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As the name suggest, this thread is about, posting memorable events related to Literature, that took place on this day. Its almost like opening an old case file, to remember the days gone by!!!

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2nd October, 2012

Graham Greene, "Greeneland"
On this day in 1904 Graham Greene was born. According to Greene's biographers, the "Greeneland" in which his fictional fringe-dwellers and tortured souls would struggle to live was discovered in adolescence. One 1991 obituary said that "If Greene's key characters had been animals one cannot help feeling that they would have been compassionately put down."

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3rd October, 2012

Being William Morris

On this day in 1896 William Morris died at the age of sixty-two. Morris was one of the most talented and respected figures in the Victorian Era, but the superhuman range and pace of his vocations -- painter, architect, designer, craftsman, writer, book-maker, socialist crusader -- caused one physician to attribute his death to "simply being William Morris, and having done more work than most ten men."

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Neena (I-am-addicted-to-reading) | 9758 comments Mod
That's very insightful.....thanks Anirban for starting this thread.....

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Neena wrote: "That's very insightful.....thanks Anirban for starting this thread....."

You are welcome!! :)

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4th October in the year 1937

Wallace Stevens (1879 - 1955)

Wallace Stevens & his Blue Guitar

On this day in 1937, Wallace Stevens published his fourth book of poetry, The Man with the Blue Guitar. Stevens was a lawyer with the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company for almost forty years, and he was forty-four when he published his first book of poetry. This was Harmonium, a collection which included some of his most anthologized poems -- "Domination of Black," "The Emperor of Ice Cream," "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" -- but which sold fewer than 100 copies at the time. It was dismissed by its New York Times reviewer as a "glittering edifice of icicles" within which "there is not an idea that can vitally affect the mind, there is not a word that can arouse emotion." But in 1955, the year of his death, Stevens's Collected Poems won the Pulitzer and National Book Awards, and he had come to be seen as a founding father of modern poetry -- though some still complained that Stevens succeeded too well at implementing his belief that poetry "must resist the intelligence / Almost successfully."

Stevens's long title-poem in The Man With the Blue Guitar was partly inspired by Picasso's "The Old Guitarist," one of the paintings in a Picasso exhibition which came to Hartford in 1934. Another inspiration was the complaining of many politically-minded critics in the 30s, who did not like his emphasis on the independent imagination of the artist and his unconcern with "things exactly as they are":
The man bent over his guitar.
A shearsman of sorts. The day was green.

They said, "You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are."

The man replied, "Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar."

And they said then, "But play, you must,
A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,

A tune upon the blue guitar
Of things exactly as they are. . . ."
Stevens took a daily two-mile walk to the office, so gaining inspiration for some of the century's most famous and metaphysical poems; Hartford is currently rasing funds to commemorate Stevens by placing the stanzas of his Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird at regular intervals along his route. These are the last of the thirteen ways:
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

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5th October, 1978

Isaac Bashevis Singer

Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904 - 1991)

On this day in 1978 Isaac Bashevis Singer was awarded the Nobel Prize. Singer emigrated to the United States from Poland in 1935 but he continued to write mostly in Yiddish, and most of his work -- two-dozen novels (Enemies: A Love Story, Yentl), about that many collections of short stories, several books of memoirs -- is rooted in Jewish traditions and history. This prompted him to deliver the first part of his Nobel speech in Yiddish, and to not only praise his language but predict its rising from the 'dead' category:
There is a quiet humor in Yiddish and a gratitude for every day of life, every crumb of success, each encounter of love. The Yiddish mentality is not haughty. It does not take victory for granted. It does not demand and command but it muddles through, sneaks by, smuggles itself amid the powers of destruction, knowing somewhere that God's plan for Creation is still at the very beginning.... Yiddish has not yet said its last word. It contains treasures that have not yet been revealed to the eyes of the world....
At another talk delivered in Stockholm, Singer acknowledged that Yiddish had some limitations, with no words for such things as automobiles and airplanes ... "But is it so bad if a Yiddishist takes the bus or subway?" He also gave his Top Ten Reasons for preferring to write for children:
Children read books, not reviews
They don't read to find their identity.
They don't read to free themselves from guilt, to quench their thirst for rebellion, or to get rid of alienation.
They have no use for psychology.
They detest sociology.
They don't try to understand Kafka or Finnegans Wake. They still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, goblins, logic, clarity, punctuation, and other such obsolete stuff.
They love interesting stories, not commentary, guides, or footnotes.
When a book is boring, they yawn openly.
They don't expect their beloved writer to redeem humanity.
Reason #10 notwithstanding, Singer's Nobel speech wondered if, "when all the social theories collapse and wars and revolutions leave humanity in utter gloom, the poet ... may rise up to save us all." He also wondered where he was going to get a replacement for his forty-three-year-old Yiddish typewriter, now that they were no longer made.

