of the most important and well-known in the world.
[Jean Louis] Jack Kerouac, American beat writer (12 March 1922 - 21 October 1969)
Born in Lowell, Mass. (other birthdates listed as 3/11 and 3/13), Kerouac published his first novel in 1950, titled The Town and the City. He was strongly influenced in his writing by the beat generation writers Burroughs and Ginsberg. His best-known work, On the Road (1957) was inspired by cross-country trips taken while under the influence of drugs/drink, as Kerouac was purported to be for most of his life. His novel The Dharma Bums (1958), which describes a mountain climbing trip he and poet Gary Snyder took in Yosemite, contributed to popularising Zen Buddhism as a philosophy for bohemian artists in the U.S. In all, Kerouac published over 20 books. He died of an abdominal hemorrhage while living in St. Petersburg, Fla. with his mother and his third wife, Stella Sampas.
The Literary Kicks site for Kerouac has a long and interesting biography, bibliographies, and a photo. There's a one-page Kerouac bio available through Finland's Kuusankoski Public Library.
Other March Birthdays:
Mar 1: U.S. novelist, editor, and critic (born Ohio) William Dean Howells (1837; d.1920), who served as editor of Atlantic Monthly from 1871-1881, and whose novels The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885), A Modern Instance (1882), and others are ralistic potrayals of American manners; British biographer, critic, and Bloomsbury Group member [Giles] Lytton Strachey (1880; d.1932); Japanese writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892; d.1927); Oklahoman native, African-American novelist, essayist, and short story writer Ralph [Waldo] Ellison (1914; d.1994; The Invisible Man); U.S. poet and pacifist Robert Lowell Jr. (1917; d.1977); 3rd poet laureate of the U.S., also novelist and critic Howard Nemerov (1920); 2nd U.S. poet laureate Richard Wilbur (1921)
Mar 2: Yiddish story teller Shalom Aleicheim (1859); NYC-born writer John Jay Chapman (1862; d.1933), whose best-known work is Emerson and Other Essays (1898); Dr. Seuss alter-ego Theodor Geisel (1904; d.1991); journalist and novelist Tom Wolfe (1931); writer John Irving (1942), born Exeter, N.H.
Mar 3: English dramatist and poet Thomas Otway (1652; d.1685; Otway's poem, "The Enchantment"); English philosopher and writer William Godwin (1756; d.1836), who was the consort of Mary Wollstonecraft (mother of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley) and whose works expressed a strongly rationalistic, libertarian philosophy; English writer and poet Edward Thomas (1878; d.1917); Yury Karlovich Olesha (1899; d.1960), Ukrainian writer, journalist, playwright; poet James Merrill (1926; d.1995), who won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize; Wyoming-born children's writer Patricia MacLachlan (1938; Sarah Plain and Tall)
Mar 4: Swiss folklorist and writer Johann David Wyss (1743; d.1818; Swiss Family Robinson); British writer and poet Alan Sillitoe (1928), who wrote The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1975); Ukrainian poet and political dissident Irina G. Ratushinskaya (1954)
Mar 5: New Hampshire writer Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840; d.1894); Chicago-born naturalist writer Frank Norris (1870; d.1902); Philadelphia native, African American playwright Charles H[enry] Fuller, Jr. (1939), who won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1982 for A Soldier's Play (made into a film, A Soldier's Story, in 1984)
Mar 6: French dramatist, satirist, and soldier Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac (1619; d.1655); British poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806; d.1861); Ring[gold Wilmer] Lardner, Sr. (1885; d.1933), Michigan-born satirical writer of the Jazz Age, author of Gullible's Travels, Etc. (1917); Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1928), Colombian novelist and 1982 Nobelist.
Mar 7: German lyric poet Ewald Christian von Kleist (1715); Italian poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni (1785; d.1873); Japanese playwright Abe Kobo (1924; d.1993); Jewish South African-born novelist and short-story writer Dan Jacobson (1929); U.S. postmodernist writer Donald Barthelme (1931); French writer George Perec (1936)
Mar 8: Scottish essayist and children's story writer Kenneth Grahame (1859; d.1932), who wrote the children's classic The Wind in the Willows (1908); Colorado-born journalist, novelist, and biographer [Eu]Gene Fowler (1890; d.1960): Eric Linklater (1899; d.1974), Welsh-born Scottish novelist, poet and history writer; New Jersey-born writer John McPhee (1931), winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize
Mar 9: Besides Vita Sackville-West (above), English poet Edmund Waller (1606; d.1687); English writer, reformer, and publisher William Cobbett (1763; d.1835) aka Peter Porcupine, who wrote political pamphlets and gazettes with strong radical viewpoints in both America and England; Ukranian national poet and painter Taras Shevchenko (1814; d.1861); David Garnett (1892), English novelist and editor; Byron scholar Peter Quennell (1905); U.S. detective novelist and Mike Hammer creator Mickey [Frank Morrison] Spillane (1918).
Mar 10: German Romantic writer and critic [Karl Wilhelm] Friedrich von Schlegel (1772); Joseph Karl Benedikt, Freiherr von Eichendorff (1788; d.1857), German poet, novella writer, and autobiographer, whose folksong-style poetic lyrics were set to music by Schumann, Brahms, and others; Spanish writer Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (1833); U.S. poet, librarian, and the first California poet laureate Ina Donna Coolbrith (1842; d.1928) born Josephine Donna Smith; German novelist Jakob Wasserman (1873); American playwright and conservative politician Claire Boothe Luce (1903); NYC columnist Paul Coates (1921); Iowa-born playwright and novelist David Rabe (1940)
Mar 11: Italian Renaissance poet Torquato Tasso (1544; epic poem "Jerusalem Delivered"); Dutch Renaissance poet Henric Spieghel (1549; d.1612; birthdate also listed as March 3); British poet and novelist D[ennis] J[oseph] Enright (1920-2003); British sci-fi satirist Douglas Adams (1952; Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
Mar 12: Besides Jack Kerouac (above), English biographer and antiquary John Aubrey (1626; d.1697), the first person to propose that Stonehenge was a temple built by the Druids; Italian novelist and soldier Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863; d.1938); English poet and animal lover Ralph Hodgson (1871; d.1962), considered one of the purest lyricists of his time; Rui Ribeiro Couto (1898), Brazilian poet and short story writer; Australian novelist, short story writer, literary critic Kylie Tennant (1912); playwright Edward Albee (1928); John Gross (1935), author of books on other authors, literary collection editor; prolific Ohio-raised African American children's author and novelist Virginia Hamilton (1936), whose M.C. Higgins, the Great (1971) won the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award
Mar 13: American journalist Oswald Garrison Villard (1872); Sir Hugh Walpole, New Zealand novelist, critic, and dramatist (1884); Bostonian Janet Flanner (aka Genêt), Paris columnist for the New Yorker (1892); L. Ron Hubbard, Church of Scientology founder and sci-fi writer (1911); Canadian writer W[illiam] O[rmond] Mitchell (1914)
Mar 14: U.S. librarian, author, and bibliographer Isadore Gilbert Mudge (1875); Michigan-born children's writer Marguerite de Angeli (1889); Hollywood screenwriter and novelist Max Shulman (1919); travel book writer Colin Fletcher (1922); John [Barrington] Wain, English novelist and poet (1925; d.1994); French novelist and director Bertrand Blier (1939)
Mar 15: Paul von Heyse (1830), German writer and 1910 Nobelist; Irish playwright, translator, and poet (and Yeats' patron) Lady Augusta Gregory (1852; d.1932), born Isabella Augusta Persse, co-founder and co-director of Dublin's Abbey Theatre; English Roman Catholic poet and critic Lionel Pigot Johnson (1867; d.1902); American literary scholar of Irish literature, biographer, critic and writer Richard Ellman (1918; d.1987)
Mar 16: Dutch poet and playwright Gerbrand Adriaenszoon Bredero (1585); French novelist Marie Madeleine Pioche de la Vergne, comtesse de La Fayette (1634; d.1693), whose masterpiece was the novel La Princesse de Cleves (1678) and whose salons were frequented by Moliere, Boileau, and other important literary figures of the time; French poet and the first Literature Nobelist (in 1901) Sully Prudhomme (1839) aka Rene Francois Armand Prudhomme; NY poet and playwright Percy MacKaye (1875; d.1956), best known for his pageant The Canterbury Pilgrims (1903); Cesar Vallejo, Peruvian poet (1892; site in Spanish); NYC-born children's writer Sid Fleischman (1920)
Mar 17: German novelist and dramatist Karl Ferdinand Gutzkow (1811; d.1878); English author and illustrator Kate Greenaway (1846); North Carolina-raised novelist and playwright Paul Green (1894; d.1981).
Mar 18: Besides Robert PT Coffin (above), French symbolist poet and Edgar Allen Poe translator Stephane Mallarme (1842); English WW I poet Wilfred Owen (1893); Pennsylvania-born novelist and poet John Updike (1932; the "Rabbit" series); Brooklyn native, African American poet and the first poet laureate of Rhode Island, Michael S. Harper (1938)
Mar 19: Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821; d.1890), English explorer, translator, travel book writer, one of the first Englishmen to explore Arabia and reach Mecca; South African novelist and autobiographer Peter [Henry] Abrahams (1919), a key figure in South Africa's literary heritage; New Jersey-born novelist Philip Roth (1933)
Mar 20: Besides Ibsen (above), the Roman poet and writer Ovid (43 B.C.); German schizophrenic lyric poet [Johann Christian] Friedrich Hölderlin (1770; d.1843); Nova Scotian novelist and essayist Hugh MacLennan (1907; d.1990); children's author Lois Lowry (1937); NYC-born author of books for children and young adults Ellen Conford (1942)
Mar 21: Oregon-born poet and children's author Phyllis McGinley (1905; d.1978)
Mar 22: English illustrator and medal namesake Randolph Caldecott (1846; d.1886); North Dakotan writer of westerns Louis L'Amour (1908; d.1988); English novelist Nicholas Monsarrat (1910; The Cruel Sea, 1953); French-Canadian novelist Gabrielle Roy (1909; d.1983); Kentucky native, essayist and literary critic Houston A. Baker, Jr. (1943), whose focus is defining the African American literary tradition
Mar 23: French novelist, dramatist, and 1937 Nobelist Roger Martin du Guard (1881); female Ghanaian dramatist and short story writer [Christina] Ama Ata Aidoo (1940/1942?)
Mar 24: English poet, artist, designer and true Renaissance man William Morris (1834; d.1896); English writer Malcolm Muggeridge (1903); beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919); Italian playwright, actor, and director Dario Fo (1926; Nobel in Literature 1997)
Mar 25: Transylvania-born (emigrated to U.S. at age 3) author of Broadway plays and musicals (including Kiss Me, Kate), novels, short stories, and articles Bella Cohen Spewack (1899; d.1990), whose writing partner was her husband Samuel (born Ukraine, Sept. 16, 1899); Georgian novelist [Mary] Flannery O'Connor (1925); NYC-born African-American fiction writer, scriptwriter, and essayist Toni Cade Bambara (1959; d.1995)
Mar 26: Besides Housman (above), Louise Otto (1819; d.1895; site in German, with poems and biography), aka Louise Otto-Peters, German author and feminist; author Edward Bellamy (1850); New England poet and school teacher (San Francisco-born) Robert [Lee] Frost (1874; d.1963), who variously wrote sonnets, lyrics, and philosophical poems, and who was much in demand as a speaker; American writer on mythology and comparative religion Joseph Campbell (1906; d.1987); Mississippi-born playwright [Thomas Lanier] Tennesee Williams (1911; d.1983); British novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard (1923); beat poet Gregory Corso (1930; d.2001); NYC novelist Erica Jong (1942)
Mar 27: German novelist and essayist Heinrich Mann (1871; d. 1950; brother of Thomas Mann); NYC-born (raised Hollywood) novelist and screenwriter/scriptwriter Budd Schulberg (1914), well-known for his screenplay for On the Waterfront (1954), which won eight Academy Awards
Mar 28: William Byrd II (1674; d.1744), colonial Virginia writer; Maxim Gorki (1868; d.1936) born Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, Russian dramatist and novelist, one of the first Russian writers to express the view of the worker; Michigan-born novelist Nelson Algren [Abraham] (1909; d.1981); Mario Vargas Llosa (1936; site in Spanish), born Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, Peruvian novelist and politician
Mar 29: NY-born playwright, producer, and actor Howard Lindsay (1889); German novelist and essayist Ernst Junger (1895; d.1998)
Mar 30: English writer Anna Sewell (1820), author of Black Beauty; French lyric poet Paul Verlaine (1844; d.1896); Polish (Hungary-born) actress, novelist, and playwright of the Naturalist school, Gabriela Zapolska (1857; d.1921), born Maria Gabriela Korwin-Piotrowska Irish playwright Sean O'Casey (1880; d.1964)
Mar 31: English metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell (1621; d.1678); English writer, and translator of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (1859), Edward FitzGerald (1809; d.1883); Ukraine-born Russian realist writer Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (1809; d.1852), who penned the satirical masterpiece, Dead Souls (1842); Scottish author Andrew Lang (1844; d.1912); Mexican writer and diplomat Octavio Paz (1914; d.1998; site in Spanish and English); English novelist John Fowles (1926); U.S. writer from the Bronx, Judith Rossner (1935), who wrote Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1975); U.S. novelist Marge Piercy (1936); Chicago author John Jakes (1932)
APRIL LITERARY BIRTHDAYS
William Shakespeare, 23 April 1564 - 23 April, 1616
A complete full-text listing of Shakespeare's plays is available through The Complete Works of Shakespeare on the Web, maintained by Jeremy Hylton, with indexes and search features. Highly recommended. The Stratford-Upon-Avon InfoWeb has several pages of Shakespeare biography, as well as links to pages about his house and the area in which he lived. Study questions for most of Shakespeare's plays are available thanks to JM Massi, Ph.D. (Washington State Univ.). There are many online Shakespeare courses available; Princeton's Literature 131w is titled "The Plays of Shakespeare" and includes a syllabus, workbooks, handbook, text lists, a newsgroup, essay assignments, and video clips.
Gertrude Chandler Warner, creator of the Boxcar Children, 16 April 1890 - 30 Aug. 1979
Biographical information about Warner is available through the University of Southern Mississippi de Grummund Collection website.
Most children know Warner through her Boxcar Children stories, the adventures of orphaned children living in a railroad boxcar. Her first Boxcar Children book was published in 1924 and revised in 1942 to make it easier for children with limited reading vocabularies to read it. Besides writing 19 Boxcar Children books and 15 others for adults and children, Warner was also a school teacher for over 30 years and was active in the Red Cross and the American Cancer Society. She was born and died in Putnam, Connecticut.
Other April Birthdays:
Apr 1: Cyrano de Bergerac author, the French dramatist and poet Edmond Rostand (1868); Baltimore (MD)-born librarian, storyteller, and writer Augusta Baker (1911), who worked for 35 years at the New York Public Library and developed comprehensive bibliographies of African American-based children's literature; fantasy/sci-fi writer Anne McCaffrey (1926); Harlem native, sci-fi novelist and short story writer Samuel Ray Delany (1942), winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and Pilgrim Awards
Apr 2: Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805), who penned over 160 fairy tales; French writer and insurgent Emile Zola (1840); British historical novelist George MacDonald Fraser (1925), creator of the rogue and bully Flashman
Apr 3: English metaphysical poet (born Wales) George Herbert (1593; d.1633); American writer Washington Irving (1783; d.1859), author of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; London-born animal behaviorist (chimps) and writer Jane Goodall (1934)
Apr 4: French novelist and critic Rémy de Gourmont (1858; d.1915), best known as an apologist for the symbolists, in Le Livre des masques (1896; The Book of Masks); Finnish Swedish-language poet Edith Södergran (1892); U.S. playwright and historian Robert Emmett Sherwood (1896), who was a member of the Algonquin round table and Franklin Roosevelt's speechwriter in the 1940s; Vietnamese novelist and screenplay writer Marguerite Duras (1914), who wrote the screenplay for the film Hiroshima Mon Amor (1959); Missouri-born (Arkansas-raised) novelist poet, dramatist, and performer Maya Angelou (1928), born Marguerite Johnson
Apr 5: British poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837), author of Poems and Ballads, and member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood that included William Morris; Virginia-born essayist, autobiographer, biographer, educator, and social thinker Booker T. Washington (1856; d.1915), born into slavery as Booker Taliaferro, well-known for the bestselling Up From Slavery (1901); American crime/suspense writer, penned Psycho, Robert Bloch (1917), aka Collier Young
Apr 6: California-born country songwriter and singer Merle Haggard (1937).
Apr 7: English romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770; selected poetry of Wordsworth); Rhode Island author and clergyman William Ellery Channing (1780), instrumental in founding the Unitarian church; premier New Yorker gossip columnist Walter Winchell (1897) [Trivia: His name is invoked in the I Love Lucy song "We're Having A Baby:"
"You read it in Winchell, that we're adding a limb to our family tree."]