In "Gimpel the Fool," title-story to his first collection in 1957, Singer gives notice that he will tell tales and praise folly, in the ancient tradition:
I am Gimpel the fool. I don't think myself a fool. On the contrary. But that's what folks call me. They gave me the name while I was still in school. I had seven names in all: imbecile, donkey, flax-head, dope, flump, ninny, and fool. The last name stuck. What did my foolishness consist of? I was easy to take in. They said, "Gimpel, you know the rabbi's wife has been brought to childbed?" So I skipped school. Well, it turned out to be a lie. How was I supposed to know? She hadn't had a big belly. But I never looked at her belly. Was that really so foolish? The gang laughed and hee-hawed, stomped and danced and chanted a goodnight prayer. And instead of the raisins they give when a woman's lying in, they stuffed my hand full of goat turds. I was no weakling. If I slapped someone he'd see all the way to Cracow. But I'm really not a slugger by nature. I think to myself: Let it pass. So they take advantage of me....

message 8: by Neena (new)

Neena (I-am-addicted-to-reading) | 9758 comments Mod
Anirban this is a very nice effort on your side. Great!

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6th October,1876
American Library Association started on October 6, 1876

6th October, 1921
On this day in 1921 the first branch of the now worldwide writers' organization, PEN, was founded in England by Mrs. C. A. Dawson Scott. Its first president was John Galsworthy, and early members included Joseph Conrad, George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells and D. H. Lawrence. The acronym derives from Poets and playwrights/Editors/Novelists, but today the organization includes critics, translators, journalists, etc. Besides operating in the usual ways of professional organizations, PEN is especially active in supporting writers who are politically oppressed, and for promoting freedom of expression. Their web site features the 4-line poem by assassinated Algerian writer Tahar Djaout that has rallied and inspired many:
Silence is death.
If you are silent you are dead,
And if you speak you are dead,
So speak and die.
Found in Djaout's papers was the manuscript for his recently published anti-fundamentalist novel, The Last Summer of Reason. His murder triggered a wave of writer-killings in Algeria -- over fifty between 1993 and 1996. It also triggered the birth of a new writer's group, separate from and somewhat alternative to PEN, the International Parliament of Writers, with first Salman Rushdie, then Wole Soyinka and now Russell Banks as president. This is from the IPW's "Declaration of Independence," written by Rushdie:
Writers are citizens of many countries: the finite and frontiered country of observable reality and everyday life, the boundless kingdom of the imagination, the half-lost land of memory, the federations of the heart which are both hot and cold, the united states of the mind (calm and turbulent, broad and narrow, ordered and deranged), the celestial and infernal nations of desire, and -- perhaps the most important of all our habitations -- the unfettered republic of the tongue. It is these countries that our Parliament of Writers can claim, truthfully and with both humility and pride, to represent.... Our Parliament of Writers exists to fight for oppressed writers and against all those who persecute them and their work, and to renew continually the declaration of independence without which writing is impossible; and not only writing, but dreaming; and not only dreaming, but thought; and not only thought, but liberty itself.

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October 7, 1929

William Faulkner

(1897 - 1962)

On this day in 1929, William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury was published. It was his fourth novel, the second and most famous in his series of fifteen "Yoknapatawpha County" books. Early reviewers compared it to Dostoevsky and Euripides, but a first printing of 1,789 copies lasted for a year and a half. Even this was more than Faulkner expected: having had so little interest from publishers in his previous books, Faulkner forgot all about them when he began The Sound and the Fury:
One day I seemed to shut the door between me and all publishers' addresses and book lists. I said to myself, Now I can write. Now I can make myself a vase like that which the old Roman kept at his bedside and wore the rim slowly away with kissing it. So I, who never had a sister and was fated to lose my daughter in infancy, set out to make myself a beautiful and tragic little girl.
The daily writing was "ecstasy," and the particular image which provided the genesis of the book became "the only thing in literature which would ever move me very much: Caddy climbing the pear tree to look in the window at her grandfather's funeral while Quentin and Jason and Benjy and the negroes looked up at the muddy seat of her drawers."
"Push me up, Versh." Caddy said.
"All right." Versh said. "You the one going to get whipped. I aint." He went and pushed Caddy up into the tree to the first limb. We watched the muddy bottom of her drawers. Then we couldn't see her. We could hear the tree thrashing.
"Mr Jason said if you break that tree he whip you." Versh said.
"I'm going to tell on her too." Jason said.
The tree quit thrashing. We looked up into the still branches.
"What you seeing." Frony whispered.
I saw them. Then I saw Caddy, with flowers in her hair, and a long veil like shining wind. Caddy Caddy....
Faulkner maintained his folksy, self-deprecating view that the book was a "splendid failure" right to the end, even after worldwide fame and the Nobel. In a 1957 interview he described his experimental, 4-part telling of the story as a decision forced upon him by his lack of talent:
I tried first to tell it with one brother, and that wasn't enough. That was Section One. I tried with another brother, and that wasn't enough. That was Section Two. I tried the third brother, because Caddy was still to me too beautiful and too moving to reduce her to telling what was going on, that it would be more passionate to see her through somebody else's eyes, I thought. And that failed and I tried myself -- the fourth section -- to tell what happened, and I still failed.

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Virginia Woolf

October 8, 1931

Virginia Woolf (1882 - 1941)

On this day in 1931 Virginia Woolf's The Waves was published. She was just forty-nine, and she would live and write for another decade, but this was the last of her major works -- a series of six books over nine years that would change the face of modern fiction. A journal entry from eight months earlier, written on the morning that she finished the last chapter, shows that Woolf had some sense of her latest accomplishment:
Here in the few minutes that remain, I must record, heaven be praised, the end of The Waves. I wrote the words O Death fifteen minutes ago, having reeled across the last ten pages with some moments of such intensity and intoxication that I seemed only to stumble after my own voice, or almost, after some sort of speaker (as when I was mad). I was almost afraid, remembering the voices that used to fly ahead. Anyhow, it is done; and I have been sitting these 15 minutes in a state of glory, and calm.... How physical the sense of triumph and relief is!... I have netted the fin in the waste of water which appeared to me over the marshes out of my window at Rodmell when I was coming to an end of To the Lighthouse.
In his biography, nephew Quentin Bell writes, "If, as many critics assert, The Waves was Virginia's masterpiece, then that [journal moment] may be accounted the culminating point in her career as an artist."

Woolf's allusion to madness was not made lightly. Earlier journal entries express her anguish over the psychological and narrative problems which she encountered during the writing of The Waves. It must certainly have occurred to her that a book which tries to voice the lives and sensibilities of six fragmented characters might not be healthy for a writer with her psychological history, one who feels how "difficult it is to collect oneself into one Virginia; even though the special Virginia in whose body I live for the moment is violently susceptible to all sorts of separate feelings." The central event of the book required her to once again revisit the trauma of her brother Thoby's premature death -- some critics say the trauma of her own sexual abuse, also. There were constant waves of illness and health, despair and buoyancy, and resolve: "One will not perhaps go to the writing table & write the simple & profound paper upon suicide which I see myself leaving for my friends" and "The only way I keep afloat is by working" and "If I never felt these extraordinarily pervasive strains -- of unrest, or rest, or happiness, or discomfort -- I should float down into acquiescence. Here is something to fight: & when I wake early I say to myself, Fight, fight. If I could catch the feeling, I would: the feeling of the singing of the real world."

The following passage is from the very end of the novel. The italicized lines are on a plaque which Leonard Woolf put beneath a sculpture of his wife in the garden of their Rodmell, Sussex; her ashes were scattered there after her suicide in 1941:
"And in me too the wave rises. It swells; it arches its back. I am aware once more of a new desire, something rising beneath me like the proud horse whose rider first spurs and then pulls him back. What enemy do we now perceive advancing against us, you whom I ride now, as we stand pawing this stretch of pavement? It is death. Death is the enemy. It is death against whom I ride with my spear couched and my hair flying back like a young man's, like Percival's, when he galloped in India. I strike spurs into my horse. Against you I will fling myself, unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!"

The waves broke on the shore.

message 12: by Neena (new)

Neena (I-am-addicted-to-reading) | 9758 comments Mod
I did not know that about Virginia Woolf. This is Very insightful....Thanks for sharing it here Anirban

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Edgar Allan Poe

October 9, 1849

Edgar Allan Poe

On this day in 1849, The New York Daily Tribune published Edgar Allan Poe's last poem, "Annabel Lee." Poe had died two days earlier, from mysterious causes and in odd circumstances, even for him -- theories include political thugs, rabies, brain lesion, or the most likely, a final binge either chosen or forced upon him by brothers of his newly-betrothed, who viewed Poe's interest in their sister as opportunism. "Annabel Lee" was written the previous May; ever destitute and never without flair, Poe grandly gave a copy to a friend the day before his disappearance, passing it off as a recently-penned "little trifle that may be worth something to you," though he had already sold it to a handful of magazines. He had also sent a copy to Rufus Griswold, a personal enemy but also the editor of the popular anthology, The Poets and Poetry of America. After Poe's death he became his agent-editor-biographer, though a hostile and unreliable one: Poe had "no moral susceptibility," he deserved to die "without money and without friends," as a critic he was "little better than a carping grammarian," and other similar comments. Griswold is also responsible for shaping the Poe myth: he "walked the streets, in madness or melancholy, with lips moving in indistinct curses"; he wrote of "worlds no mortal can see" and spoke "in forms of gloomiest and ghostliest grandeur." It was Griswold, in his rambling and ranting obituary notice, who first published "Annabel Lee" in the Tribune:
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love,
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
Although many other women, some encouraged by Poe, claimed to be his inspiration, the poem is generally thought to reflect Poe's relationship with his child-bride/cousin/"sister" Virginia, who was thirteen at the time of her marriage and just twenty-three when she died of tuberculosis. And as Virginia inspired Poe's "Annabel Lee," so Poe's Annabel inspired Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. It was originally titled, "Kingdom by the Sea," and Humbert Humbert's first nymphet was Annabel Leigh -- though they were both thirteen-somethings at this point. Their seaside almost-consummation was interrupted by other swimmers; when Annabel died four months later of typhus, Humbert was stamped him for life:
I recall the scent of some kind of toilet powder-I believe she stole it from her mother's Spanish maid-a sweetish, lowly, musky perfume. It mingled with her own biscuity odor, and my senses were suddenly filled to the brim; a sudden commotion in a nearby bush prevented them from overflowing.... But that mimosa grove -- the haze of stars, the tingle, the flame, the honey-dew, and the ache remained with me, and that little girl with her seaside limbs and ardent tongue haunted me ever since -- until at last, twenty-four years later, I broke her spell by incarnating her in another.