Apr 8: Lyricist E.Y. "Yip" Harburg (1888), who penned the words to "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" (1932) and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (1939), among others; Denver native (lived L.A.) and depression-era novelist John Fante (1911); Chicago-born journalist Seymour Hersh (1937), who broke the My Lai massacre story; Annapolis (MD)-born novelist Barbara Kingsolver (1955), who wrote The Bean Trees (1988), Animal Dreams (1990), and The Poisonwood Bible (1998), among others
Apr 9: Charles-Pierre Baudelaire (1821; d.1867), French poet, essayist, and art critic; Brooklyn-born novelist and short story writer Paule Marshall (1929), one of the first writers to explore the psychological concerns of African American women
Apr 10: English critic and essayist William Hazlitt (1778; 1830), who style is appreciated for its plainness and vigor; Hungarian-born publisher and journalist Joseph Pulitzer (1847); Irish poet, editor, and painter George William Russell (1867; d.1935) aka AE; New Yorker, journalist, playwright and politician Clare Booth Luce (1903), staff writer for Vanity Fair magazine and author of the play The Women, on which the movie is based; NYC-born historian David Halberstam (1934); Massachusetts native, travel writer, and novelist Paul Theroux (1941)
Apr 11: Wisconsin novelist and essayist Glenway Wescott (1901); Leo Rosten (1908), born in Poland, grew up in the U.S., and best known for The Joys of Yiddish (1968)
Apr 12: Children's book writer Beverly Cleary (1916); Chicago-born playwright Jack Gelber (1932; Gelber's is the second profile on the page cited); British prolific playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn (1939); Chicago native, writer of legal thrillers Scott Turow (1949)
Apr 13: America's Renaissance man, Thomas Jefferson (1743), Virginia-born 3rd U.S. president, inventor, lawyer, architect, gardener, and writer, whose pamphlet A Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774) pushed forward the American patriot cause; Chicago native and novelist Nella Larsen (1891; d.1964), regarded as an important writer of the Harlem Renaissance; Marguerite Henry, author of Misty of Chincoteague and other kids' horse books (1902); Irish playwright and novelist Samuel Barclay Beckett (1906), who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969 and is best-known for his play Waiting for Godot; American writer Eudora Welty (1909), winner of the 1972 Pulitzer Prize; Irish poet and 1995 Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney (1939)
Apr 14: Richmond, Virginia native and novelist James Branch Cabell (1879; if you already know who Cabell is, you'll like this Cabell Page, which contains more analysis); British historian Arnold Toynbee (1889), known for his twelve-volume collection, A Study of History (1934-1961)
Apr 15: American novelist (born New York) Henry James (1843; d.1916), whose novels include The American (1877), The Europeans (1878), Daisy Miller (1879), and The Portrait of a Lady (1881), and whose older brother was philosopher William James (1828-1910); food writer Waverly Root (1903), born in Providence, RI, author of The Food of France (1958)
Apr 16: Besides Gertrude Chandler Warner (above), French novelist, poet, political satirist, and 1921 Nobel Prize winner Anatole France (1844; d.1924), born Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault; Irish playwright John Millington Synge (1909), who wrote Playboy of the Western World; classic children's book illustrator Garth Williams (1912); British novelist, poet, and short story writer Sir Kingsley Amis (1922)
Apr 17: Modern Greek poet (born and died in Egypt) C[onstantine] P[eter] Cavafy (1863; d.1933), aka Konstantinos Patrou Kabaphes; Wisconsin-born playwright and novelist Thornton Niven Wilder (1897), author of every amateur stage company's favourite play, Our Town NYC-born novelist and essayist Cynthia Ozick (1928)
Apr 18: British writer George Henry Lewes (1817), known for nurturing and encouraging the writing talent of lover Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot); War-time journalist and fiction writer Richard Harding Davis (1864); African American poet Etheridge Knight (1931; d.1991), one of the most popular poets of the black arts movement in the 1960s
Apr 19: New England diarist Sarah Kemble Knight (1666); Mississippi-born (Indianapolis-raised) poet Etheridge Knight (1933)
Apr 20: Roman philosopher, humane emperor, and author of The Meditations, Marcus Aurelius [Antoninus] (121 A.D); French surrealist writer, anthropologist, and autobiographer Michael Leiris (1901)
Apr 21: English novelist Charlotte Bronte (1816; d.1855), author of Jane Eyre, sister to Anne and Emily, sometimes writing under the name Currer Ellis, best known for novel Jane Eyre (1847); Massachusetts native, humorist, auctioneer, and realtor Josh Billings (1818), born Henry Wheeler Shaw; Philadelphia-born comedienne, writer, and director Elaine May (1932), nee Elaine Berlin, who wrote Heaven Can Wait and adapted the script for The Birdcage, among others; Ohio native and novelist Thomas McMahon (1943); Nigerian playwright and novelist Kolo Omotoso (1943); Junie B. Jones creator Barbara Park (1947)
Apr 22: English novelist and playwright Henry Fielding (1707; d.1754), author of Joseph Andrews (1742) and The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749), and cousin to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu; Richmond, Virginia-born novelist Ellen [Anderson Gholson] Glasgow (1874; d.1945), whose novels, including In This Our Life (1941; won 1942 Putlizer Prize), present an unsentimental social history of Virginia; Iowa-born (ended up in Tahiti) novelist and essayist James Norman Hall (1887), who with war buddy Charles Nordhoff wrote Mutiny on the Bounty (1932) and others; Paula Fox (1923); NYC-born poet Louise Glück (1942; 1999 interview with Glück), author of Wild Iris (1992), which won the Pulitzer Prize
Apr 23: Besides William Shakespeare (above), Oregon-born poet Edwin Markham (1852); New Zealand mystery writer, creator of Police Inspector Roderick Alleyn, Dame Edith Ngaio Marsh (1899); Russian novelist, poet, scholar, translator, and butterfly collector Vladimir Nabokov (1899); Icelandic novelist and 1955 Nobel Prize winner Halldor Laxness (1902); Brooklyn native (became Irish citizen 1967) and novelist J[ames] P[atrick] Donleavy (1926); Yorkshire native Victoria Glendinning (1937), famous for her biographies of Edith Sitwell and Vita Sackville-West, among others; African American novelist, short story writer, cartoonist, and reporter Charles [Richard] Johnson (1948), whose 1990 book Middle Passage won the National Book Award
Apr 24: English journalist, essayist, political tract writer, and novelist Daniel Defoe (1659; other sources say Sept. 1660; d.1731), born Daniel Foe, who wrote Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Moll Flanders (1722), among others; English novelist Anthony Trollope (1815); English novelist and playwright Elizabeth Goudge (1900); three-time Pulitzer Prize winning poet and novelist, and the first U.S. poet laureate, Robert Penn Warren (1905); American objectivist poet and political activist George Oppen (1908); mystery writer, creator of sleuth Kinsey Millhone and the "A is for Alibi" series, Sue Grafton (1940),
Apr 25: English poet, essayist, novelist, and accountant Walter De La Mare (1873; d.1956), aka Walter Ramal; NYC-born writer, journalist, and Pulitzer Prize winner J(ay) Anthony Lukas (1933), best known for reporting on controversial issues; Southern novelist Padgett Powell (1952).
Apr 26: Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume (1711; d.1776), who wrote A Treatise on Human Nature (1739-40), Essays Moral and Political (1741-42), Political Discourses (1752), and an exhaustive History of England (1754-62), among others; Maud Hart Lovelace (1892), creator of the Betsy-Tacy series of children's books; Canadian and long-time New York Times writer A[braham] H[enry] Raskin (1911), considered an authority on labor and industrial relations; NYC-born novelist and short-story writer Bernard Malamud (1914);
Apr 27: New Jersey native, female African-American editor and novelist Jessie Redmon Fauset (1882; d. 1961), who discovered and encouraged many writers during the Harlem Renaissance Madeline creator Ludwig Bemelmans (1898); Irish-born poet, critic, detective-story writer, British poet laureate in the 1960s C[ecil] Day Lewis (1904) aka Nicholas Blake; two-time Pulitzer Prize winning American playwright August Wilson, born in Pittsburgh, PA (1945).
Apr 28: Alabama-born [Nelle] Harper Lee (1926), who wrote To Kill A Mickingbird; Indianapolis-born editor and author of books on cartoons and comic strips, Bill Blackbeard (1926); teen writer Lois Duncan (1934); Terry [David John] Pratchett (1948), British sci-fi and fantasy writer, creator of Discworld; American poet (born Detroit) Carolyn Forche (1950),
Apr 29: San Francisco-born publisher and yellow-journalism practitioner William Randolph Hearst (1863); French-Canadian author and editor Gilbert La Rocque (1943); Louisiana-born Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa (1947)
Apr 30: Gertrude Stein companion and cookbook writer Alice B. Toklas (1877); American poet John Crowe Ransom (1888), born in Tennessee; children's book writer Harriet Sobol (1936); L.A.-born science-fiction writer Laurence (Larry) Van Cott Niven (1938); American author (born Pittsburgh) Annie Dillard (1945), who won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
MAY LITERARY BIRTHDAYS
Walt Whitman, May 26, 1819 - 1892
Extensive Walt Whitman Hypertext Archive; The Poetry of Walt Whitman (also directions to the Whitman house); The Academy of American Poets' Whitman's page; full text of Song of Myself; full text of Leaves of Grass
Elizabeth Coatsworth, May 31, 1893 - 1986
Coatsworth, born in Buffalo, NY, and a graduate of Vassar (1915) and Columbia (1916), was the wife of Henry Beston (married 1929) and lived with him in Hingham, Mass. and then on a farm in Nobleboro for decades. Coatsworth travelled widely, spending time in England, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Morocco, Japan, China, Mexico, the Philippines, and the Yucatan. She incorporates her travel memories into her writing.
Coatsworth wrote over 90 books, most of them children's books, including:
· The Cat and the Captain (1927),
· Toutou in Bondage (1929; the adventures of a fox terrier in Morocco),
· The Boy With the Parrot (1929; a story of Guatemala),
· Away Goes Sally (1934; travels from Mass. to Maine by ox team),
· Sword of the Wilderness (1936; Maine boy captured by Indians),
· Alice All By Herself (1937; 10-year-old girl in Damariscotta),
· Five Bushel Farm (1939; companion to Away Goes Sally),
· Houseboat Summer (1942; two children explore Damariscotta),
· Thief Island (1943; father and two kids on deserted Maine island),
· The Little Haymakers (1949; boy and pair of oxen),
· The Captain's Daughter (1950; setting is old Thomaston),
· Dollar for Luck (1951; on trading ship off Maine coast, late 19th century),
· Door to the North, A Saga of 14th Century America (1952),
· Cat Stories (1953),
· Mountain Bride (1954; modern version of old Abenaki Indian legend),
· The Last Fort, A Story of the French Voyageurs (1958),
· The Peaceable Kingdom and Other Poems (1958),
· The Nobel Doll (1961),
· Bob Bodden and the Goodship Rover (1968).
Coatsworth won the 1931 Newbury Award for her children's book, The Cat Who Went To Heaven (1930; set in Japan).
Her first novel, Here I Stay: A Maine Novel, was written in 1938. Her Maine Memories: Vignettes of Life around Damariscotta (1944) was the first of several autobiographical books, including Personal Geography: Almost an Autobiography (1976). Maine Ways (1945) contains stories and anecdotes of the Maine way of life.
Books of poems include her first book, Fox Footprints (1923), Atlas and Beyond (1924), Compass Rose (1929), Country Poems (1942), and Summer Green (1948). Her childrens poems are also included in Sung under the Silver Umbrella: Poems for Young Children (1935), which also includes poems by Rachel Field, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Laura E. Howe Richards. The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi has a short autobiography, photos, letters, and some material pertaining to Coatsworth's writing, as well a good and concise biographical sketch of her life and work.
[Eleanor] May Sarton, May 3, 1912 - July 15, 1995
Sarton was born in Belgium and emigrated to the U.S. with her family in 1916. There's not as much on the Web as one would expect for such a prolific and popular writer as May Sarton. A comprehensive Sarton bibliography is found on the Celebration of Women Writers page, as is a biographical sketch. Sojourner's magazine provides a short death notice. Summaries of some of her books are available online: a summary of her novel As We Are Now and a summary of her 1980 journal after breast cancer, Recovering.
In 1997 Margot Peters published a biography of Sarton, called simply May Sarton. Maine poet Constance Hunting has also edited two books about Sarton, May Sarton, Woman and Poet (1982) and A Celebration for May Sarton: Essays and Speeches from the National Conference "May Sarton at 80" (1994).
A May Sarton Bibliography:
Novels: The Single Hound, The Bridge of Years (1946), Shadow of a Man (1950), A Shower of Summer Days (1952), Faithful Are the Wounds (1955), The Birth of the Grandfather (1957), The Fur Person (1957 and 1978), The Small Room (1961), Joanna & Ulysses, The Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing (1965), Miss Pickthorn & Mr. Hare (1968), The Poet & the Donkey (1969), Kinds of Love (1970), As We Are Now (1973), Crucial Conversations (1975), A Reckoning (1978), Anger (1982), The Magnificent Spinster (1985), The Education of Harriet Hatfield (1989).
Poetry: Encounter in April, Inner Landscape, The Lion & the Rose, The Land of Silence, In Time Like Air, Cloud Stone Sun Vine, A Private Mythology, As Does New Hampshire (1967), A Grain of Mustard Seed (1971), A Durable Fire (1972), Collected Poems 1930-1973 (1974), Selected Poems of May Sarton (1978), Halfway to Silence (1980), Letters from Maine (1984), The Silence Now (1988; includes earlier uncollected poems as well as new poems), Collected Poems 1930-1993 (1993), Coming into Eighty (1994).
Books for Children: Punch's Secret, A Walk Through the Woods (1976).
Non-Fiction & Anthologies:I Knew A Phoenix: Sketches for an Autobiography (1959), Plant Dreaming Deep (1968), Journal of a Solitude (1973), A World of Light: Portraits & Celebrations (1976), The House by the Sea (1977), Recovering: A Journal (1980), May Sarton--A Self-Portrait (1982), At Seventy: A Journal (1984), Writings on Writing, After the Stroke: A Journal (1988), Honey in the Hive: Judith Matlack 1898-1982 (1988), Conversations with May Sarton, ed. Earl Ingersoll (1991), Sarton Selected: An Anthology of the Journals, Novels, and Poems of May Sarton (1991), Endgame: A Journal of the Seventy-Ninth Year (1992), Encore: A Journal of the Eightieth Year (1993), From May Sarton's Well: Writings of May Sarton (1994), At Eighty-Two: A Journal (1996), Selected Letters (1997), Dear Juliette (1999; letters from Sarton to Juliette Huxley).
Other May Birthdays:
May 1: English essayist and politician Joseph Addison (1672; d.1719); African-American poet, folklorist, and critic Sterling A. Brown (1901; d. 1989), born Washington D.C.; Swiss autobiographical fiction writer Niccolo Tucci (1908); novelist and Brooklyn native Joseph Heller (1923), famous for Catch-22; Texan Terry Southern, novelist and scriptwriter (1924; d.1995), who collaborated on screenplays for Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider, among others; Kentucky-born Bobbie Ann Mason (1940), author of In Country and Midnight Magic.
May 2: Jerome K. Jerome, author of the painfully funny Three Men in a Boat & Three Men on the Bummel .
May 3: Niccolo Machiavelli (1469), Italian writer and statesman, author of The Prince; Danish journalist and reformer Jacob Riis (1849), author of How The Other Half Lives; playwright and Kansan William Inge (1913), who wrote Picnic and Bus Stop.
May 4: English biologist and essayist Thomas Henry Huxley (1825; d.1895), chief advocate in his day of evolutionary theory and grandfather of biologist Julian Huxley (b. 1887) and novelist Aldous Huxley (b.7/26/1894); Irish poet, translator, and anthologist Thomas Kinsella (1928); Israeli writer Amos Oz (1939); London-born Booker Prize winning novelist Graham Swift (1949); Seattle-born novelist David Gutterson (1956), author of Snow Falling on Cedars.
May 5: German Karl Marx (1818), founder of modern Communism and co-author of Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto; intrepid American stunt journalist and social reformer Nellie Bly (1856), aka Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, known for her quick trip around the world.
May 6: Minneapolis native and Burma Shave jingle-writer Allan G. Odell (1903); illustrator and author of children's books Leo Lionni (1910); Nashville-born poet, translator, and critic Randall Jarrell (1914); Chilean poet, novelist, and playwright Ariel Dorfman (1942)
May 7: British poet Robert Browning (1812; d.1889), husband of Elizabeth Barrett Browning; Chicago native, African American poet, short story writer, and essayist Fenton Johnson (1888; d.1958), remembered for his free verse depictions of urban despair Illinois-born poet, playwright, lawyer, farmer, Librarian of Congress from 1939-1944, and winner of three Pulitzer prizes Archibald MacLeish (1892); literary critic, New Jersey native, and polyglot Edmund Wilson (1895); novelist and screenwriter (frequently for Ivory-Merchant films) Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1927), born in Cologne, Germany; American editor, critic, anthologist, and poet Darwin T[heodore Troy] Turner (1931; d.1991), an authority on African American literature
May 8: British historian Edward Gibbon (1737; d.1794), author of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788), written entirely from first sources; children and YA author Irene Hunt (1907); Harlem-raised writer of juvenile biographies of black figures Louise Meriwether (1923); she also wrote the acclaimed semi-autobiographical Daddy Was A Numbers Runner (1970); San-Francisco-born Pulitzer-prize winning poet Gary Snyder (1930); NY-born novelist Thomas (Ruggles) Pynchon (1937); Mississippi-born playwright Beth Henley aka Elizabeth Becker (1952), who authored "Crimes of the Heart."