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Harold Pinter

October 10, 1930

Harold Pinter (1930 - 2008)

On this day in 1930 Harold Pinter was born. Although now a Nobel laureate, a "Companion of Honour" (he turned down the knighthood), a recipient of Europe's top theater awards (the Shakespeare, the Olivier, the Pirandello, the Moliere ...), and author of some five-dozen plays and screenplays over fifty years, Pinter had a rough start. The Birthday Party, his first professional production in 1957, got not just bad but mocking reviews and closed after a week. When Pinter arrived late for the Thursday performance, he tried to rush past the usherette to a seat:
"Where are you going?" she said. "To the dress circle," I said. "I'm the author." Her eyes, as I recall, misted over. "Oh, are you?" she said. "Oh, you poor chap. Listen, the dress circle's closed, but why don't you go in, go in and sit down, darling, if you like, go on." I went into the empty dress circle and looked down into the stalls. Six people were watching the performance....
This story is in Michael Billington's authorized, 1996 biography, which portrays Pinter as an individualist from an early age, one not likely to quit or be swayed by criticism. Seven years later, The Homecoming -- Pinter's first hit and, many say, his best play -- had a repertory run of eighteen months in London, making Pinter and the "Pinteresque" famous. At this representative moment in Act One, Lenny attempts to clear his sister-in-law's glass and the bottom falls out of the family reunion:LENNY You've consumed quite enough, in my opinion.
RUTH No, I haven't.
LENNY Quite sufficient, in my own opinion.
RUTH Not in mine, Leonard.
LENNY ... Just give me the glass.
LENNY I'll take it, then.
RUTH If you take the glass ... I'll take you.
LENNY How about me taking the glass without you taking me?
RUTH Why don't I just take you?

Perhaps Pinter learned his pauses as an only child in Hackney. At the age of eight or nine he and a group of imaginary friends would gather in his back garden, where they "talked aloud and held conversations beyond the lilac tree." Billington makes much of Pinter's experiences as a child-evacuee during WWII, as if it was a first taste of the adrift, menacing, semi-reality that he would put in his plays: "'There was,' says Pinter, 'no fixed sense of being ... of being ... at all.'" The war certainly helped bring a sense of drama to this funny story of young love:
"I kept seeing this girl pass up and down the street. I couldn't speak to her. So I phoned her pretending to be an American soldier.... I put on an American accent and said I would be at the gates of Springfield Park, which was close by, at a certain time on a certain day. She said, 'I've never heard of such a thing in all my life. How dare you? Who are you?'... Anyway, I went to the gates of Springfield Park and she turned up. I remember it well because it was a drizzly day and she came to the gates and saw me standing there forlornly in a raincoat and cried out, 'Harold Pinter! What on earth are you doing here?'"
Billington also points out that Pinter's now-famous political views were formed early, his first conscientious objection and fine for refusing to enter National Service occurring in 1949. This 2003 poem shows him thinking differently about American soldiers:
Here they go again,
The Yanks in their armoured parade
Chanting their ballads of joy
As they gallop across the big world
Praising America's God.

The gutters are clogged with the dead
The ones who couldn't join in
The others refusing to sing
The ones who are losing their voice
The ones who've forgotten the tune....

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Elmore Leonard

October 11, 1925

Elmore Leonard (1925 - )

On this day in 1925 Elmore Leonard was born in New Orleans. Leonard spent most of his first decade in the South, moving from city to city as his father scouted dealership sites for GM. By the time he was ten, Leonard's family had settled in Detroit, and his David Copperfield-Pip years -- a review in 1984 labeled Leonard the "Dickens of Detroit" and this has stuck -- were spent in an All-American way: quarterback of the football team, pitcher for the baseball team, a casual approach to school, and a career path begun in the advertising department of Chevrolet. Leonard's advertising niche was trucks -- he says he had great difficulty with convertibles -- and in one of his rejected ads, an endorsement sent in by one trucker, we perhaps see the future novelist: "You don't wear that sonofabitch out, you just get tired of looking at it and buy a new one.

Leonard first applied his aptitude for writing to Westerns, having the idea that the genre was achievable and well paying. The collapse of this market and his success in it -- most notably, Hombre (1961) -- brought him to crime-writing and fame, not only of the best-seller and Newsweek-cover variety but the sort that comes from higher up the literary criticism ladder. This praise of Leonard's "literary genius" is from Martin Amis in an essay in his recent anthology, The War Against Cliché:
He understands the postmodern world -- the world of wised-up rabble and zero authenticity. His characters are equipped not with obligingly suggestive childhoods or case histories, but with a cranial jukebox of situation comedies and talk shows and advertising jingles, their dreams and dreads all mediated and secondhand. They are not lost souls or dead souls. Terrible and pitiable (and often downright endearing), they are simply junk souls: quarter pounders, with cheese.
In a recent interview with Amis, Leonard wanted no part of such pronouncements. When asked, "What is your view about crime in America?" Leonard replied:
I don't have a view about crime in America. There isn't anything I can say that would be interesting at all. When I'm fashioning my bad guys, though (and sometimes a good guy has had a criminal past and then he can go either way; to me, he's the best kind of character to have), I don't think of them as bad guys. I just think of them as, for the most part, normal people who get up in the morning and they wonder what they're going to have for breakfast, and they sneeze, and they wonder if they should call their mother, and then they rob a bank. Because that's the way they are....

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Robert Lowell

October 13, 1943

Robert Lowell (1917 - 1977)

On this day in 1943 Robert Lowell went to jail for draft evasion. The twenty-six-year-old Lowell was barely published at this point, but because he came from a venerated Boston family -- one with Mayflower roots, and distinguished military leaders -- the event made headline news. Looking back, Lowell would describe his stand as "the most decisive thing I ever did, just as a writer"; he would also turn the memory into a centerpiece poem in Life Studies, the 1959 collection regarded by many as the most important book of American poetry in the second half of the twentieth century.

Lowell's protest was principled, but not that of a pacifist. He had answered earlier draft calls willingly, and had even tried to enlist; on all occasions he had been turned down because of poor eyesight. There was every reason to think that he would be turned down again at his upcoming recall examination, but in the interim Lowell had become an even more devout Catholic, and America at war had shown a new "Machiavellian contempt for the laws of justice and charity between nations." This phrase is from Lowell's "Declaration of Personal Responsibility," mailed to President Roosevelt on September 7th and then to 110 other family members, friends and newspapers. Military service was a "moral responsibility" which he and his family had long honored, but the recent saturation bombings -- Hamburg, other places, eventually Dresden -- and the demand that Germany and Japan unconditionally surrender had forced Lowell to "the conclusion that I cannot honorably participate in a war whose prosecution, as far as I can judge, constitutes a betrayal of my country."

Such comments got him a year and a day in a correctional facility. Much of the time was spent in community service, but the first ten days of confinement were in New York's West Street Jail, in which Lepke Buchalter, gangster boss of "Murder, Incorporated," was also being held as he awaited Sing-Sing. In "Memories of West Street and Lepke," Lowell recalls him as untroubled:
...there piling towels on a rack,
or dawdling off to his little segregated cell full
of things forbidden to the common man:
a portable radio, a dresser, two toy American
flags tied together with a ribbon of Easter palm.
Flabby, bald, lobotomized,
he drifted in a sheepish calm,
where no agonizing reappraisal
jarred his concentration on the electric chair
hanging like an oasis in his air
of lost connections....
The poem was written when America was in "the tranquilized Fifties" and Lowell, now forty and no longer "a fire-breathing Catholic ... telling off the state and president," seemed accommodated:
Only teaching on Tuesdays, book-worming
in pajamas fresh from the washer each morning,
I hog a whole house on Boston's
"hardly passionate Marlborough Street,"
where even the man
scavenging filth in the back alley trash cans,
has two children, a beach wagon, a helpmate,
and is "a young Republican."
Beneath the surface resignation, the poem seems to bristle with change, or the hope for it. The poet of Life Studies was certainly not at rest. The collection represented a breakthrough in style for Lowell -- it is often described as the first book of the "Confessional" school -- and brought him a National Book Award. The writing triggered his fourth and fifth mental breakdowns from manic-depression and, as described here by biographer Paul Mariani, put him back in jail:
Afraid of shock treatments, afraid of being locked up again, afraid of what was happening to him, Cal [Lowell's nickname] appeared to be resisting arrest in the station and was once again treated roughly by the police, who even refused him water, until his friend demanded they stop treating him like some ape. Then he drove Cal out to McLean's, where Cal was admitted, isolated, and stripped to his underwear to keep him from hurting himself.
Lowell would continue to suffer from manic-depression, continue to write -- two Pulitzers to go with the National Book Award -- and, when the Vietnamese War arrived, continue to protest. He died in 1977 of a heart attack, just sixty years old.

message 17: by Neena (new)

Neena (I-am-addicted-to-reading) | 9758 comments Mod
Anirban wrote: "Robert Lowell

October 13, 1943

Robert Lowell (1917 - 1977)

On this day in 1943 Robert Lowell went to jail for draft evasion. The twenty-six-year-old Lowell was barely published a..."