May 9: Peter Pan creator Sir J[ames] M[atthew] Barrie (1860; d.1937), Scottish novelist and playwright; Washington, D.C. native, African-American novelist, short story writer, and physician Rudolph [John Chauncey] Fisher (1897; d.1934), who wrote the first black American detective novel, The Conjure-Man Dies: A Mystery Tale of Dark Harlem (1932); William Pene-DuBois (1916), author of Newbery Award winner The Twenty-One Balloons (1947); British novelist and Watership Down author Richard Adams (1920); Iowa poet Mona Van Duyn (1921), winner of the National Book Award and the first woman Poet Laureate of the U.S. (1992-93); British playwright Alan Bennett (1934), author of The Madness of King George; Yugoslavian-born, Pulitzer-prize-winning poet Charles Simic (1938);
May 10: Arizona-born African-American jazz and performance poet Jayne Cortez (1936), whose poetry is concerned with racial injustice and political oppression
May 11: Russian-born songwriter Irving Berlin (1888), author of "God Bless America" and "White Christmas," among many others; Nebraskan writer Mari Sandoz (1901), who wrote the six-volume Great Plains series; Canadian Incredible Journey author Sheila Burnford (1918); NYC-born novelist and short-story writer Stanley Elkin (1930); Barbadian poet, historian, and essayist Edward Kamau Brathwaite (1930)
May 12: Nonsense poet Edward Lear (1812); Pre-Raphaelite poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti nee Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti (1828); Singapore-born mystery writer, creator of Simon Templar (The Saint), Leslie Charteris nee Leslie Charles Bowyer Yin (1907); writer of animal stories Farley Mowat (1921); Philadelphia-born novelist and poet Rosellen Brown (1939)
May 13: British diarist and journalist Henry Crabb Robinson (1775); British novelist Daphne Du Maurier (1907), author of Rebecca (1939); children's author Norma Klein (1938); children's author, Sweet Valley High creator, Francine Pascal (1938); British travel writer and novelist (Charles) Bruce Chatwin (1940), author of In Patagonia; Boston native and short-story writer and novelist Rachel Ingalls (1940); San-Francisco Chronicle columnist and novelist (born NC) Armistead Maupin nee Armistead Jones (1944)
May 14: Nebraskan journalist and novelist Hal (Harold Glen) Borland (1900)
May 15: Oz creator L. Frank Baum (1856); Virginian historian, biographer, and Pulitzer Prize winner Douglas Southall Freeman (1886), who wrote the four-volume R.E. Lee (1934) as well as a seven-volume biography of George Washington; Texas-born storywriter and novelist Katherine Anne Porter nee Callie Russell Porter (1890); Russian (Ukrainian) novelist/satirist Mikhail Bulgakov (1891), author of The Master and Margarita (1967); English novelist H[erbert] E[rnest] Bates (1905), best known for The Darling Buds of May (1958); twin Liverpudlian playwrights Peter Shaffer (Equus, Amadeus) and Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth) (1926); children's writer Norma Fox Mazer (1931); young adult writer Paul Zindel (1936)
May 16: Massachusetts-born teacher and publisher Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1804), who introduced the concept of childhood education to America; oral historian and Bronx-native (Louis) "Studs" Terkel (1912); Baltimore-born feminist poet Adrienne Rich (1929), author of Diving into the Wreck, among many; kids' author Bruce Coville (1950)
May 17: British novelist and stream-of-consciousness pioneer Dorothy M[iller] Richardson (1873); Wisconsin-born novelist and forger Frederic Prokosch (1908), best known for The Asiatics (1935); North Carolina-born African American children's author Eloise Greenfield (1929); Swedish playwright, novelist, and poet Lars Gustafsson (1936); writer of books for children and young adults, Gary Paulsen (1939), author of Dogsong (1985) and Hatchet (1987), among others
May 18: British philosopher, mathematician, pacifist, and author Bertrand Russell (1872), who won the 1950 Literature Nobel Prize, partly for A History of Western Philosophy (1945); Illinois-native Patrick Dennis (1921), who wrote the novel Auntie Mame, Manhattan-born (lives Ireland) adult and young adult fantasy/sci-fi writer Diane Duane (1952)
May 19: Kansas-born journalist and novelist Jim Lehrer (1934), host of the PBS show "The News Hour;"; Chicago-born African-American playwright Lorraine Vivian Hansberry (1930), famous for Raisin in the Sun (1959); Canadian banker, convict, and Edgar Award winning mystery writer Paul Erdman (1932); New Yorker director and screenwriter Nora Ephron (1941), sister of Delia Ephron, and writer or director of When Harry Met Sally (1989), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), and You’ve Got Mail (1998)
May 20: French novelist Honoré de Balzac (1799; d.1850), who wrote The Human Comedy in 80 volumes; Norwegian novelist Sigurd Undset (1882), famous for her Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy
May 21: Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265), author of The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Parasdiso; British poet, critic, translator, and satirist Alexander Pope (1688); NYC-born popular novelist Harold Robbins aka Francis Kane (1916); Massachusetts poet Robert Creeley (1926)
May 22: Sherlock Holmes' alter ego, Scottish-born physician, novelist, and historian Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859; d.1930); NYC-born writer Peter Matthiessen (1927), whose memoir The Snow Leopard (1978) won the National Book Award
May 23: American actor, playwright and diplomat John Howard Payne (1791); English poet and humourist Thomas Hood (1799; d.1845); Massachusetts-born journalist, social reformer, critic, and foreign correspondent for the New York Tribune, Margaret Fuller (1810; d.1850 in a boat fire); Los Angeles-born Newbery Medal winner Scott O'Dell (1898), author of The Island Of The Blue Dolphin; British/Irish poet and memoirist Sheila Wingfield (1906); prolific children's author Margaret Wise Brown (1910)
May 24: English playwright Sir Arthur Wing Pinero (1855), a popular and prolific English dramatist during his time; Nobel Prize winning Russian novelist and Communist supporter Mikhail A. Sholokhov (1905); Irish writer and sculptor William Trevor nee William Trevor Cox (1928); Nobel Prize winning Russian poet Joseph Brodsky (1940)
May 25: English writer and politican Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton (1803; d.1873), best known for his historical novels, such as The Last Days of Pompeii (1834); American (Boston born) transcendentalist, essayist, philosopher, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803; d.1882), liberal in politics and philosophy, yet skeptical of doctrinaire positions; Michigan-born poet and 1954 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry Theodore Roethke (1908); NYC-born spy thriller novelist Robert Ludlum (1927; d.2001); Oregonian short-story writer and poet Raymond [Clevie] Carver (1938; d.1988); American novelist (born Antigua), essayist, and short story writer Jamaica Kincaid nee Elaine Potter Richardson (1949)
May 26: Mississippi-born New York poet Maxwell Bodenheim nee Maxwell Bodenheimer (1893), known as the Bard of Greenwich Village in the 1920s; NYC-born poet Michael Benedikt (1935)
May 27: English novelist [Enoch] Arnold Bennett (1867; d.1931), who wrote over 30 novels and short story collections portraying lower middle-class life in the Midlands; French novelist and physician Louis Ferdinand Céline (1894; d.1961), aka Louis Fuch Destouches, whose hallucinatory and crude novels prefigured the literature of the absurd; NYC-born novelist Herman Wouk (1915), who won a Pulitzer for his novel The Caine Mutiny; Oklahoman mystery writer and journalist Tony Hillerman (1925); cerebral novelist, Maryland-born John Barth (1930); children's author M.E. Kerr (1932; aka Marijane Meaker Kerr); NYC-born poet Linda Pastan (1932); environmentalist writer Rachel Carson (1907)
May 28: James Bond creator and Brit Ian Fleming (1908); Southern novelist (born Alabama) Walker Percy (1916); Utah native and poet May Swenson (1919); Connecticut-born writer of books about rich people Stephen Birmingham (1932)
May 29: Prolific British essayist, literary critic, novelist, and poet, and short-story writer, and creator of detective Father Brown, G[ilbert] K[eith] Chesterton (1874; d.1936); British (born India) novelist T[erence] H[anbury] White (1906), best known for novels about the Arthurian legend; New Jersey native Andrew Clements (1949), children's book writer
May 30: Kentucky-born (NYC raised) Harlem Renaissance poet and children's writer Countee Cullen (1903); British ghost-story writer R. Chetwynd-Hayes (1919)
May 31: Besides Elizabeth Coatsworth and Walt Whitman, above: Mississippi-born novelist and poet Al Young (1939)
JUNE LITERARY BIRTHDAYS
William Butler Yeats, Irish poet, June 13, 1865 - Jan. 28 1939
Extensive biography of Yeats from 1938 "Atlantic Monthly;" Yeats' poetry, info on the summer school, and a map of Sligo from the Yeats Society in Sligo, Ireland; includes text of "The Lake Isle of Innisfree." For text of about 300 Yeats' poems, see the web site The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats, maintained by John F. Critically Yeats is a collection of annotated links to newsletters, journals, organisations, and other references for those researching Yeats. Yeats has a page -- with bio, poems, and links -- on The Academy of American Poets' Find-A-Poet page.
Pearl S. Buck, writer and humanitarian, June 26, 1892 - March 1973
"One of the most renowned, interesting, and controversial figures ever to influence American and Chinese cultural and literary history." Pearl Buck Home Page, containing a biography, bibliography, photos, and excerpts from Buck's works; The Pearl S. Buck Foundation, an international child assistance/sponsorship and adoption agency; a few quotes from Buck's works.
Dorothy L. Sayers, mystery novelist and Christian writer, June 13, 1893 - Dec. 17, 1957
Biography and links from the Dorothy L. Sayers Society; extensive critical info on Sayers' texts from the Classic Mystery and Detection Home Page; List of Sayers' works.
Athol Fugard, South African anti-apartheid playwright, June 11, 1932 -
Fugard was born in Cape Province, South Africa. He worked as a crew member on a steamer ship and as a journalist before co-founding a theatre in South Africa. In 1961, he was recognised for his play The Blood Knot, and he has since written many more plays, which often address apartheid and other political issues, as well as novels and teleplays. Plays include Boesman and Lena (1969), The Island (1972), Sizwe Banzi is Dead (1972), A Lesson from Aloes (1978), Master Harold...And the Boys (1982), The Road to Mecca (1984), A Place with the Pigs (1987), My Children! My Africa! (1989), Playland (1992), Valley Song (1995), and The Captain's Tiger (1999).
On-line information: Short backgrounder of Fugard; 1995 article on Fugard from Brown University's alumni magazine; summary of Fugard's play, The Road to Mecca.
Nikki Giovanni, American poet & civil rights promoter, June 7, 1943 -
Nikki Giovanni Home Page; Giovanni's page on The Academy of American Poets' site; full text of Giovanni's poem Nikki-Rosa; full text of Giovanni's poem Ego-Trippin; full text of Giovanni's poem Choices.
Other June Birthdays:
June 1: Canadian lyric poet William Wilfred Campbell (1861); John Masefield, English poet (1878); Nebraskan-born historian and writer Christopher Lasch (1932); Australian novelist Colleen McCullough (1937), author of The Thorn Birds (1977)
June 2: Comte Donatien-Alphonse-Fransois de Sade, aka the Marquis de Sade (1740); Thomas Hardy, English novelist and poet (1840; d.1928), well-known for Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891) and Far from the Madding Crowd (1874); Danish poet/novelist and 1917 Nobel prize winner Karl Gjellerup (1857); African American short-story writer, novelist, and publisher Dorothy West, born Boston (1907), whose journal Challenge published many of the Harlem Renaissance writers; British comic and mystery novelist Barbara Pym (1913); Illinois-born novelist Carol Shields (1935), who won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for The Stone Diaries
June 3: Beat poet Allen Ginsberg (1926); Texas novelist Larry McMurtry (1936), author of The Last Picture Show and Lonesome Dove, among others.
June 4: Haitian poet, novelist, and short story writer Jacques Roumain (1907; d.1944); NY playwright, screenwriter, and novelist Robert Anderson (1917)
June 5: English novelist Ivy Compton-Burnett (1884); Andalusian poet and dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca (1898); the best busy children's author ever Richard Scarry (1919); Irish novelist Christy Brown (1932); best-selling British author Ken Follett (1939); novelist Margaret Drabble (1939)
June 6: French playwright and the "father of French tragedy," Pierre Corneille (1606; d.1684), who wrote many comedies but was most famous for his tragedy, El Cid (1636 or 1637), which was based on Guillén de Castro's Las Mocedades del Cid; American playwright, actor, and inventor Steele MacKaye (1842); German novelist and 1929 Nobelist Thomas Mann (1875); Russian writer Aleksandr Pushkin (1799); Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, novelist, and children's author Maxine Kumin (1925); U.S. children's author Cynthia Rylant (1954)
June 7: Besides Giovanni, above: R[ichard] D[odderidge] Blackmore (1825), English novelist; Irish novelist and short story writer Elizabeth Bowen (1899); African-American poet, Kansas-born and Chicago-raised, Gwendolyn Brooks (1917)
June 8: Charles Reade (1814), English dramatist and novelist, author of The Cloister and the Hearth; Belgian-born Marguerite Yourcenar (1903), who wrote Memoirs of Hadrian; American mystery writer Sara Paretsky (1947)
June 9: American playwright, actor, and collaborator of Washington Irving's, John Howard Payne (1791); Austrian novelist and pacifist Bertha von Suttner (1843); S[amuel] N[athaniel] Behrman (1893), Mass. playwright; forensic mystery writer Patricia Cornwell (1956)
June 10: Writer Immanuel Velikovsky (1895); playwright Terence Rattigan (1911); American-Jewish author Saul Bellow (1915/1914?); children's author Maurice Sendak (1928)
June 11: Besides Fugard, above: English Jacobean playwright and poet Ben Jonson (1572; d.1637), who penned the comedies Volpone (1606) and The Alchemist (1610), among others; Japanese novelist, first Japanese to win Nobel prize for literature, in 1968, Yasunari Kawabata (1899); Argentinian philosophical novelist/critic Leopoldo Marechal (1900); Virginia writer William Styron (1925; Sophie's Choice)
June 12: Charles Kingsley, English novelist, poet and clergyman (1819; d.1875), author of westerns and the well-known children's story The Water Babies (1863), and one of the few clergymen of his time to accept Darwin's theory of evolution; Heidi author Johanna Spyri (1829); American poet, author, and illustrator Djuna Barnes (1892); diarist and Holocaust victim Anne Frank (1929); novelist Rona Jaffe (1932)
June 13: Besides Yeats and Sayers, above: English novelist and diarist Frances (Fanny) [Madame d'Arblay] Burney (1752; d.1840), creator of the novel of manners whose plot revolves on the experiences of an innocent and virtuous girl entering society; Illinois poet and 1940 Pulitzer prize winner Mark Van Doren (1894)
June 14: Uncle Tom's Cabin writer Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811); John Gibson Lockhart (1794), British lawyer, novelist and critic; John Bartlett (1820), Masachusetts-born editor, of Bartlett's Quotations fame; José Carlos Mariaátegu (1895), Peruvian essayist; Scottish poet, editor, and novelist Ruthven Todd (1914); novelist Jerzy Kosinski (1933); Pittsburgh-raised African American novelist John Edgar Wideman (1941), who won the PEN/Faulkner Award for both Philadelphia Fire (1990) and Sent For You Yesterday (1983);
June 15: English poet and dramatist Thomas Randolph (1605); Dutch novelist Maria Dermot (1888); poet and dance critic for the New York Times Jack Anderson (1935); Liverpudlian creator of Redwall Brian Jacques (1939); Xaveria Hollander, author of The Happy Hooker (1942)
June 16: John Cleveland, British metaphysical poet (1613); Alabama native, African American novelist and essayist Albert L. Murray (1916), who incorporated a blues aesthetic into his novels; white-man-turned-black, John Howard Griffin, U.S. photographer and author of Black Like Me (1920); Swiss-born (lived New York City) young adult novelist and Gothic mystery writer Isabelle Holland (1920; d.2002); novelist Joyce Carol Oates (1938); Love Story author Erich Segal (1937)
June 17: Henry Lawson, Australian short story and ballad writer (1867); Florida-born poet, diplomat, and African-American anthologist James Weldon Johnson (1871; d.1938 in Maine); James Cameron, foreign correspondent (1911); novelist John Hersey (born 1914 in China)
June 18: Russian novelist and travel writer Ivan [Alexandrovich] Goncharov (1812; d.1891), whose greatest work is Oblomov (1859), a satire on Old World Russia; Alexander Balloch Grosart, British author and editor (1827); Philip Barry, U.S. dramatist (1896); financial writer Sylvia Porter (1913); Alabama-born novelist Gail Godwin (1937); Michigan-born children's book illustrator and storyteller Chris Van Allsburg (1949)
June 19: French philosopher and writer of the Pensees, Blaise Pascal (1623); Laura Z. Hobson (1900), NYC-born novelist, wrote Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), which was made into a movie and won an Academy Award for Best Picture; Japanese writer and suicide Dazai Osamu (1909); Scottish poet Tom Buchan (1931); Alabama-born fiction writer and reporter Tobias Wolff (1945); exiled Indian (born Bombay) writer Salman Rushdie (1947)
June 20: Nicholas Rowe, English poet (1674); British writer, poet, and editor Anna Barbauld (1743); Cleveland-born Charles W[addell] Chesnutt (1858), the first important African-American novelist; Mississippi native and longtime Chicago Public Library system librarian, educator, and biographer Charlemae Hill Rollins (1897; d.1979), who worked to end the stereotyped portrayal of blacks in children's literature; New Orleans-born playwright Lillian Hellman (1905; Hellman's FBI file); Indian poet, novelist, and travel writer Vikram Seth (1952)
June 21: William Edmonstoune Aytoun, Scottish poet and humourist (1747); Brazilian novelist and short story writer Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839; d.1908), considered the foremost Brazilian man of letters at the end of the 19th century; existentialist philosopher and author Jean-Paul Sartre (1905); Seattle-born novelist Mary McCarthy (1912); Kentucky native, fiction writer and journalist Ann Allen Shockley (1927), whose fiction portrays the difficulties of the black lesbian experience; French novelist Francoise Sagan (born Françoise Quoirez) (1935); Virginia-born, sometime Maine resident, Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Henry Taylor (1942); British novelist and Booker Prize Winner Ian McEwan (1948)
June 22: Sir Henry Rider Haggard, English romantic novelist (1856); German novelist Erich Maria Remarque aka Erich Paul Remark (1898); NJ-born author and aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906); California native, African-American sci-fi novelist Octavia E. Butler (1947), winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards
June 23: Writer and humorist Irvin S. Cobb (1876); Russian (Ukrainian) poet Anna Akhmatova (1888; d.1966) nee Anna Andreyevna Gorenko; Frank Fraser Darling, British/Scottish naturalist and author (1903); post-war German novelist Wolfgang Koeppen (1906; cited page in German); French dramatist Jean Anouilh (1910); Pittsburgh-born novelist David Leavitt (1961).
June 24: St. John of the Cross (1542; d.1591), aka San Juan de la Cruz, born Juan de Yepes y Alvarez, Spanish poet and Carmelite priest, famous for three mystical poems, including La Noche oscura del alma (published 1618; transl. as Dark Night of the Soul); Ohio native, journalist, short story writer, and The Devil's Dictionary author Ambrose [Gwinett] Bierce (1842; d.1914?; lost in Mexico); Ernesto Sábato, Argentinian physics professor, novelist, and winner of the 1984 Cervantes Prize (1911; cited page is in Spanish); Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins (1912); Boston-born poet, critic, and translator John Ciardi (1916); Bengali-German novelist Anita Desai (1937, born India), whose wrote Cry, the Peacock (1963); NYC-born poet Stephen Dunn (1939).