Well that was very insightful. I had no idea about that. Anirban this is a good thread you started. Very nice!!

message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Neena wrote: "Anirban wrote: "Robert Lowell

October 13, 1943

Robert Lowell (1917 - 1977)

On this day in 1943 Robert Lowell went to jail for draft evasion. The twenty-six-year-old Lowell was ba..."

Thanx, but my favorite is the NEWSPAPER HEADLINES THREAD :D

message 19: by Neena (new)

Neena (I-am-addicted-to-reading) | 9758 comments Mod
that's really funny.....I wanted to ask you something......would not it be good if you post bunch of headlines together like 10 and update your thread weekly or every few days? what you think about that?

message 20: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 14, 2012 05:16AM) (new)

Muriel Spark

October 14, 1961

Muriel Spark (1918 - 2006)

Muriel Spark, Miss Brodie, Miss Kay

On this day in 1961 Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was published in The New Yorker, an expanded version appearing in book form the following year This is one of Spark's earliest novels -- there are some two dozen -- but it remains her best known, due to the film, stage and television series versions. In her 1993 autobiography, Curriculum Vitae, Dame Spark confirms that Miss Christina Kay, one of her teachers at James Gillespie's High School for Girls in Edinburgh, was the model for her flamboyant and domineering Miss Brodie, up to a point. She reprints and agrees with this letter from her best friend, one of many classmates who wrote to her when the novel appeared:
Surely 75% is Miss Kay? Dear Miss Kay! of the cropped iron grey hair with fringe (and heavy black moustache!) and undisputable admiration for Il Duce. Hers was the expression creme de la creme -- hers the revealing extra lessons on art and music that stay with me yet. She it was who took us both (who were especial favourites of hers? -- part of the as yet unborn Brodie Set) to see Pavlova's last performance at the Empire Theatre. Who took us to afternoon teas at McVities.
But, as far as the creme knew, Miss Kay did not have an affair with the singing master, and so they did not imagine sending him, on her behalf, notes which read, "Allow me to congratulate you warmly upon your sexual intercourse, as well as your singing." And it sounds as if the prime of Miss Brodie would have met its match in Miss Kay: "If she could have met 'Miss Brodie,'" writes Spark, "Miss Kay would have put the fictional character firmly in her place." Spark began to write about Miss Kay while still one of her students, and Miss Kay pronounced her a writer in such "emphatic terms" that "I felt I had hardly much choice in the matter." As had not Miss Brodie's Sandy:
"I am summoned to see the headmistress at morning break on Monday," said Miss Brodie. "I have no doubt Miss McKay wishes to question my methods of instruction. It has happened before. It will happen again. Meanwhile, I follow my principles of education and give of my best in my prime. The word 'education' comes from the root e from ex, out, and duco, I lead. It means a leading out. To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil's soul.... Never let it be said that I put ideas into your heads. What is the meaning of education, Sandy?"
Sandy correctly defines education, but then excuses herself from tea in order to go home and add "a chapter to 'The Mountain Eyrie,' the true love story of Miss Jean Brodie."

In a 1999 interview, Spark said that her prime came late: "I'm now 81 and I think the happiest years started between sixty and seventy. Apart from illness and pain with my back and a few things like that, I am much happier now. For one thing, I know how to handle life. Up till the time I was sixty I was never very capable of saying no, of really saying this is the way I do it and being absolutely firm.... Now I do."

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Winsor McCay

Today's Google Doodle, is dedicated to the 107th anniversary of Little Nemo in Slumberland.

Winsor Zenic McCay (September 26, 1869 – July 26, 1934) was an American cartoonist and animator, best known for the comic strip Little Nemo (begun 1905) and the animated cartoon Gertie the Dinosaur (1914). For legal reasons, he worked under the pen name Silas on the comic strip Dream of the Rarebit Fiend.

A prolific artist, McCay's pioneering early animated films far outshone the work of his contemporaries, and set a standard followed by Walt Disney and others in later decades.

His comic strip work has influenced generations of artists, including creators such as William Joyce, André LeBlanc, Moebius, Maurice Sendak, Chris Ware and Bill Watterson

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Oscar Wilde

October 16, 1854

Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

On this day in 1854, Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin. Though we may not have or want any conventional explanation for Oscar Wilde's personality, it seems cut from his parents' (or perhaps just his mother's) cloth. Lady Wilde was a poet who took license in many things. She was "Francesca Speranza Wilde" or just "Speranza" in letters to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the like -- "Francesca" from her given Frances, and "Speranza" (i.e. hope) from the motto on her stationery. She reduced her age by five years whenever convenient, and complied cheerily whenever Oscar reduced his. As host of a regular Saturday afternoon salon-party attended by hundreds, she dressed to be noticed -- bizarre jewelry, often a headdress although she was almost six feet tall -- and spoke to match. When asked to receive a young, "respectable" woman she replied, "You must never employ that description in this house. It is only tradespeople who are respectable. We are above respectability." When forced to relocate to London after her husband's death, she felt "the agony and loss of all that made life endurable, and my singing robes are trailed in London clay." She was, she said, related to Dante and to an eagle in previous lives.