June 25: New York-born George Abbott, producer, director, actor, and playwright (1887); British futurist George Orwell (1903; born Bengal; aka Eric Arthur Blair); British novelist and biographer Nicholas Mosley (1923); Mrs. Pollifax creator and Maine resident Dorothy Gilman (1924, born in New Jersey); Massachusetts children's book illustrator Eric Carle (1929).
June 26: Besides Pearl Buck, above: John Mactaggart, encyclopedist and civil engineer, author of Mactaggart's Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia (1791); English novelist, author of The Outsider, Colin Wilson (1931); Philadelphia-born novelist and poet Philadelphia native Barbara De Wayne Chase-Riboud (1939), sculptor, novelist, and poet, author of the best-selling Sally Hemings (1979); another Pennsylvania native, thriller writer Thomas Boyle (1939).
June 27: Dutch writer and poet Everhardus Johannes Potgieter (1808); Bengali novelist Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838); [Patricio] Lafcadio [Tessima Carlos] Hearn, Greek-Anglo-Irish-Japanese author and translator (born 1850 in Greece; d.1904), whose forte was macabre and exotic tales, and who wrote a number of books revealing an acute understanding of the culture and character of his adopted homeland, Japan; Bulgarian poet, novelist, playwright Ivan Vazov (1850); Ohio-born African-American poet, novelist, and short story writer Paul Lawrence Dunbar (1872; d.1906; lots of Dunbar texts); Helen Keller, Alabama-born deaf/mute/blind writer (1880); W.L. Lorimer, author of The New Testament in Scots (1885); Welsh poet and friend of Dylan Thomas, poet Vernon P. Watkins (1906); Baltimore-born poet, playwright, and art critic Frank O'Hara (1926); African-American NY-born poet [Thelma] Lucille Clifton (1936); British science-fiction writer James P[atrick] Hogan (1941); Brooklyn native, novelist Alice McDermott (1953)
June 28: Swiss "Father of the Romanticism" and author of the Confessions Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712); Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello, most famous for his play "Six Characters in Search of an Author" (1867; cited page is in Italian; Pirandello page in English); English suspense author Eric Ambler (1909); Mark Helprin, NY-born storywriter and novelist (1947); Colorado-born poet and novelist Jane Ransom (1958).
June 29: French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900); Wisconsin-born historian and writer John Toland (1912), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945 (1970); West Virginia short story writer and Pulitzer Prize nominee Breece Dexter Pancake (1952).
June 30: English dramatist John Gay (1685; "Beggar's Opera"); Alexander Dyce, Scottish scholar and editor (1798); British suspense novelist Winston (Mawdsley) Graham (1910), whose novel Marnie was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock; Polish-American poet Czeslaw Milosz (1911); Scottish children's novelist Molly Hunter (1922); popular American children's author and illustrator David McPhail (1940)
JULY LITERARY BIRTHDAYS
William Makepeace Thackeray, Victorian novelist, July 18, 1811 - Dec. 24, 1863
Extensive overview of Thackery from The Victorian Web, including biographical materials, articles, drawings, bibliography, criticism, etc.; an 1865 review of Vanity Fair from "The Atlantic Monthly;" a facsimile copy of The Chronicle of the Drum.
Henry David Thoreau, American writer and Transcendentalist, July 12, 1817 - May 6, 1862
The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau - very good site, with correspondence, handwriting, manuscripts, life and times, Thoreau FAQ, further reading, lots of related links, more; full texts of several of Thoreau's writings, including Civil Disobedience, Life Without Principle, Slavery in Massachusetts, and A Plea for Captain John Brown. Also, a botanical index to Thoreau's journal.
Ernest [Miller] Hemingway, American novelist and short-story writer, July 21, 1899 - July 2, 1961
Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois; his father, a doctor, took him on hunting and fishing trips in Michigan, the setting of Hemingway's first short stories. In World War I, he served first as an ambulance driver in Italy, then was seriously wounded while serving with the Italian army. In the early 1920s, he worked in Europe as a newspaper correspondent for the Toronto Star, where he met Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound in Paris; this time is chronicled in his memoir, A Moveable Feast (1964). Married four times, Hemingway ended his own life with a shotgun in Ketchum, Idaho.
Hemingway's first novel was The Torrents of Spring (1924), followed by The Sun Also Rises (1926), and two non-fiction works, Death in the Afternoon (1932) and The Green Hills of Africa (1935). During the Spanish Civil War, Hemingway again worked as a news correspondent and from that experience wrote the play The Fifth Column (1938) and the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). He then lived in Key West, Florida, and finally settled in Cuba from 1939 to 1960, writing Across the River and Into the Trees (1950) and The Old Man and the Sea (1953), which won the 1953 Pulitzer prize; he also won the 1954 Nobel prize for literature. The novel Islands in the Stream (1970) was published after his death.
Two great sites: The Hemingway Resource Center, hosted by Mark Wilson, and Ernest Hemingway: His Life and Works. For a quick bio and more links, try the Nobel Prize Page on Hemingway. A new site of interest: The Hemingway Weblog.
Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner, 12 July 1904 - September 1973
Neruda, hosted by the Universidad de Chile (en Espanol), with timeline, bio, works, interviews, criticism, collections, and Neruda Foundation info; Neruda bio and bibliography from Kuusankoski Public Library (Finland), in English; Nobel Prize page on Neruda, with links to poems.
Other July Birthdays:
July 1: French novelistGeorge Sand (1804) aka Aurore Dudevant; Cincinnati-born teacher and editor William Strunk, Jr. (1869), who, with E.B. White, wrote the enduring The Elements of Style; Minnesotan novelist James McCain (1892, born Annapolis MD); Georgia native, Harlem Renaissance novelist, essayist, and political activist Walter [Francis] White (1893; d.1955); Irna Phillips (1903), radio script writer who developed the soap opera genre as well as most famous radio and TV soap operas, including "Guiding Light;" Juan Carlos Onetti (1909), Uruguayan novelist and short-story writer (later became Spanish citizen); California-born novelist, short story writer, and Pulitzer Prize winner Jean Stafford (1915)
July 2: German-Swiss novelist and poet Hermann Hesse (1877; d.1962), who received the Nobel prize for literature in 1923, and whose novels, including Siddhartha (1922) and Magister Ludi (1943), are lyrical, mystical, and symbolic; Polish poet and Nobel Prize winner Wislawa Szymborska (1923); English novelist Francis Wyndham (1924), who wrote of wartime Britain; Philadelphia-born African-American dramatist Ed Bullins (1935) aka Kingsley B. Bass, Jr.; Chicago-born artist and feminist Judy Chicago [born Gerowitz] (1939)
July 3: New Englander and feminist theorist, social critic, essayist, lecturer and writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860), author of The Yellow Wallpaper (1892), among others; Czech writer Franz Kafka (1883; d.1924), whose novels -- including Der Prozess (1925; transl. The Trial) and Das Schloss (1926; transl. The Castle) -- were published against his wishes after his death; Connecticut-born biographer, short story writer, and novelist Francis Steegmuller (1906); Michigan-born food lover and writer M.F.K Fisher (1908); English novelist and short story writer Elizabeth Taylor (1912); NYC-born folklorist and children's author and illustrator Ashley F. Bryan (1923); Southern novelist John Yount (1935); Tony-winning playwright Tom Stoppard (1937)
July 4: Saxony poet and novelist Christian Gellert (1715); American novelist and short story writer (born Salem, Mass.) Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804; d.1864), author of The House of the Seven Gables (1851) and The Scarlet Letter (1850), among others; American song writer Stephen Collins Foster (1826; d.1864), who penned Oh! Susanna (1848) and My Old Kentucky Home (1853), among many; Mao Tun aka Shen Yan-bing, Shen Dehong(1896), Chinese novelist, editor, and communist ideologue; author Lionel Trilling (1905); American playwright Neil Simon (1927); Illinois native, African American beat poet, jazz musician, and surrealist painter Ted Joans (1928)
July 5: English traveler, linguist, and prose writer George Borrow (1803; d.1881; a number of Borrow's works); French writer, artist, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau (1889; d.1963); African American poet, educator, and publisher Naomi Long Madgett (1925) aka Naomi Cornelia Long and Naomi Long Witherspoon, important for her role in introducing African American literature into school classrooms
July 6: Swedish poet and novelist Verner von Heidenstam (1859); Finnish poet, playwright, and novelist Eino Leino (1878); Botswanian novelist and short story writer (born in South Africa) Bessie [Amalia Emery] Head (1937; d.1986)
July 7: Jan Neruda (1834), Czech writer and poet of the Czech Realism school; Soviet Georgian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893); prolific Croation novelist, poet, essayist, short-story writer, and playwright Miroslav Krleza (1893); Missouri-born science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein (1907), who wrote the classic Stranger in a Strange Land (1961); Kentucky novelist (wrote The Dollmaker) Harriette Arnow (1908); Alabama native, African American poet and novelist Margaret [Abigail] Walker (1915); American writer Jean Kerr (1923); Native American novelist (raised in North Dakota) Louise Erdrich (1954)
July 8: Prolific French poet and fable-writer Jean de La Fontaine (1621; d.1695), whose major work, Fables (1668-1694), was published in 12 volumes; American satirical poet (born Connecticut) Fitz-Greene Halleck (1790; d.1867), member of the Knickerbocker Group with Washington Irving, William Cullen Bryant, and others; NY-born journalist Dorothy Thompson (1894), the first journalist to be expelled from Germany by the Nazis; Evelyn Waugh's brother, the novelist Alec Waugh (1898), who wrote Island in the Sun; On Death and Dying author Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (1926), born in Zurich, Switzerland; Southern novelist, short-story writer, and Pulitzer Prize winner Shirley Ann Grau (1929); British neurologist Oliver Sacks (1933), who wrote Awakenings (later made into a movie), and a number of popular books on neurological phenomena; Harlem-born poet June Jordan (1936); Philadelphia native, columnist and novelist Anna Quindlen (1953)
July 9: English romance novelist [Mary] Barbara [Hamilton] Cartland aka Barbara McCorquodale (1901), who wrote over 600 books; Harlem-born poet, novelist, children's author, and essayist June Jordan (1936) aka June Meyer
July 10: London-born English naval officer and adventure novelist Captain Frederick Marryat (1792) French novelist (Remembrance of Things Past) Marcel Proust (1871); Canadian short story writer Alice Munro (1931)
July 11: Robert Greene, English dramatist (1558); NYC-born Susan Bogert Warner (1819), prolific and popular novelist, the first American author to sell a million copies of one book; New England writer E.B. White (1899); NYC native literary critic Harold Bloom (1930); historian and Pulitzer Prize winner Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, born in Idaho (1938), author of A Midwife's Tale
July 12: In addition to Thoreau and Neruda, German lyric poet and translator Stefan [Anton] George (1868; d. 1933), known for his linguistic inventiveness and originality, which inspired his followers, the George Circle; Indiana-born artist and children's author (international "twins" series) Lucy Fitch Perkins (1865); musical comedy lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania (1895) and collaborator on the musicals Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music; novelist, essayist, and memoirist Doris Grumbach, born in New York City (1918); NYC-born mystery writer Donald Westlake (1933)
July 13: English "peasant" poet John Clare (1793; d.1864); Russian short story writer, playwright, and war correspondent Isaac Babel (1894); U.S. novelist and playwright David (Malcolm) Storey (1933); Nigerian dramatist, poet, and novelist Wole Soyinka (1934; 1998 Soyinka interview/background), the first black to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature
July 14: Owen Wister (1860), writer of Westerns (The Virginian); U.S. author Irving Stone (1903); Yiddish/Polish novelist and Nobelist Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904) nee Yitskhek Bashyevis Zinger; Oklahoma songwriter/singer Woody Guthrie nee Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (1912); Italian novelist Natalia Ginzburg (1916); playwright (West Side Story, Gypsy) Arthur Laurents (1918)
July 15: Clement Clarke Moore (1779), author of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas; Sussex-born adventure writer [Ralph] Hammond Innes (1913); Irish novelist Dame Iris Murdoch (1919); French-Moroccan novelist Driss Chraïbi (1926), father of the modern Morrocan novel; English playwright Ann Jellicoe (1927)
July 16: Finnish poet (fable poems), theologian, memoirist, and novelist Lauri Pohjanpää aka Lauri Nordqvist (1889); Ohio native, African-American poet, essayist, dramatist, and TV producer Mari Evans (1923); British novelist and art historian Anita Brookner (1928); Cuban novelist Reinaldo Arenas (1943)
July 17: Israeli novelist Shmuel Agnon (1888); Perry Mason-creator Erle Stanley Gardner (1889); Australian novelist Christina Stead (1902), whose best-known novel is The Man Who Loved Children; Paris-born short-story writer, essayist, novelist, feminist, and social critic Christiane Rochefort (1917); American journalist (born Vienna) Erwin Knoll (1931), editor-in-chief (1973-94) for The Progressive magazine;
July 18: Besides Thackeray, French poet Tristan Corbiere (1845; d.1875), born Edouard Joachim Corbiere, precursor of the surrealist and symbolist movements; Russian-born French novelist, literary critic, and leading theorist of the nouveau roman Nathalie Sarraute aka Nathalie Ilyanova Tcherniak (1900; page cited in French); Indiana-born novelist Jessamyn West (1902); U.S. playwright Clifford Odets (1906); Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko (1933); American journalist Hunter S. Thompson (1939)
July 19: Gottfried Keller (1819; page cited in German), German-Swiss writer of the realistic school; New Orleans native, poet, essayist, columnist, and short story writer Alice Moore Dunbar Nelson (1875; d.1935), one of the first black women to distinguish herself in American literature; A.J. Cronin (1896), English author of Citadel, Shining Victory; Chester Himes (1909), African-American (born Missouri, stories set in Harlem, lived Paris and Spain) detective story writer; West-Virginia native and thriller writer Stephen Coonts (1946); West Virginian short-story writer and novelist Jayne Anne Phillips (1952); Philadelphia-born novelist and columnist Denise Gess (1952)
July 20: Renaissance man of letters Francesco Petrarch (1304); Swedish poet and 1931 Literature Nobelist Erik Karlfeldt (1864); French (born Martinique, Carribean) revolutionary Frantz Fanon (1925), whose writings influenced the radical movements in the 1960s in the U.S. and Europe; Rhode Island-born, Tennessee-raised novelist Cormac McCarthy (1933); Arkansas-born novelist, short story writer, and poet Henry L. Dumas (1934; d. 1968)
July 21: Besides Hemingway, novelist Frances Parkinson Keyes (1885); Ohio-born poet [Harold] Hart Crane (1899; d.1932, leapt to death from ship as he was returning from Mexico to New York), whose most famous work is The Bridge (1930); American writer and icon Ernest "Papa" Hemingway (1899); Finnish poet and translator Yrjö Jylhä (1903); Canadian writer and media analyst Marshall McLuhan (1911); prolific Algerian French-language novelist, short story writer, and poet Mohammed Dib (1920), author of the trilogy Algérie (1952-1954); NY-born novelist and teacher John Gardner (1933); Washington-born poet Tess Gallagher (1943); Nigerian novelist and children's author Buchi Emecheta (1944), who divorced her husband after he read and burned her first novel
July 22: Emma Lazarus, whose poetry is enscribed on the Statue of Liberty (1849); Estonian-born Finnish writer, prominent playwright, Marxist, and businesswoman Hella Maria Wuolijoki (1886) nee Murrik, aka Juhani Tervapää; U.S. poet Stephen Vincent Benet (1898; poem "American Names"); Massachusetts-born mystery writer and alter ego of Bartholomew Gill, Mark McGarrity (1943); novelist and children's book writer Caroliva Herron, born in Washington, D.C. (1947); Los Angelos native and novelist David Shields (1956), who wrote the 1989 comic novel Dead Languages
July 23: Chicago-born mystery writer and creator of Philip Marlowe Raymond Chandler (1888); Brooklyn-born Hubert Selby, Jr. (1928), known for his violent novels, including Last Exit to Brooklyn; Novelist John Nichols (1940), who wrote The Sterile Cuckoo and The Milagro Beanfield War; Native Californian Nancy Mairs (1943), poet and autobiographical essayist; Tennessee native (but Vermonter by choice) and novelist, best known for Kinflicks, 1976, Lisa Alther (1944); Ohio-born short story writer Lynn Lauber (1953)
July 24: Three Musketeers creator Alexandre Dumas pere (1802; d.1870), born Davy de la Pailleterie Dumas; Danish writer and 1917 Literature Nobelist Henrik Pontoppidan (1857; reference cited is in English and Danish); Japanese novelist Junichiro Tanizaki (1886), best known for Makioka Sisters (1943-48), an account of a traditional, pre-World War II Osaka family; British poet and novelist Robert Graves (1895); Irish poet and dramatist Lord Edward [John Moreton Crax Plunkett] Dunsany, 18th baron (1878; d.1957); Alabama-born writer and wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald(1900; list of Zelda's works); crime novelist and creator of Travis McGee, John D. MacDonald (1916)
July 25: Bulgarian/British novelist and Nobelist Elias Canetti (1905); Minnesota-born editor, writer, birth control proponent Midge Decter (1927), author of The Liberated Woman and Other Americans (1970) and editor at Commentary magazine; Tennessee-born poet, novelist, playwright, and short story writer David Madden (1933); native Minnesotan historical novelist Robyn Carr (1951)
July 26: Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856); British novelist and essayist (though lived in California from 1930s to death), Aldous [Leonard] Huxley (1894; d.1963), best known for novel Brave New World (1932); strongly influential through short-lived Indonesian poet (born Sumatra) Anwar Chairil (1922); Massachusetts native and science-fiction writer Lawrence Watt-Evans (1954)
July 27: Italian poet and critic Giosue Carducci (1835; d.1907), won 1906 Nobel Prize for Literature, regarded as national poet of modern Italy; Anglo-French poet, essayist, historian, satirist, and novelist [Joseph] Hilaire [Pierre] Belloc (1870; d.1953), born in St.-Cloud, near Paris, and celebrated for his books of nonsense verse, such as The Bad Child's Book of Beasts (1896); Kentucky native Elizabeth Hardwick (1916), novelist and essayist
July 28: British Christian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844; d.1889); British children's author [Helen] Beatrix Potter (1866; d.1943); U.S. free verse poet and novelist Kenneth Fearing (1902); English novelist, short story writer, and poet [Clarence] Malcolm Lowry (1909), who wrote Under the Volcano (1947, later made into a film); Pulitzer Prize winning poet from Rochester, N.Y., John Ashbery (1927)
July 29: French political scientist and writer Alexis de Tocqueville (1905), author of the four-volume Democracy in America. U.S. novelist Booth Tarkington (1869; d.1946); creator of archy & mehitabel, U.S. journalist and poet Don Marquis (1878); Swedish novelist and Nobelist Eyvind Johnson (1900); Worcester, Mass., native and poet Stanley Kunitz (1905), who won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award; Missouri-born African American novelist Chester Himes (1909; d.1984), whose popular and violent detective novels were set in Harlem and featured Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson; South Korean-born American novelist Chang-rae Lee (1965), who won the PEN Award for Native Speaker (1995)
July 30: Italian painter, architect, and author of The Lives of the Artists Giorgio Vasari (1511); Emily [Jane] Bronte (1818; d.1848), whose only novel was Wuthering Heights (1847); L.A. native and novelist Jose Antonio Villarreal (1924), whose books concern Chicano life in the American Southwest; Indiana-born mystery writer L.A. Morse (1945); New York native (now lives Vermont) and mystery writer Archer Mayor (1950), creator of policeman Joe Gunther
July 31: Prolific American writer (born Chicago, raised West Texas), creator of detective Michael Shayne, Brett Halliday (1904; d.1977), nee Davis Dresser, aka Asa Baker, Mathew Blood, Kathryn Culver, Don Davis, Hal Debrett, Anthony Scott, Anderson Wayne; Italian chemist and writer Primo Levi (1919), who wrote If This Is a Man, his account of surviving Auschwitz; NYC novelist, short story writer, and memoirist Susan Cheever (1943), who wrote Home before Dark, a memoir of her father, the writer John Cheever, and Note Found in a Bottle, about her own "life as a drinker;" Nashville-born Steven Womack (1952), author of two detective series
AUGUST LITERARY BIRTHDAYS
H[oward] P[hillips] Lovecraft, U.S. Gothic (or supernatural) novelist, Aug. 20, 1890 - Mar. 15, 1937
HP Lovecraft was born in Providence, RI, and is known primarily as a writer of weird fantasy and horror fiction and a prodigious correspondent. The HP Lovecraft Archive has info on Lovecraft's life, writings, creations (fictional elements including Lovecraftian locations in New England, a bestiary, and a list of grimoires), study (biographies, literary criticism, bibliographies, periodicals, and online articles), Lovecraft in popular culture (movies, games, music, and art based on Lovecraft’s works), and links to related sites. Alan Guillette's Lovecraft page also has a very good biography, links, texts online, and bibliography, and the Scriptorium's biography of Lovecraft, written by S.T. Joshi, is extensive. Here's a description of Lovecraft's writing.