Wilde's first extant writing is a thirteen-year-old's letter home to his mother from Portora Royal School in Enniskillen: "The flannel shirts you sent in the hamper are both Willie's, mine are one quite scarlet and the other lilac...." Later in life, in rejoinder to a comment on his name, Wilde said, "How ridiculous of you to suppose that anyone, least of all my dear mother, would christen me 'plain Oscar'.... I started as Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde. All but two of the five names have already been thrown overboard. Soon I shall discard another and be known simply as 'The Wilde' or 'The Oscar.'" At Portora, Wilde was already a dandy and a Hellenist and a target, though he did more than pose. When he won the Carpenter Prize for Greek Testament, the headmaster used all five of his names when calling him to the stage, and all the boys laughed. When he won one of three scholarships to Trinity College the following year, his name -- the reduced version -- was entered in gilt letters upon the Portora honor board, Wilde's first marquee. When he later went on to Oxford, and sat for the compulsory divinity section of his examinations, he was given a passage dealing with the Passion to translate from the Greek New Testament; he did so with ease and fluency, and the examiners told him he could stop; Wilde, so the story goes, continued to translate, saying, "Oh, do let me go on, I want to see how it ends." Years later, when star pupil had become "C.3.3" in Reading Gaol, the gold lettering was painted out at Portora, and the headmaster scraped away the "O.W." he found carved into a windowsill; years after that, Portora had Wilde's name regilded.

Richard Ellman, from whose biography most of the above is taken, wrote that, "Like his mother, Wilde undercut his grandiosities with a smile." His humiliations too. In order to avoid detectives hired by the Marquis of Queensbury, or jeering strangers, Wilde's last years in France were spent as "Sebastian Melmoth" -- the name taken from Melmoth the Wanderer, written by one of Speranza's ancestors. When money allowed, Melmoth would have a villa and valet; when it didn't, and charity arrived to pay the debts at his cheap hotel, he would buy a nickel-plated bicycle for his newest lover.

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Thomas Carlyle

October 17, 1826

Thomas Carlyle, Jane Welsh

On this day in 1826, Thomas Carlyle and Jane Welsh married. Acquaintances knew them both to be difficult personalities -- George Eliot's husband quipped that it was a marriage made in heaven, as it would make two people miserable instead of four -- but no one was prepared for the portrait of a marriage that eventually emerged. When both were dead, the Carlyles became one of the most discussed couples of literary Victorian England; as an issue in the ethics of biography writing, most recently described in Ian Hamilton's Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography, their relationship took on the status of a parable.

Jane died in 1866, when Carlyle was seventy. He was deeply grieved, and in a stock-taking mood: his major work was behind him, there would be "nothing of joyful" in his life without his "wife and helpmate," he could have no better final project than to peruse her notebooks and journals, with an eye to a memoir. And Jane was such a good writer, might not a collection of her letters be a companion tribute to his own reminiscences? He collected Jane's papers and correspondence, and discovered such horror that his life became a "pilgrimage through Hades" that went on "night after night, and month after month" for two years. Upon his wife's small mountain of complaints over his relentless demands, hypochondria and detachment -- so great she felt herself to be in a "madhouse," and on the verge of running away -- Carlyle heaped his own contrition and regret: "Shame on me!"; "Ah me! ah me! whither fled?"; "how miserable my books must have been to her"; "my little heroine"; "Oh was it not beautiful, all this I have lost forever"; "miserable egoist."

This double frankness -- her incriminations, his mea culpa, now in the form of a memoir and a set of annotated letters -- was entrusted to his literary executor and authorized biographer, James Froude. Accompanying them was a sequence of ambiguous instructions and counter-instructions concerning what could or couldn't be published. The upshot was that when Froude's 4-volume biography of Carlyle, and his 5-volumes of edited letters and reminiscences came out in the early 1880s, they raised a storm of outrage and controversy. Some of this was a personal attack on Froude for having gone too far; some of it a debate on the proper limits of biography; much of it was fueled by Carlyle's niece, who attacked Froude for being a traitor and a poor scholar, and her aunt for being full of hysterical nonsense.

Froude's plea was that he had been put in an impossible and unclear position, had agonized over it, and had finally chosen the full truth as the ultimate compliment to Carlyle. Not until after his death did his children publish what Froude had in fact held back: evidence that Carlyle was impotent, and that this was at the root of the marriage problem.