Dorothy Parker, American short story writer/poet/critic and wit, Aug. 22, 1893 - 1967
Known for her biting turn of phrase, Parker left behind lots of quotes, a sampling of which are available through the very attractive Dorothy Parker site Linda Engstrom's developed, rife with poems, sprinkled with quotes. Click on the poetry index section for lots of online poems. Parker's poems from Death and Taxes are also at this site.
Conrad Aiken, American poet (Pulitzer 1930), Aug. 5, 1899 - 1973
A short bio, six poems, and a critical essay on Aiken are offered through Ian Kluge's Aiken Page; poetry, biography, bibliography, and Conrad Aiken Studies Journal available through the Studies Journal page; and a description of Aiken's papers at Washington University.
Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine fiction writer and essayist, Aug. 24, 1899 - June 14, 1986
The Jorge Luis Borges Center, in English, Spanish, and French; biography, list of works, quotes, influences, and criticism are available through the Garden of the Forking Path; a discussion of Borges' writing also makes interesting reading.
Salvatore Quasimodo, Italian poet/critic/translator and winner of Nobel Prize 1959, Aug. 20, 1901 - 1968
Biography and works list for Quasimodo (in English), provided by Finland's Kuusankoski Public Library; Official Quasimodo Page, in Italian; interesting page on Italian literature, in which Quasimodo poems are mentioned.
Ray Bradbury, U.S. Science Fiction Writer, Aug. 22, 1920 -
Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois and has become known as one of the leading American writers of science-fiction novels and short stories. Ray Bradbury Online offers biography, bibliography (Books, Film/TV, Audio, and Critical Works), images, quotes, and features on the books The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451. Paul Brians offers an excellent study guide for The Martian Chronicles. A 1991 Bradbury interview transcript is also available on-line.
Other August Birthdays:
Aug 1: U.S. writer of Two Years Before the Mast Richard Henry Dana (1815); American writer Herman Melville (1819; Melville's works); French-Canadian novelist, poet, playwright, and short-story writer Anne Hébert (1916; Hébert site in French), noted for her examination of the Quebeçois; London-born Australian paperback writer Carter Brown (1923) aka Allan Geoffrey Yates and Caroline Farr, who wrote 150 crime stories, all set in the U.S; poet Walter Griffin (1937), born in Delaware; Brooklyn-born poet Hugh Seidman (1940; a poem by Seidman); Cleveland native, now living in Canada, novelist and journalist Amy Friedman (1952), author of Kick the Dog and Shoot the Cat and others; Nashville native and novelist and short-story writer Madison Smartt Bell (1957)
Aug 2: Ernest [Christopher] Dowson (1867; d.1900), English poet, influenced by Latin erotic poetry and French aesthetes; Ohio-born critic, teacher, leader of the New Humanism movement, Irving Babbitt (1869); Venezuelan novelist and president Romulo Gallegos (1884; cite referenced is in Spanish); John Kieran (1892), columnist and author of a natural history of NYC; Harlem-born novelist, playwright, and essayist James [Arthur] Baldwin (1924; this Baldwin teacher's resource file is also excellent), whose first novel was Go Tell It On the Mountain (1953); Minneapolis-born poet, Bennington College professor, Stephen Sandy (1934); U.S. writer of thrillers and westerns Mitchell Smith (1935); Peruvian writer Isabel Allende (1942); Miami-born novelist Beverly Coyle (1946); Beijing-born poet (now living in exile in the U.S.) Bei Dao (1949), aka Zhao Zhengkai, one of the few Chinese writers to have an international audience.
Aug 3: English WWI poet Rupert Brooke (1887; d.1915); Indiana-born war correspondent Ernie Pyle (1900); British mystery writer P[hyllis] D[orothy] James (1920); Connecticut-born poet, critic, and novelist Hayden Carruth (1921); U.S. novelist, born Baltimore, Leon Uris (1924; Exodus, QBVII); romance novelist Annette Sanford (1929), born in Texas, whose pen names include Mary Carroll, Meg Dominique, Lisa St. John, and others. NYC-born poet (Iowa Poet Laureate) Marvin Bell (1937); poet Diane Wakoski (1937; a few of Wakoski's poems), born in Whittier, California; Ohio native, writer and literary reviewer Walter Kirn (1962).
Aug 4: Romantic English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792); English naturalist and novelist (born Argentina of American parents) William Henry Hudson (1841; d.1922), best known for Green Mansions (1904), a romantic novel set in Venezuela; Norwegian author and 1920 Nobel literature prize winner Knut Hamsun (1859; d.1952), born Knut Pedersen, best known for realistic rural novel Growth of the Soil (1917); Detroit poet Robert Hayden (1913; d.1980), born Asa Bundy Sheffey; Algerian (now lives U.S.) novelist, translator, poet, playwright, short-story writer, and filmmaker, Assia Djebar (1936) aka Fatima-Zohra Imalayen.
Aug 5: Besides Aiken, French short story writer Guy de Maupassant (1850; short stories); Swedish writer and journalist Per Wahlöö (1926), who with his wife Maj Sjöwall created the detective character Martin Beck; Kentucky-born rural conservationist and poet Wendell Berry (1934);
Aug 6: French writer Francois Fenelon (1651); English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809; selected works of Tennyson); French poet, playwright, essayist, and diplomat Paul [Louis Charles Marie] Claudel (1868; d.1955), whose conversion to Catholicism in 1890 became an important element in his writing; Scott Nearing (1883), pacifist and author of many books on economics; children's author Norma Farber (1909), born in Boston, best known for As I Was Crossing the Boston Common, a 1976 National Book Award winner; Pennsylvania native, science columnist, and children's sci-fi writer Janet Asimov (1926); British-born, American sci-fi/fantasy writer Piers Anthony (1934), author of the Xanth series
Aug 7: The Father of Swedish poetry Georg Stiernhielm (1598; site referenced is in Swedish); Laurence Eigner (1927), prolific Massachusetts-born poet and short story writer; Washington, D.C. born novelist and short story writer Ann Beattie (1947).
Aug 8: U.S. poet Sara Teasdale (1884; four Teasdale poems; U.S. writer, author of The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896); South Carolinian comic novelist Valerie Sayers (1952; excerpt from Brain Fever); Washington, D.C. native and short-story writer/novelist Elizabeth Ann Tallent (1954);
Aug 9: Compleat Angler writer Izaak Walton (1593); England's first poet laureate, John Dryden (1631; d.1700; selected Dryden poems), also dramatist and man of letters; English writer Philip Larkin (1922); NYC-born mystery writer and creator of Dr. Alex Delaware, Jonathan Kellerman (1949); novelist Jeanne Larsen (1950), born Washington, D.C.,whose novels take place in historical China.
Aug 10: Austrian poet and playwright Lawrence Binyon (1869); Brooklyn-born poet, playwright, and translator Witter Bynner (1881).
Aug 11: English writer Charlotte Mary Yonge (1823); Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid [born Christopher Murray Grieve] (1892); Maine writer and poet Louise Bogan (1897); prolific British children's writer Enid Blyton (1897; d.1968); English writer Sir Angus Wilson (1913); New York-born biographer, scriptwriter, and novelist (Roots) Alex [Murray Palmer] Haley (1921); Tennessee-raised African American journalist, public affairs commentator, and biographer Carl [Thomas] Rowan (1925); Louisiana-born short story writer Andre Dubus (1936);
Aug 12: English poet and biographer Robert Southey (1774; selected Southey poetry); the author of America the Beautiful, Katharine Lee Bates (1859); Spanish dramatist and 1922 Nobel prize winner Jacinto Benavente y Martinez (1866); U.S. mythology writer Edith Hamilton (1867); U.S. mystery writer Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876), author of The Circular Staircase; English novelist and literary critic Frank Swinnerton (1884); Zerna Sharp (1889), born in Indiana and the creator of the Dick and Jane readers for children; Brooklyn-born satirical novelist Wallace Markfield (1926; d.23/May/2002); Chicago native, novelist and screenwriter William Goldman (1931), who wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; West Virginia native (raised Harlem), African American young adult novelist and picture book writer Walter Dean Myers (1937), who received a Newbery Honor Award for his book Scorpions (1988); NYC-born writer Gail Parent (1940), author of Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living in New York (1972) and a comedy writer for "The Mary Tyler Moore Show;" Pennsylvania-born poet and essayist J.D. McClatchy (1945)
Aug 13: Hungarian/German/Austrian poet Nikolaus Lenau (1802; d.1850) born Nikolaus Niembsch von Strehlenau
Aug 14: English poet and novelist Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802); author and naturalist Ernest T. Seton (1860); English novelist, playwright, and 1932 Nobel prize winner John Galsworthy (1867; d.1933), who wrote The Forsyte Saga (1906-1922), made into a BBC film in 1968; two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Russell Baker, born in Virginia, editorial writer for the New York Times, and author of the memoir Growing Up; westerns writer William Kittredge (1932), born in Portland, Oregon; Georgia-born poet Alfred Corn (1943);
Aug 15: Italian poet Luigi Pulci (1432); Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott (1771; Scott's poems); English writer Thomas De Quincey (1785; d.1859) whose Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1822) is his most popular work; Michigan writer Edna Ferber (1887); Welsh soldier and writer, "Lawrence of Arabia," T[homas] E[dward] Lawrence (1888; d. 1935); novelist and librarian Louise Shivers (1929), born in North Carolina; Australian/American writer Garry Disher (1949), best known for his children's book, The Bamboo Flute; Michigan-born poet Mary Jo Salter (1954);
Aug 16: French symbolist poet and short story writer (born Montevideo, Uruguay) Jules Laforgue (1860; d.1887 of tuberculosis; Laforgue's poem "La Cigarette" in French); sci-fi writer Hugo Gernsback (1884); British Regency novelist Georgette Heyer (1902); Harlem Renaissance writer (born Salt Lake City, Utah) Wallace Thurman (1902); Illinois-born novelist, short story writer, and editor at The New Yorker, William Maxwell (1908); prolific children's author Beatrice Schenk de Regniers (1914), born in Indiana and winner of the 1965 Caldecott Award; German-born American poet Charles Bukowski (1920)
Aug 17: Philadelphia-born African-American diarist, poet, and essayist Charlotte Lottie Forten (1837/1838?; d.1914) aka Miss C.L.F., best known for her posthumously published The Journal of Charlotte L. Forten: A Free Negro in the Slave Era (1953) English writer Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840; a few of Blunt's poems); Jamaican essayist, editor, journalist, and poet Marcus [Moziah] Garvey [Jr.] (1887; d.1940), who founded the back-to-Africa movement among African and West Indian Americans; Connecticut-born poet, playwright, and writer of avant garde novels, John Hawkes (1925); English poet laureate [Edward James] Ted Hughes (1930); Trinidad-born British novelist and essayist V[idiadhar] S[urajprasad] Naipaul (1932), who won the 2001 Nobel Prize for Literature
Aug 18: Italian history writer Elsa Morante (1916); French novelist, film writer, and film director Alain Robbe-Grillet (1922; Robbe-Grillet's bibliography); Berlin-born American children's author Sonia Levitin (1934); Washington, D.C. native and children's author (The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, the Amber Brown books, others), Paula Danziger (1944);
Aug 19: English novelist Samuel Richardson (1689); Charles Montagu Doughty (1843; d.1926), traveler and English writer in the Elizabethan style, whose observations on Arabia and Arab life are the subject of his Travels in Arabia Deserta (1888); Finnish novelist and dramatist Minna Canth (1844); British children's writer Edith Nesbit (1858); American light verse writer Ogden Nash (1902; 32 of Nash's poems); novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner James Gould Cozzens (1903); Canadian writer Josephine Jacobsen (1908); American screenwriter, publicist, and journalist Ring Lardner, Jr. (1915; d.2000), son of well-known humorist Ring W. Lardner, Sr.
Aug 20: Besides Lovecraft and Quasimodo, poet and newsman from Michigan (born Birmingham, England) Edgar A. Guest (1881; several of Guest's poems); popular novelist Jacqueline Susann (1921; d.1974), who wrote the immensely popular Valley of the Dolls; Arizona-born children's author Sue Alexander (1933); Mexican-American novelist, playwright, and short story writer Lionel G. Garcia (1935); California native and poet Heather McHugh (1948); New Jersey-born novelist Kevin Baker (1958); Irish novelist Deidre Madden (1960), whose first book, Hidden Symptoms won Ireland's literary award, the Rooney Prize.
Aug 21: New Jersey native and poet X.J. Kennedy (1929), aka Joseph Charles Kennedy; Mississippi-born playwright Mart Crowley (1935), best known for his play Boys in the Band;
Aug 22: Besides Parker and Bradbury, Connecticut-born novelist, short story writer, and how-to writer E. Annie Proulx (1935); Dublin-born novelist Colm Tóibín (1955);
Aug 23: English poet, critic, and editor William Ernest Henley (1849; d.1903), famous for the poem "Invictus" (in Book of Verses, 1888); Kansan poet, playwright and novelist Edgar Lee Masters (1869), author of Spoon River Anthology; Maryland poet J.V. Cunningham (1911); essayist and poet, Chicago-born Wisconsinite Norbert Blei (1935); British novelist Robert Irwin (1946), author of the comic novel, The Limits of Vision (1986), in which a London housewife holds imaginary conversations with Da Vinci, Dickens, and Darwin, on the subject of dust balls and dirt [description taken from A Writer's Almanac, 1999]; English playwright Willy Russell (1947), who wrote Shirley Valentine and Educating Rita, among others; novelist and short story writer from Montana, Melanie Rae Thon (1957)
Aug 24: Besides Borges, English poet Robert Herrick (1591); more of Herrick's poems); English essayist, novelist, caricaturist, critic, and wit Sir Max Beerbohm (1872; d.1956), born London of Lithuanian parents; West Indian writer Jean Rhys aka Ella Gwendolyn Rees Williams (1890); U.S. literary critic, historian, editor, poet and essayist Malcolm Cowley (1898); British novelist A.S. Byatt born Antonia Susan Drabble (1936; another good Byatt site until her official one is completely up and running), who won Britain's Booker Prize in 1991; U.S. poet, scriptwriter, and Smothers Brothers show comedy writer (and the composer of "Classical Gas") Mason Williams (1938).
Aug 25: New York-born journalist, editor and poet Bret Harte (1839; d.1902), born Francis Brett Hart, whose tales and ballads are noted for their humour and Western color; Irish novelist Brian Moore (1921); Tennessee-born poet Charles Wright (1935), who won the Pulitzer Prize for his poetry collection Black Zodiac
Aug 26: Scottish writer Sir John Buchan (1875); French poet and movie critic (born in Rome) Guillaume Apollinaire (1880; site referenced is in French); creator of Charlie Chan, Ohio-born Earl Biggers (1884); French novelist/dramatist/poet Jules Romains (1885); English novelist and playwright Christopher Isherwood (1904); Argentine novelist and poet, born Brussels, Julio Cortázar (1914; web site in Spanish); prolific Canadian novelist, short-story writer, and poet Elizabeth Brewster (1922), born in New Brunswick; Montana-born political journalist, essayist, historian Barbara Ehrenreich (1941)
Aug 27: Chinese philosopher and writer (born in Lu) Confucius (551 BC) aka K'ung-fu-tzu, who wrote the Analects (Lun Yu) and other Chinese classics; American novelist and newspaper writer (born Indiana) Theodore Dreiser (1871; d.1945), who wrote Sister Carrie (1900) and An American Tragedy (1925), considered his finest novel; Horatio Hornblower creator C.S. Forester (1899); novelist Ira Levin (1929); mystery writer, historian, and biographer Antonia Fraser (1932); William Least Heat Moon (1939) born in Kansas City as William Lewis Trogdon, author of Blue Highways and other books about place;
Aug 28: German dramatist, poet, and novelist, and author of "Faust," (1770 and 1831) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749; d.1832); Russian author Leo Tolstoy (1828), wrote War and Peace, Anna Karenina, others; U.S. sociologist and writer Bruno Bettelheim (1903; d.1990); British poet Sir John Betjeman (1906); New Zealand novelist Janet Frame(1924); Ohio native and poet Rita Dove (1952), winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize
Aug 29: Massachusetts physician, essayist, poet, and novelist Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809; d.1894), whose poem "Old Ironsides" (1830) is responsible for saving the historic ship Constitution, and who co-founded the Atlantic Monthly magazine; Maryland-born writer, propagandist, and author of Lincoln's "War Powers of the President" Anna Ella Carroll (1815); Belgian poet and Nobel Prize winner Count Maurice Maeterlinck (1862); French novelist and translator Valery Nicolas Larbaud (1881); Chicago-born screenwriter, director and playwright Preston Sturges (1898); English poet Thom Gunn (1929); Michigan-born novelist Sue Harrison (1950), who's written a Native American trilogy
Aug 30: English writer and Frankenstein creator Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797); British biographer Elizabeth Longford (1906)
Aug 31: French romantic poet, novelist, critic, and travel book writer [Pierre Jules] Théophile Gautier (1811; d.1872); Novelist and author of Porgy, on which "Porgy and Bess" was based, DuBose Heyward (1885); William Shawn (1907), born in Chicago and one of the great editors of the The New Yorker (1952-1987); U.S. novelist and playwright William Saroyan (1908)
SEPTEMBER LITERARY BIRTHDAYS
Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish novelist, playwright, and poet, c. 29 Sept. 1547 - 23 April 1616
Cervantes, originally named Alcala de Henares, served as a soldier and in the navy, was captured by the Turks and imprisioned for 5 years, became a government tax collector who was again imprisoned, this time for fraud. While in prison, he began writing Part I of El Ingenioso Hidalgo [The Ingenious Gentleman] Don Quixote de la Mancha, which was widely read and pirated when published in 1605; Part II was published in 1615.
Cervantes also wrote Novelas ejemplares, which were twelve cautionary tales, Viaje del Parnaso (Journey from Parnassus), and several other pieces.
Cervantes' works in Spanish are offered at a number of sites, and a nice English version of Don Quixote, translated by John Ormsby, is available on-line through The Don Quixote Web Page (Spanish and English); a site on How to Read Don Quixote is also available in English or Spanish, and includes a detailed reader's diary of each chapter. Cervantes in CyberSpain offers a Cervantes biography and bibliography, and Fred Jehle provides an extensive, annotated list of Cervantes WWW Links.
Note: The exact date of Cervantes birth is not known. It is known that he was christened on October 9, 1547.
Sarah Orne Jewett, Maine novelist, 3 Sept. 1849 - 24 June 1909
Jewett was born and died in South Berwick, where the Jewett House can be toured from June 1 through October 15. Most famous in Maine for The Country of the Pointed Firs, she also wrote A Country Doctor (1884; summary and commentary available at this site), which she based on the life of her late father, and numerous other novels and short stories, including her first published story, "Jenny Garrow's Lovers" (1868), Deephaven (1877), "The Dulham Ladies" (1886), the much-anthologized and much-analyzed story, "The White Heron" (1886), Tales of New England (1890), and The Tory Lover (1901). A complete list of Jewett's published and unpublished novels and short stories is available through The Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project (Coe College, Iowa), as is a short biography.
Best Stories of Sarah Orne Jewett (1988) contains an excellent introductory article on Jewett's writings. For biographical information, read Sarah Orne Jewett: A Writer's Life, by Elizabeth Silverthorne (1993).
The following stories are available full-text from the Jewett site at Hanover College (Indiana), originally from UVA's site: "Tom's Husband" (Atlantic Monthly 1882), "The Landscape Chamber" (Atlantic Monthly 1887), "In Dark New England Days" (Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine 1890), "The Dunnet Shepherdess" (Atlantic Monthly 1899), "The Foreigner" (Atlantic Monthly 1900), and "William's Wedding" (Atlantic Monthly 1910).
Kate Douglas Wiggins, Maine novelist and children's writer, Sept. 28, 1856 - 1923
Born in Philadelphia but a resident for years of Hollis, Maine, Wiggin is best known for her children's books, such as The Birds' Christmas Carol (1889), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903), and The New Chronicles of Rebecca (1907). She was also editor of many other children's anthologies, including Hymns for Kindergarteners (18??), Arabian Nights, Their Best Known Tales (1909), The Posy Ring - A Book of Verses for Children (1903), and Pinafore Palace: A Book of Rhymes for the Nursery (1907). And she wrote books for adults, including The Village Watch-Tower (1895; set in Hollis), Mother Carey's Chickens (1911), and The Story of Waitstill Baxter (1913). Rebecca, however is the only book of Wiggin's that's still in print.
In 1925, her sister, Nora Archibald Smith, published a book about Wiggin called As Her Sister Knew Her. Wiggin herself published My Garden of Memory in 1923.
Robert McCloskey, children's book author, Sept. 15, 1914 -
McCloskey is the winner of several Caldecott Medals and Honors. His books include: Lentil (1940, takes place in Ohio), Make Way for Ducklings (1941; locale is Boston's Public Garden; won 1942 Caldecott Medal), The Man Who Lost His Head (1942), Homer Price (1943), Blueberries for Sal (1948), Centerburg Tales (1951), One Morning in Maine (1952; about family life on an island; Caldecott Honor book), Journey Cake, Ho! (1953; Caldecott Honor book), Time of Wonder (1957; a Penobscot island summer; 1958 Caldecott Medal), Henry Reed, Inc (1958; takes place in New Jersey), Burt Dow, Deep Water Man: A Tale of the Sea in the Classic Tradition (1963), Henry Reed's Journey (1963), Henry Reed's Babysitting Service (1966), Henry Reed's Big Show (1970).
Stephen King, Maine thriller/horror/suspense writer, Sept. 21, 1947 -
aka Richard Bachman, King is the pre-eminent Maine modern popular fiction writer. He was born in Portland, graduated from the University of Maine-Orono with a degree in English in 1970, and married another Maine writer, Tabitha Spruce (now King), in 1971.
King's official Web site has sections on rumors, news, the man, the past, the future, and now, as well as links, contact info, and downloads of e-books.
Other September Birthdays:
Sept 1: Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875), creator of Tarzan (The Land that Time Forgot); Swiss poet Blaise Cendrars (1887); Trinidadian-American novelist, children's author, playwright, and short story writer Rosa Guy (1925/1928?)
Sept 2: Missouri-born poet and journalist Eugene Field (1850), known for his children's poems, such "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod;" Allen Drury (1918), Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Advise and Consent.
Sept 3: See Sarah Orne Jewett, above
Sept 4: French writer and statesman Francois René de Chateaubriand (1768; d.1848), who initiated the Romantic movement in France, influencing poetry, history, and the novel; Paul Osborn (1901), playwright; British historical novelist Mary Challans, who wrote under the name Mary Renault (1905); Mississippi-born African American novelist Richard [Nathaniel] Wright (1908; d.1960), author of Native Son and Black Boy; Syd Hoff, children's author (1912); Joan Aiken (1924), British children's fiction author and poet Conrad Aiken's daughter
Sept 5: prolific American novelist, born Georgia, Frank [Garvin] Yerby (1916; d.1991), who lived in Spain and France as an ex-patriate for many years; Indiana native, journalist and fiction writer Ward Just (1935), who's written several novels about the Vietnam War; Paul Fleischman (1952), children's author
Sept 6: Minnesota-born writer Robert Pirsig (1928), who authored Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Sept 7: George-Louis Leclerc (1707), natural history writer; poet Elinor Wylie (1885), born in New Jersey; English poet and eccentric Dame Edith Sitwell (1887); Taylor Caldwell (1900), British novelist; Garrison Keillor (1942), humorist and host of " A Prairie Home Companion;" New Yorker, journalist and author Joe Klein (1946), who wrote the novel Primary Colors
Sept 8: Luovico Ariosto (1474; d.1533), Italian poet, wrote Orlando Furioso; Frederic Mistral (1830), Provencal poet, 1904 Nobelist; Indiana-born writer Marilyn Durham (1930), author of The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing; novelist and short story writer, born Washington, D.C., Anne Beattie (1947)
Sept 9: Leo Tolstoy (1828), Russian novelist; Indian poet/dramatist [Bhartendu] Harishchandra (1850); Mary Austin (1868), feminist and nature writer from Illinois; Alabama native and poet, playwright, children's author, essayist, and black nationalist Sonia Sanchez (1934) born Wilsonia Benite Driver, who won the American Book Award in 1985 for her poems homegirls & handgrenades
Sept 10: Georgia native, poet, playwright, and composer Georgia Douglas Johnson (1886; d.1966), one of the first modern American black women to gain recognition as a poet; Pennsylvania-born poet Hilda Doolittle (1886; d.1961), known as H.D., the leader of the imagist movement; Franz Werfel (1890), Austrian author of Forty Days of Musa Dagh; Cleveland native, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver (1935); New York City-born paleontologist, zoologist, and essayist Stephen Jay Gould (1941), who writes science for the lay person
Sept 11: Scottish poet James Thomson (1700), who wrote the first long nature poem in the English language; O. Henry (1862; d.1910), pseudonym of William Sydney Porter, American short story writer (born North Carolina), who began writing while serving jail time for embezzlement, and whose tales, including "The Gift of the Magi" and "The Ransom of Red Chief," are noted for their surprise endings; D[avid] H[erbert] Lawrence (1885; d.1930 in New Mexico), English novelist and poet, author of Sons and Lovers (1913), Women in Love (1920), and Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928), among others; Canadian (born North Carolina) writer and novelist Leon Rooke (1934)
Sept 12: H. L. Mencken, Baltimore newspaperman, critic, and curmudgeon (1880); Stanislaw Lem (1921), Polish sci-fi writer (Lem book list); Philadelphia native, African American novelist and author of books for young adults Kristin [Eggleston] Hunter (1931), who has been praised for her realistic yet optimistic look at ghetto life; Canadian (born Sri Lanka) poet and author Michael Ondaatje (1942), author of The English Patient
Sept 13: Sherwood Anderson, author of Winesburg, Ohio (1876); Philadelphia-born philosopher, essayist, and anthologist Alain [Le Roy] Locke (1886; d.1954), an influential figure in the Harlem Renaissance J[ohn] B[oynton] Priestley, British author (1894); Roald Dahl, Welsh/Norwegian author of children's classics (1916); American poet and biographer (born Nova Scotia) John Malcolm Brinnin (1916); Else Holmelund Minarik, author of the Little Bear series of children's books (1920); Ohio-born African American playwright Adrienne Kennedy (1931), known for her surrealistic, often violent plays
Sept 14: Wisconsin-born Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, short-story writer, and poet [Hannibal] Hamlin Garland (1860; d.1940), a leading exponent of realism, which he called veritism; children's writer Edith Hurd (1910), born in Missouri, who authored over 75 children's books; Czech novelist and playwright Ivan Klima (1931); Kate Millett, Minnesota feminist and author of Sexual Politics (1934); Irish novelist and scriptwriter Bernard MacLaverty (1942); African-American children's writer, born Brooklyn, John [Lewis] Steptoe (1950; d.1989)
Sept 15: Besides Robert McCloskey, Francoise, 6th duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613; d.1680), French writer and epigramist; New Jersey-born James Fenimore Cooper (1789; d.1851), social critic, historian, and the first major American novelist, who authored The Leatherstocking Tales (1823-1827), which followed the life of frontier hero Natty Bumppo; Massachusetts-born humorist and critic Robert Benchley (1889); black American poet and novelist (born Jamaica) Claude McKay (1890; d.1948), born Festus Claudius McKay, a major writer of the Harlem Renaissance; British mystery writer extraordinaire, Dame Agatha Christie (1890); Utah-born psycho-biography writer Fawn Brodie (1915), who wrote works on Thomas Jefferson, Mormon leader Joseph Smith, and Richard Nixon, among others; New England children's author and illustrator Tomie DePaola (1934)
Sept 16: English satirical and burlesque poet and dramatist John Gay (1685; d.1732), who wrote The Beggar's Opera (1728); American historian Francis Parkman (1823); English poet (wrote "The Highwayman") Alfred Noyes (1880); Finnish writer and Nobel prize winner Frans Sillanpaa (1888); West Virginia-born novelist John Knowles (1926), best known for his first novel, A Separate Peace; Georgian short story writer James Alan McPherson (1943); West Virginia-born African American literary critic and editor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (1950)
Sept 17: Abilio Manuel de Guerra Junqueiro, Portugese poet and playwright (1850); British mystery writer John Creasey (1908), said to be the most prolific writer of crime fiction in the English language (under many aliases); New Jersey native, doctor and poet William Carlos Williams (1883); Colorado-born novelist Ken Kesey (1935), known for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Sept 18: Oft-quoted essayist, poet, critic, and lexicographer, and the subject of Boswell's Life of Johnson, Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709; d.1784), who wrote the Dictionary of the English Language (1755); New York-born (Vermonter by choice) rural essayist Noel Perrin (1927)
Sept 19: Arthur Rackham, British illustrator of many children's fairytales and classics (1867); Mika Waltari, Finnish novelist (1908); English novelist and Nobel prize winner William Golding (1911); Chicago journalist and columnist Mike Royko (1932); Alabama-born mystery novelist Thomas H. Cook (1947)
Sept 20: Novelist Upton Sinclair, who exposed the Chicago stockyards in The Jungle (1878); Connecticut native and poet, playwright, and essayist Donald Hall (1928)
Sept 21: Besides Stephen King, H. G. Wells, English writer of The War of the Worlds (1866); Fannie Flagg, actress and novelist -- she authored Fried Green Tomatoes (1944); playwright Marsha Norman (1947), born in Kentucky, who authored Pulitzer Prize winning 'night, Mother
Sept 22: English statesman and writer Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694; d.1773), noted especially for his letters; British comic novelist Fay Weldon (1933)
Sept 23: Euripides, Greek playwright (484 B.C.; Euripides' texts in Greek and English); midwestern poet and author of The Spoon River Anthology, Edgar Lee Masters (1869); American journalist and commentator Walter Lippman (1889)
Sept 24: English writer Horace Walpole (1717); Maryland native, poet, novelist, short story writer, and orator Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825; d.1911), aka Effie Afton, one of the most popular 19th-century black American poets the incomparable American novelist and short-story writer (born St. Paul, Minnesota) F[rancis] Scott [Key] Fitzgerald (1896; d.1940), author of The Great Gatsby (1925), Tender is the Night (1934), and other works that vividly evoke the time of the Jazz Age, the Roaring Twenties, and the Wall St. Crash; Wilson Rawls, author of children's classic Where the Red Fern Grows (1913); John Brunner, British sci-fi writer (1934); NYC-born African-American novelist, dramatist, essayist, and illustrator Alexis Deveaux (1948)
Sept 25: Mississippi-born novelist William [Harrison] Faulkner, born William Cuthbert Falkner (1897; d.1962), who won the 1949 Nobel Prize for literature, and whose novels took as their subject the decadent Old South and the materialistic New South; African American educator, social critic, and essayist bell hooks (1952) born Gloria Watkins; bell hooks is her great-grandmother's name
Sept 26: Bengali writer Isvar Chandra Vidyasagar (1820); American born English poet, dramatist, and critic (born St. Louis, MO) T[homas] S[tearns] Eliot (1888; d.1965), who won the 1948 Nobel in literature for The Waste-Land (1922); Los-Angeles-born Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Jane Smiley (1949)
Sept 27: Grazia Deledda, Italian novelist and 1926 Nobelist for Old Man of the Mountain (1875); American novelist, short-story writer, and attorney Louis Auchincloss (1917); NYC native writer Joyce Johnson (1935), who authored a memoir of the 1950s New York Beat generation called Minor Characters; North Dakota-born poet Mark Vinz (1942)
Sept 28: Besides Kate Douglas Wiggins, English poet Francis Turner Palgrave (1824); Ohio native, African-American dialectic poet James Edwin Campbell (1867); NYC-born playwright Elmer Rice (1892)
Sept 29: Besides Miguel de Cervantes, above, William Beckford (1760?; d.1844), reclusive and eccentric English novelist, travel book writer, and architect, best known for his Oriental romance The History of the Caliph Vathek (1782); English writer Elizabeth Cleghorn [Stevenson] Gaskell (1810; d.1865), aka Mrs. Gaskell, one of the most popular Victorian novelists
Sept 30: Scottish mystery writer J[ohn] I[nnes] M[ackintosh] Stewart (1906), aka Michael Innes, creator of Inspector John Appleby Truman Capote, writer of short stories and novels, including In Cold Blood (1924).
OCTOBER LITERARY BIRTHDAYS
Dylan Marlais Thomas, Welsh poet, Oct. 27, 1914 - Nov. 9, 1953
Born in Swansea, Wales, and considered one of the best English-speaking poets of the 20th-century, Thomas worked as a journalist and a book reviewer until he established his reputation as a poet in the 1930s. He was a heavy drinker and a wonderful poetry reader.
Works include18 Poems (1934), Twenty-five Poems (1936), The Map of Love (1939; poems and short stories), The World I Breathe (1939), Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (1940; autobiographical sketches), New Poems (1942), Deaths and Entrances (1946), In Country Sleep (1952), Collected Poems (1953), and the play Under Milkwood.
The Craft and Sullen Art of Dylan Thomas has bio, poems, bibliography, short stories, photographs, discussion board, more. A chronology of Thomas's life is also available.
Sylvia Plath, American poet, Oct. 27, 1932 - Feb. 11, 1963
Sylvia Plath was born and grew up in Massachusetts. She sold her first poem while in high school, graduated from Smith College in 1955, married Ted Hughes (who later was Britain's poet laureate for many years), and moved to England, where she published The Colossus (1960), her first book of poetry. The Bell Jar, an autobiographical novel, was written soon after this and published (1963) under a pseudonym.
Plath suffered from depression and a seeming need for perfection for most, if not all, of her life. While in college, she was hospitalised and given shock treatments; The Bell Jar parallels this period in her life. After she and Hughes moved to England, she began to write more furiously than before (and she had always been prolific) and with greater power and less restraint. She ended her life by gassing herself in her oven. Ariel was published after her death (1965), as were Crossing the Water (1971) and Winter Trees (1971).
Anja Beckmann's Sylvia Plath Page (Leipzig, Germany) has, or has links to, pretty much everything about Plath on line, and her Plath links page is well-organized and annotated. An article comparing Plath and Anne Sexton, called "Personal Influences on Sylvia Plath's Writing," is also worth a look. Plath's powerful poem "Daddy" is one of many on line. For true aficionadas, there's the active Sylvia Plath Forum page, where you and everyone else can comment on her life and work.
Other October Birthdays:
Oct 1: Russian novelist Sergey Aksakov (1791; Chronicle of a Russian Family); Louis Untermeyer (1885), NYC-born poet and critic; American novelist Faith Baldwin (1893); Atlanta-born 1974 Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Boorstin (1914)
Oct 2: Connecticut-born poet, insurance salesman, and Pulitzer Prize winner Wallace Stevens (1879); prolific English novelist Graham Greene (1904)
Oct 3: English poet and statesman Sir Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke (1554; d.1628), also biographer of Sir Philip Sidney; Mikhail Lermontov (1814), Russian romantic poet and novelist (A Hero of Our Time); French novelist Henri Alain-Fournier (1886); North Carolinian novelist Thomas Wolfe (1900); Scottish writer and veterinarian James Herriott (1916; All Creatures Great and Small); NY native writer and playwright Gore Vidal (1925)
Oct 4: NJ-born Edward Stratemayer (1862), creator of the Stratemayer Syndicate that produced over 1,300 juvenile novels, including the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, and Bobbsey Twins series; Kansas-born, Colorado-raised short-story writer, humorist, and reporter Damon Runyon (1884); Jackie Collins (1941); Anne Rice (1941), born in New Orleans, author of vampire novels
Oct 5: Connecticut-born theologian and sermon writer Jonathan Edwards (1703; d.1758), whose major works adapt Calvinist doctrine to Enlightenment philosophy; French encyclopaedist, literary critic, and man of letters Denis Diderot (1713; d.1784); John Addington Symonds (1840), British historian and writer; Czech playwright and political leader Vaclav Havel (1936)
Oct 6: Kentucky writer Caroline Gordon (1895); Norwegian explorer and adventure writer, author of Kon-Tiki, Thor Heyerdahl (1914);
Oct 7: Indiana-born poet James Whitcomb Riley (1849); NJ-born African-American playwright and poet Leroi Jones (born Everett LeRoy Jones) aka Amiri Baraka (1934); Australian novelist (author of Schindler's List) Thomas M. Keneally (1935)
Oct 8: Indiana native poet and politician John Hay (1838; d.1905), best known for his Pike County Ballads; British novelist, essayist, poet, philosopher, and orator John Cowper Powys (1872); sci-fi writer Frank Herbert (1920; author of the Dune series); NYC-born painter and children's author Faith Ringgold (1930); author of the Goosebumps series, R[ichard] L[awrence] RL Stine (1943), born in Columbus, Ohio
Oct 9: Australian writer and the first female president of Smith College Jill Ker Conway (1934)
Oct 10: Finnish playwright, novelist, and poet Aleksis Kivi (1834); Yugoslavian novelist and 1961 Nobelist Ivo Andri'c (1892); English playwright Harold Pinter (1930)
Oct 11: Danish poet and short-story writer Steen Steensen Blicher (1782); Francois Mauriac (1885), French novelist, poet and playwright, and 1952 Nobelist; Elmore Leonard (1925), American crime writer
Oct 12: American writer, born New Orleans, George Washington Cable (1844; d.1924), who wrote short stories and novels of Creole and Negro life as well as books about antebellum Louisiana; Italian poet and translator Eugenio Montale (1896); Connecticut native, African American novelist, short story writer, and children's author Ann Lane Petry, the first black woman in America with book sales of more than one million copies; South Carolina-born, Harlem-raised playwright, novelist and actress Alice Childress (1920; d. 1994), well-known for her children's book A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich (1973); Cleveland-born playwright, actor and director Charles Gordone (1925), who won the Pulitzer for No Place to Be Somebody; Mass. author and 1973 Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Coles (1929); African American newspaper columnist William J[ames] Raspberry (1935), longtime syndicated columnist for the Washington Post
Oct 13: Pennsylvania-born novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner Conrad Richter (1890); Louisiana-born African-American poet, novelist, anthologist, children's author, and librarian Arna Bontemps born Arnauld Wendell Bontemps (1902; wrote 100 Years of Negro Freedom); American writer Frank Gilroy (1925)
Oct 14: Masaoka Shiki (1867), Japanese haiku and tanka poet and diarist; New Zealand short story writer Katherine Mansfield (1888); Massachusetts-born poet, playwright, and painter e. e. cummings (1894; d.1962), known for his individual style and his satirical indictment of modern materialism
Oct 15: Roman poet Virgil (70 B.C.); English poet Robert Herrick (1674); Massachusetts-born novelist Helen Hunt Jackson (1830); comedic British novelist P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse (1881), who wrote the Jeeves and Wooster series; C. P. Snow (1905), British novelist and scientist; Ontario native (naturalised U.S. citizen) and American economist and political writer John Kenneth Galbraith (1908); Arthur Schlesinger Jr. (1917), historian and winner of the 1946 Pulitzer; Mario Puzo (1921) of Godfather fame; Italian novelist (born Cuba) Italo Calvino (1923), author of Italian Folktales; Evan Hunter (1926), who is also crime writer Ed McBain
Oct 16: Compiler of the first American language dictionary, Noah Webster (1758); Oscar Wilde (1854), Irish wit and author; U.S. playwright Eugene O'Neill (1888); Guenter Grass (1927), German novelist and playwright
Oct 17: Jupiter Hammon (1711), the first American black to publish poetry; German dramatist Georg Buchner (1813; d.1837), who influenced naturalistic drama of the 1890s and later expressionism; British novelist Elinor Glyn (1864); Danish writer and traveller Karen Blixen (1885; d.1962), aka Isak Dinesen, author of Out of Africa (1937) and Shadows on the Grass (1961); American novelist Nathanael West (1903); American playwright Arthur Miller (1915), who wrote Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, among others; longtime Ebony editor and black history writer, born Mississippi, Lerone Bennett, Jr. (1928)
Oct 18: German Romantic dramatist and poet [Bernd] Heinrich [Wilhelm] von Kleist (1777; d.1811 by suicide); Thomas Love Peacock (1785), English author; Northwest cowboy, reporter, poet and novelist H. L. Davis (1894), who wrote Honey in the Horn; NJ-born poet, novelist, dramatist, and performer Ntozake Shange (1948), born Paulette Williams, whose choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf opened on Broadway in 1976; Brooklyn-born playwright Wendy Wasserstein (1950), Pulitzer Prize winner for The Heidi Chronicles; novelist Terry McMillan (1951), born in Michigan and author of Waiting to Exhale, among others
Oct 19: Sir Thomas Browne (1605; d.Oct 19, 1682), British physician and baroque-style writer; French writer [Pierre Ambroise Francois] Choderlos de Lacloc (1741; d. 1803), whose novel Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) inspired the popular movie Dangerous Liaisons; British poet and essayist [James Henry] Leigh Hunt (1784; d.1859), who wrote the poem "The Glove and the Lions", but who is mostly remembered as champion of Keats, Shelley, and Tennyson; Lithuanian poet and playwright Vincas Kreve-Mickievicius (1882); Ohio-born novelist and short story writer Fannie Hurst (1889); Guatemalan poet and novelist Miguel Angel Asturias (1899; page cited is in Spanish); English spy novelist John Le Carré nee David Cornwell(1931)
Oct 20: English author Thomas Hughes (1822), who wrote Tom Brown's School Days; Welsh novelist Daniel Owen (1836); Arthur Rimbaud (1854), French poet; one member of the Ellery Queen writing team Daniel Nathan (1905), born Brooklyn; native New Jerseyian and former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky (1940); newspaper columnist and author Art Buchwald (1925)
Oct 21: English Romantic poet and critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772; d.1834), famous for the poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) and Kubla Khan (1816); French poet, statesman, and man of letters Alphonse [Marie Louis de Prat] Lamartine (1790; d.1869), whose poetry strongly influenced the French Romantic movement; California-born sci-fi and fantasy writer Ursula LeGuin (1929)
Oct 22: Russian poet, novelist and 1933 Nobel prize winner Ivan Bunin (1870); Dámaso Alonso (1898), Spanish philologist, critic and poet; NY-born Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, screenwriter, and actor Sidney Kingsley (1906); U.K. novelist (born Iran) Doris Lessing (1919)
Oct 23: English poet and physician Robert [Seymour] Bridges (1844; d.1930); memoirist and Ladies' Home Journal editor Emily Kimbrough (1899), born in Indiana, wrote Our Hearts Were Young and Gay with Cornelia Otis Skinner about their trip to Europe; Chicago-born novelist Michael Crichton (1942)
Oct 24: NYC-born playwright Moss Hart (1904); British (naturalised U.S. citizen) poet Denise Levertov (1923)
Oct 25: French writer and statesman (born Switzerland) [Henri] Benjamin Constant [de Rebecque] (1767; d.1830), whose Adolphe (1815) was important in the development of the psychological novel; English poet and historian Thomas Babbington Macaulay (1800); Chilean novelist Eduardo Barrios (1884); Pittsburgh native, historian, constitutional scholar, and history writer Henry Steele Commager (1902); Oklahoma-born, Minnesotan poet John Berryman (1914); Illinois native, novelist, New Yorker writer Harold Brodkey (1930); Minnesota-born, NC-raised, long-time Baltimore resident Anne Tyler (1941), Pulitzer Prize winning novelist
Oct 26: Desiderius Erasmus (1466; d.1536), Dutch humanist and writer, the most influential writer of his time, publishing editions of Greek and Latin classics as well as the Church Fathers' writings and his original work; Charles Sprague (1791), Boston banker and poet; British aviatrix and memoirist Beryl Markham (1902), who (maybe) wrote West With the Night; Yorkshire-born novelist and playwright John Arden (1939); American writer Pat Conroy (1945; The Prince of Tides); London-born poet, Poet Laureate, and biographer Andrew Motion (1952)
Oct 27: Besides Dylan Thomas and Sylvia Plath (see above): Enid Bagnold (1889), author of National Velvet; NJ-born humorist Fran Lebowitz (1950)
Oct 28: British novelist Evelyn [Arthur St. John] Waugh (1903), who wrote Brideshead Revisited, among others; Ghanaian novelist and essayist Ayi Kwei Armah (1939)
Oct 29: James Boswell (1740; d.1795), Scottish diarist, lawyer, and biographer who wrote The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791); Guillermo Valencia (1873), Colombian poet, translator, and statesman; French playwright and novelist Jean [Hippolyte] Giraudoux (1882; d.1944), who penned La Folle de Chaillot (1943; The Madwoman of Chaillot); English novelist Henry Green (1905) aka Henry Vincent Yorke
Oct 30: British playwright (born Dublin) Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751); French poet and political journalist (born Constantinople) André Marie de Chénier (1762; d.1794, by guillotined); French poet and essayist Paul Valery (1871); Idaho-born poet and critic Ezra [Weston Loomis] Pound (1885); North Dakota-born novelist and poet Larry Woiwode (1941)
Oct 31: English diarist John Evelyn (1620; d.1706), who also wrote treatises on air pollution, horticulture, architecture, and other subjects, but who is most remembered for his Diary (first published in 1818); British Romantic poet John Keats (1795; d.1821); jockey and novelist Dick Francis (1920)
NOVEMBER LITERARY BIRTHDAYS
Laurence Sterne, Irish novelist, Nov. 24, 1713
Sterne in Cyberspace is a good introduction to Laurence Sterne, with links to full-text verions of his works, including Tristram Shandy. Another link to four or five of Sterne's works is found through the Great Books Site on Sterne.
George Eliot, aka Mary Anne Evans, English novelist (22 Nov. 1819 - 22 Dec. 1880)
Born to an estate agent in Warwickshire, Evans became her father's housekeeper when he mother died. Although she was brought up with strict religious views, she became a freethinker, joining a circle of intellectuals that included Tennyson, Dickens, and Huxley. Adopted her nom de plume when she published "Amos Barton," a short story eventually collected in Scenes of Clerical Life (1858, 2 vols.). Her novel Adam Bede You might start with a biography of Evans/Eliot, then read The Mill on the Floss and Middlemarch in full-text version, and finish up with a look at the monument on George Eliot's grave!
Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish author, Nov. 13, 1850
There's the RL Stevenson Home Page, with life and works outline, a huge collection of links to e-texts, bibliographies, events, library collections list, links, association and clubs, and images; and Bibliomania offers full texts for five Stevenson novels, including Kidnapped, Treasure Island, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, as well as a short biography.
Other November Birthdays:
Nov 1: French poet and critic Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636; d.1711), an influential neoclassical critic; Stephen Crane, New Jersey-born novelist, reporter, and poet (1871; d.1900), author of The Red Badge of Courage (1895); Sholem Asch (1880), Polish-born Yiddish American novelist and playwright; Hermann Broch (1886), Austrian novelist; Louisiana-born (Chicago-raised) African-American poet, artist, and art teacher Margaret Taylor Burroughs (1917); Palestinian/American (born Jerusalem) Edward Said (1935), music critic for The Nation and political essayist; Virginia-born Southern writer Lee Smith (1944)
Nov 2: Barbey D'Aurevilly (1808; d.1889), French drama and literary critic, novelist, and short story writer, whose masterpiece is considered to be Les Diaboliques (1874; The She-Devils); Odysseus Elytis (1911), Greek poet and 1979 Nobel prize winner; Jamaican-born U.S. novelist and poet Michelle Cliff (1946), whose novels are concerned with social and political issues
Nov 3: Lucan (39 A.D.), Spanish/Latin poet, author of Bellum Civile; Massachusetts-born William Cullen Bryant (1794; d.1878), American romantic poet, editor, and lawyer, he penned the poem "Thanatopsis"; French novelist Andre Malraux (1901); Australian aboriginal poet and writer Oodgeroo Noonuccal (1920; nee Kath Walker); Florida playwright Terrence McNally (1939)
Nov 4: Eden Phillpotts, British novelist, poet, and playwright (1862); Ciro Alegria (1909), Peruvian novelist
Nov 5: London-born poet, dramatist, and translator James Elroy Flecker (1884); Will Durant (1885), Massachusetts-born writer and historian, who with his wife, Ariel, authored the 11-volume Story of Civilization; Connecticut native Thomas Flanagan (1923; d.2002), who wrote an acclaimed Irish historical trilogy; Los Angeles-born novelist and memoirist Geoffrey Wolff (1937); Irish novelist Tom Phelan (1940); playwright and actor Sam Shepard (1943), born in Illinois
Nov 6: Thomas Kyd (baptised this date, 1558), English dramatist; Colley Cibber (1671), English dramatist and poet, re-writer of Richard III; Colorado-born New Yorker founder Harold Ross (1892); James Jones (1921), Illinois novelist and author of From Here To Eternity
Nov 7: Albert Camus (1913; d.1960), French existentialist essayist, novelist, journalist (born Algeria), awarded 1957 Nobel in Literature, well-known for novels L'Etranger (1942; The Stranger) and La Peste (1947; The Plague); Iowa-born Rafael A. Lafferty, science fiction writer and Hugo winner (1914; d.2002)
Nov 8: Bram Stoker (1847), Irish creator of Dracula; Margaret Mitchell (1900), author of Gone with the Wind; Peter Weiss (1916), German/Swedish (born near Berlin) novelist, dramatist, film director, and painter; Japanese/English Booker Prize winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro (1954)
Nov 9: Ivan Turgenev (1818), Russian novelist, poet and playwright; Anne Sexton (1928), Massachusetts poet and suicide
Nov 10: Irish novelist, poet, and dramatist Oliver Goldsmith (1728; d.1774), well-known for his novel The Vicar of Wakefield (1764) and his comedic drama She Stoops to Conquer (1773); German poet, lyricist, and playwright [Johann Christoph] Friedrich von Schiller (1759); [Nicholas] Vachel Lindsay (1879), U.S. poet; novelist J[ohn] P[hillips] Marquand (1893), born Delaware; military and police novelist, New Jersey native William E. Butterworth III (1929), aka WEB Griffin
Nov 11: Russian novelist Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821; d.1881), whose novels include Crime and Punishment (1866) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880); novelist Howard Fast (1914); modern American writer Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922); Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes (1928)
Nov 12: NYC-born non-fiction writer Tracy Kidder (1945), author of House and Among Schoolchildren
Nov 13: Besides Robert Louis Stevenson, above: Massachusetts-born crime writer and columnist George V[incent] Higgins (1939)
Nov 14: Danish poet Adam G[ottlob] Oehlenschläger (1779; English text of poem "There Is A Charming Land"); Swedish children's writer and Pippi Longstocking creator Astrid Lindgren (1907); Minnesota-born journalist Harrison [Evans] Salisbury (1908), non-fiction author and Pulitzer Prize winner for international reporting; Scottish poet Norman Alexander MacCaig (1910); Ohio-born humorist and libertarian P[atrick] J[ake] O'Rourke (1947)
Nov 15: German poet, dramtist, novelist, and 1912 Nobelist Gerhart Hauptmann (1862; d.1946); St. Louis poet and 1951 Pulitzer Prize winner Marianne Moore (1887); English biographer and art critic Sacheverell Sitwell (1897); British novelist Tim Pears (1956); British writer of darkly comic novels Tibor Fischer (1959)
Nov 16: Pulitzer Prize winning, Pittsburgh-born playwright and journalist George S[imon] Kaufman (1889); Armenian/English writer (born Bulgaria) Michael Arlen (1895), aka Dikran Kuyumjian, author of An American Verdict; prolific Austrialian children's book writer Colin [Milton] Thiele (1920), two-time winner of the Australian Children's Book Award; Portuguese playwright, novelist, short story writer José Saramago, Nobel Prize winner in 1998 (1922); NYC-native Julian Thompson (1927), author of young-adult novels; Nigerian fiction writer, essayist, and poet [Albert] Chinua[lumogu] Achebe (1930), whose first novel was Things Fall Apart
Nov 17: Joost van Den Vondel (1587), German/Dutch poet and dramatist; Mississippi-born novelist, Civil War historian, and longtime correspondent of Walker Percy, Shelby Foote (1916)
Nov 18: British humorist and dramtist, the lyrical half of the Gilbert & Sullivan team, Sir William [Schwenck] Gilbert (1836; d.1911); Clarence Day (1874), NYC writer, author of Life with Father; Savannah-born Academy-Award-winning lyricist Johnny Mercer (1909), who wrote "Moon River," "Come Rain or Come Shine," and "Days of Wine and Roses," among many others; Canadian novelist, poet, and short-story writer Margaret Atwood (1939)
Nov 19: Allen Tate (1899), U.S. poet
Nov 20: English poet Thomas Chatterton (1752; d.1770), who wrote "Song From Aella" and poisoned himself before he was 18; Selma Lagerlöf (1858), Swedish novelist and winner of 1909 Nobel in Literature; South African novelist, short-story writer, and Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer (1923)
Nov 21: French philosopher and Candide writer Voltaire (born Francois-Marie Arouet; 1694); journalist, columnist, and author Jim Bishop (1907), wrote The Day Kennedy Was Shot; NYC-born feminist novelist Marilyn French (1929), who wrote The Women's Room; English actress, short-story writer, and novelist Beryl Bainbridge (1933)
Nov 22: Besides George Eliot (see above), French poet and translator (born Cuba) José Maria de Hérédia (1842; d.1905), whose sonnets evoke the sensuous imagery of the Caribbean; English novelist George [Robert] Gissing (1857; d.1903), whose bitter novels of social realism examined poverty's deleterious effect on the character; French novelist and poet André [Paul Guillaume] Gide (1869; d.1951), awarded the 1947 Nobel prize for literature
Nov 23: Irish mystery novelist, journalist, and Edgar Award winner Shaun Herron (1912); Romanian poet Paul Celan (1920); Kentucky-raised African American gothic novelist, poet, and short story writer Gayl Jones (1949)
Nov 24: Besides Laurence Sterne (see above), French poet Charles D'Orléans (1394; d.1465) aka Charles, Duke of Orléans, who wrote chansons, ballades, and rondeaux in French, Latin, and English; Dutch philosopher, author, and lens-grinder Benedict [Baruch] de Spinoza (1632); Italian journalist and author Carlo Collodi (1826), aka Carlo Lorenzini, who created Pinocchio; Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849), writer of The Secret Garden; Garson Kanin (1912), American playwright, producer, and friend of Katharine Hepburn's
Nov 25: Lope Felix de Vega (1562), Spanish dramatist and poet; Ohio-born novelist Helen Hooven Santmyer (1895), author of the best-selling her novel ...And Ladies of the Club; English playwright Shelagh Delaney (1939)
Nov 26: English pre-Romantic poet, hymnist, translator, and letter-writer William Cowper (1731; d.1800), who co-wrote the Olney Hymns; Romanian/French playwright Eugene Ionesco (1909)
Nov 27: Tennessee-born novelist and poet James Agee (1909), who wrote A Death in the Family; Gail Sheehy (1937), author of the Passages books
Nov 28: English cleric and author of the moralistic Pilgrim's Progress (part I-1678; part II-1684), John Bunyan (1628; d.1688); visionary and revolutionary English poet and painter William Blake (1757; d.1827), well-known for Songs of Innocence (1789), Songs of Experience (1794), and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (c.1790); Nikolai Nekrasov (1821), Russian poet and journalist; Russian poet and dramatist Alexander Alexandrovich Blok (1880; d.1921), most famous for The Twelve (1912), which welcomes the Revolution; German (born Vienna, Austria) poet, translator, biographer, short-story writer, and novelist Stefan Zweig (1881); Italian novelist, journalist, and short-story writer Alberto Moravia (1907), nee Alberto Pincherle; Brooklyn native, African American dramatist, poet, novelist, and longtime Howard University drama professor Owen [Vincent] Dodson (1914; d. 1983); Nebraska-born African American poet and novelist Lance Jeffers (1919; d.1985), whose poetry concerned black endurance in the face of white oppression Zimbabwe-born South African poet Dennis Brutus (1924; also called John Bruin); Pennsylvania-born novelist and mystery writer Rita Mae Brown (1944), author of Rubyfruit Jungle and the Sneaky Pie mysteries
Nov 29: Venezuelan poet and scholar Andrés Bello (1781; d.1865); Louisa May Alcott (1832), Pennsylvania-born author of Little Women and Little Men; C. S. Lewis (1898), English essayist, children's writer, and Christian apologist; Carlo Levi (1902), Italian painter and novelist; NYC-born Madeleine L’Engle (1918), novelist, and author of children's classics and non-fiction works; Boston native, novelist, and short-story writer Sue Miller (1943)
Nov 30: [Sir] Phillip Sidney (1554), English poet; English satirist Jonathan Swift (1667), author of A Modest Proposal and Gulliver's Travels; American humorist Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens (1835); American (French-born) writer of critical and historical studies Jacques Barzun (1907); Kansas-born photographer, novelist, autobiographer, essayist, composer, and film producer Gordon [Alexander Buchanan] Parks (1912), whose 1963 novel The Learning Tree was made into a movie in 1968; Chicago-born playwright, screenwriter and director David Mamet (1947)
DECEMBER LITERARY BIRTHDAYS
Hector Hugh Munro (Saki), Scottish/Burmese journalist, short story writer, 18 Dec. 1870
Short-story writer Saki took his pen-name from Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat. He was born in Burma to Scottish parents and lived afterwards in Switzerland, London, Warsaw, and other countries, writing columns for many British newspapers. The Complete Clovis offers biograhical information on Saki and lots of on-line short story texts from Beasts and Super Beasts, The Square Egg, The Toys of Peace and especially The Chronicles of Clovis. A detailed biography of Saki is available through Subir Grewal's Saki site.
Edwin Arlington Robinson, native Maine poet, 22 Dec. 1869
Born in Alna and raised in Gardiner, Robinson became popular after Teddy Roosevelt wrote a favorable review of his second book of poems (The Children of the Night 1897) in 1905. Although Robinson lived in New York City and in Peterboro NH most of his adult life, many of his poems draw on his experiences and the people he knew in Gardiner. For more biographical data on Robinson, check this site.
Other works include The Torrent and the Night Before (1896), Captain Craig and Other Poems (1902), The Town Down the River (1910), The Man Against the Sky, Collected Poems (1921; won Pulitzer Prize), Tristram (1927; won Pulitzer Prize), and The Man Who Died Twice (1927; won Pulitzer Prize). His poems "Miniver Cheevy," "Richard Cory," and "Tilbury Town" are all said to be inspired by people of Gardiner.
The Modern American Poetry Web site for Robinson has info on Robinson's life and career and his poetry, and essays on specific poems (including "The House on the Hill," "Richard Cory," and "Miniver Cheevy.")
Other December Birthdays:
Dec 1: Rex Stout, mystery writer from Indiana, creator of Nero Wolfe (1886); Charles Finney, U.S. author (1905)
Dec 2: New Zealand-born Rewi Alley, who lived and wrote in China for over 60 years (1897); English sci-fi author Brian Lumley (1937)
Dec 3: Polish-born English writer Joseph Conrad (1857; birthdate also given as Dec. 6; d.1924), born Joez Teodor Konrad Nanecz Korzeniowski, famous for short stories Heart of Darkness (1902) and The Secret Sharer (1912) and the novel Lord Jim, among others
Dec 4: Scottish essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle (1795; d.1881); English writer Samuel Butler (1835); German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875); author of "Rear Window" Cornell Woolrich (1903)
Dec 5: Christina Rossetti, British writer (1830); prolific Mississippi-born (Syracuse, NY-raised) African American novelist, journalist, and biographer John A[lfred] Williams (1925); U.S. writer Joan Didion (1934); New York author, columnist, and satirist Calvin Trillin (1935); German (Austrian-born) novelist and playwright Peter Handke (1942), who wrote the screenplay for Wings of Desire.
Dec 6: Polish-born English writer Joseph Conrad (1857; birthdate also given as Dec. 6; d.1924), born Joez Teodor Konrad Nanecz Korzeniowski, famous for short stories Heart of Darkness (1902) and The Secret Sharer (1912) and the novel Lord Jim, among others Boston-born editor, poet, and critic William Stanley Braithwaite (1878, d. 1962) "Trees" poet [Alfred] Joyce Kilmer (1886); London poet and writer Osbert Sitwell (1892); Broadway lyricist Ira Gershwin (1896)
Dec 7: 1923 Pulitzer Prize winner Willa [Sibert] Cather (1876; d.1947), born near Winchester, Virginia, and raised in Nebraska, author of O Pioneers! (1913) and My Antonia (1918), among others; Japanese poet Yosano Akiko (1878); Anglo-Irish writer Joyce Cary (1888); M.I.T. linguist and leftist Noam Chomsky (1928); prolific African-American playwright, poet, and newspaper columnist Pearl [Michelle] Cleage (1948) aka Pearl Cleage Lomax
Dec 8: Roman poet Horace (65 B.C.; 8 B.C.), born Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Horace in Latin); 1903 Nobel Prize winner, Norwegian dramatist, poet, novelist, and politician Bjornstjerne [Martinius] Bjornson (1832; d.1910); American (born Georgia) journalist, short-story writer, novelist, and creator of Uncle Remus, Joel Chandler Harris (1848; d.1908); British writer of travel books, zoological treatises, novels, and an autobiography, [George] Norman Douglas (1868; d.1952); Irish novelist and poet Padraic Colum (1881); Pittsburgh native and novelist Hervey Allen (1889), author of Anthony Adverse; Ohio humorist James Thurber (1894); Welsh novelist Richard Llewellyn (1906); U.S. poet, short story writer, and critic Delmore Schwartz (1913); NY-born novelist Mary Gordon (1949)
Dec 9: Poet John Milton (1608); Babar creator Jean de Brunhoff (1899); Ohio native, African American poet and critic Samuel W[ashington] Allen (1917), who considers the black church a major influence on his poetry; Maryland-born African American poet, novelist, non-fiction writer, and co-founder of the Philadelphia Writers' Workshop, Sara E. Wright (1928)
Dec 10: Scottish fantasy author George MacDonald (1824; wrote The Light Princess); "the Belle of Amherst" (Massachusetts), poet Emily [Elizabeth] Dickinson (1830; d.1886); German/Jewish poet and 1966 Nobelist Nelly Sachs; William Plomer, writer on South Africa (1903); British children's writer Mary Norton (1903), who penned the Borrowers stories; English author Rumer Godden (1907); Washington state native, poet Carolyn Kizer (1925); California-born mystery writer and creator of J.W. Jackson, Philip R. Craig (1933)
Dec 11: Parisian writer Alfred de Musset (1810; see Musset's grave!); Turkish poet and author Kemal Bey (1840); Egyptian novelist, playwright, and short-story writer Naguib Mahfouz (1911), who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature; Russian writer and 1970 Nobelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918); writer Grace Paley (1922); Michigan poet and novelist Jim Harrison (1937), who wrote the three-volume Legends of the Fall; another Michigan native, novelist Thomas McGuane (1939)
Dec 12: French novelist Gustave Flaubert (1821; d.1880), whose first novel, Madame Bovary (1857), is considered his greatest; French playwright Maurice Donnay (1859); English playwright John Osborne (1929)
Dec 13: German poet, essayist, and travel writer Heinrich Heine (1797; d.1856), best known for his ironical lyrics and ballads, many of which are set to music; Pennsylvania playwright Marc Connelly (1890); U.S. poet and novelist Kenneth Patchen (1911); detective novelist Ross MacDonald (1915)
Dec 14: U.S. short story writer Shirley Jackson (1919); Chicago native and poet Carolyn M[arie] Rodgers (1945), once a member of the black arts movement
Dec 15: Novelist Betty Smith (1906; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn); U.S. poet Muriel Rukeyser (1913); controversial Irish writer Edna O'Brien (1932); Detroit native, African American novelist Donald Goines (1937?; d.1974) aka Al C. Clark, known for grim novels about drug users and prostitutes
Dec 16: English novelist Jane Austen (1775; d.1817); Spanish poet and philosopher George Santayana (1863); playwright and 1942 Academy Award winner Sir Noel Coward (1899); Sir V[ictor] S[awdon] Pritchett, author and literary critic (1900); futurist Arthur C. Clarke (1917); Chicago-born writer Philip K. Dick (1928)
Dec 17: U.S. poet John Greenleaf Whittier (1807); French novelist Jules de Goncourt (1830); very prolific English novelist, critic, biographer, and editor Ford Madox Ford (1873; d.1939), born Ford Hermann Hueffer, whose harrowing experiences in World War I influenced many of his novels; South African novelist, autobiographer, and literary critic Ezekiel Mphahlele (1919) aka Es'kia Mphahlele and Bruno Eseki, whose novels include The Wanderers (1971) and Chirundu (1981); Baltimore-born sci-fi/fantasy writer Jack Chalker (1944)
Dec 18: Besides Saki, above: English playwright Christopher Fry (1907); U.S. sci-fi writer Alfred Bester (1913); Georgia native, African-American actor, dramatist, screenwriter, and novelist Ossie Davis (1917), who wrote the play Purlie Victorious (1961) and its musical adaptation Purlie (1970), about a Southern black preacher who hopes to establish a racially integrated church; U.S. fantasy writer Sterling Lanier (1927); English fantasy author Michael Moorcock (1939)
Dec 19: Su Tung Po, Chinese poet and essayist (1036); Italo Svevo, Trieste novelist (1861); 1930 Pulitzer Prize winner Oliver Lafarge (1901); French novelist and playwright Jean Genet (1910); Irish-born, Californian children's author Eve Bunting (1928)
Dec 20: Welsh writer T[heodore] F[rancis] Powys (1875); novelist Hortense Calisher (1911)
Dec 21: British Tory statesman and pioneer of the political novel Sir Benjamin "Dizzy" Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (1804; d.1881); French poet Gustave Kahn (1859; Kahn's poems in French); U.S. writer of dog novels Albert P[ayson] Terhune (1872); novelist Dame Rebecca West (1892); English novelist Anthony Powell (1905); German writer and 1972 Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Boll (1917)
Dec 22: Besides E.A. Robinson, above: English poet and parodist Charles Stuart Calverley (1831; d.1884), considered one of the most brilliant men of his time; U.S. poet and translator Kenneth Rexroth (1905)
Dec 23: Martin Opitz, German poet (1597); French writer Charles-Augustin de Sainte-Beuve (1804); Scottish author Samuel Smiles (1812; authored Jasmin); Chicago poet and first editor of the journal Poetry, Harriet Monroe (1860); Sicilian writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (1896); U.S. poet, translator, and "Iron John" Robert Bly (1926); children's author Avi (1937)
Dec 24: English poet and curate George Crabbe (1754; d.1832; 2 Crabbe poems), remembered for his portrayal of rural life; English poet and critic Matthew Arnold (1822; d.1888); Spanish poet and journalist (born Andalusia) and 1956 Nobel Prize winner Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881; d.1958), who left Spain at the start of the Spanish Civil War to live in the U.S., Cuba, and Puerto Rico; U.S. fantasy writer Fritz Leiber (1910); NY mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark (1929)
Dec 25: English poet William Collins (1721; d.1759; selected Collins' poems); Pittsburgh native (West Virginia-raised) African-American novelist and scriptwriter William Demby (1922); U.S. mystic and writer Carlos Castaneda (1931)
Dec 26: English poet and scholar of history and languages, Thomas Gray (1716; d.1771), friend of Horace Walpole; writer Henry Miller (1891); Washington D.C.-born poet, short story writer, dramatist, and essayist Jean Toomer (1894; d.1967) born Nathan Eugene Toomer, a child of mixed-race parents who considered himself simply ",;American" probably best known for his 1923 book Cane
Dec 27: Ohio writer and winner of 1926 Pulitzer for fiction Louis Bromfield (1896); English writer Wilfrid Sheed (1930)
Dec 28:Spanish writer Pio Baroja y Nessa (1872); NYC-born author and philosopher Mortimer J. Adler (1902); NY writer and "Twilight Zone" creator Rod Serling (1927); Argentinian writer, author of Kiss of the Spider Woman, Manuel Puig (1932)
Dec 29: Robert Ruark, U.S. writer of hunting and outdoors stories (1915).
Dec 30: English author (born Bombay, India) and 1907 Nobelist [Joseph] Rudyard Kipling (1865; d.1936), author of The Jungle Book (1894), Kim, and Just-So Stories (1902), among others; children's author Mercer Mayer (1943)
Dec 31: Kansas native, African-American poet and journalist Frank Marshall Davis (1905; d. 1987), whose poetry protested the racial inequality of the 1930s and 40s; Georgia-born (Chicago-raised) experimental fiction writer and poet Clarence Major (1936); British non-fiction writer Roy Sydney Porter (1946; d.2002)
Birthday info courtesy of Molly Williams at the Waterboro Public Library in Waterboro, Maine (http://www.waterborolibrary.org/birth.htm)