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Anton Chekhov

October 18, 1896

Anton Chekhov (1860 - 1904)

On this day in 1896 Anton Chekhov's The Seagull opened in St. Petersburg. This is the first-written of Chekhov's four masterpieces -- Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard are the others -- and though now regarded as one of the most influential plays in modern drama, its opening night was an infamous flop. During the writing, Chekhov admitted that he was "flagrantly disregarding the basic tenets of the stage," not only for having so much talk and so little action, but for having "started it forte and ended it pianissimo." During rehearsal he had implored the actors and the director to give up the usual bombastic style and give his understatements a chance: "The point is, my friends, there's no use being theatrical. None whatever. The whole thing is very simple. The characters are simple, ordinary people." Convinced of disaster, he nearly withdrew his permission for the production, and then nearly did not attend the opening himself; by Act Two he was hiding backstage from the booing and jeering; at two a.m. he was still walking the streets alone. When he finally returned home, he declared to a friend, "Not if I live to be seven hundred will I write another play."

One explanation for the hostile reception is that the premiere of The Seagull was also a benefit night for one of the cast, an actress popular for her work in comedy and the music-hall. The large contingent of her fans in attendance wanted farce rather than Chekhovian subtlety, and many had come primarily for the three-act comedy which would follow on the bill that evening. When The Seagull got its second performance several days later, it was enthusiastically received, and was soon playing throughout Russia. When the play was directed by Stanislavsky two years later at the newly founded Moscow Art Theatre, it was a huge success. A young Maxim Gorky wrote Chekhov that he had "never seen a play so wonderful and heretically brilliant as The Seagull," adding, "So you don't want to write for the theater? You must, damn it!" Today, Chekhov's seagull is not only one of the most famous of literary birds -- in a league with Coleridge's albatross and Poe's raven -- but the emblem on the main stage curtain of the MAT (since 1996, the Chekhov Moscow Art Academic Theatre).

Chekhov did not see that Moscow opening, as he was in Yalta trying to overcome his recently diagnosed tuberculosis. But he had seen some rehearsals, and at them the actress Olga Knipper, who became his wife in 1901. "Give me a wife, who, like the moon, would not appear in my sky every day," Chekhov had written his publisher A.S. Suvorin in 1895; by 1899 he was writing Olga, "Greetings last page of my life, great actress of the Russian land," and regretting what kept them apart: "the devil who implanted the bacilli in me and the love of art in you." Their correspondence is available in the 1997 collection, Dear Writer, Dear Actress, and other editions.

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John le Carré

David John Moore Cornwell (born 19 October 1931), pen name John le Carré , is a British author of espionage novels. During the 1950s and the 1960s, Cornwell worked for the British intelligence services MI5 and MI6, when he began writing novels under a pen name. His third novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963) became an international best-seller, and remains one of his best known works. Following the novel's success, he left MI6 to become a full-time author.

Le Carré has since established himself as an important writer of espionage fiction. In 1990, he received the Helmerich Award which is presented annually by the Tulsa Library Trust.In 2008, The Times ranked Le Carré 22nd on its list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".In 2011, he won the Goethe Medal, a yearly prize given by the Goethe Institute.

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Ernest Hemingway

October 21, 1940

Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald

On this day in 1940 Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls was published. It had been over a decade since A Farewell to Arms, and though there had been a handful of books since, the critics had not thought much of them. About this one, many agreed with Edmund Wilson: "Hemingway the artist is with us again; and it is like having an old friend back." Sales kept pace, with half a million copies sold in the first six months, and a record-setting film deal. There were dissenting voices, some of them raised at Hemingway's view of the Spanish Civil War, some of them at his love-making. This is the famous moment in chapter thirteen when everything goes "red, orange, gold-red" for Maria and the earth moves for Robert Jordan:
For him it was a dark passage which led to nowhere, then to nowhere, then again to nowhere, once again to nowhere, always and forever to nowhere, heavy on the elbows in the earth to nowhere, dark, never any end to nowhere, hung on all time always to unknowing nowhere, this time and again for always to nowhere, now not to be borne once again always and to nowhere, now beyond all bearing up, up, up and into nowhere, suddenly scaldingly, holdingly all nowhere gone and time absolutely still and they were both there, time having stopped and he felt the earth move out and away from under them.
As with all things Hemingway, the novel seems to lead to the life, and the mixed messages of the life seem to lead nowhere for those trying to puzzle him out. Just after the above passage, Jordan rouses himself to greet Maria with "Hello, rabbit." Just after sending off the last proofsheets for the novel from Sun Valley, he and the family went rabbit hunting, bagging some five hundred of them on one day. Hemingway said that the writing of For Whom the Bell Tolls cost him his second wife, so the family at this point included Martha Gellhorn. During courtship, Hemingway explained in detail how a person could commit suicide with a shotgun triggered by the big toe, and hinted darkly about what he would do if Martha withdrew her love. The biographers also tell us-here we reach the more-than-I-need-to-know line that is so difficult to establish with Hemingway-that in his notes to Martha she was "Mookie" while his penis was "Mr. Scrooby."

F. Scott Fitzgerald died just as For Whom the Bell Tolls was sweeping the nation -- Oct. 21 for the book publication, Nov. 21 for the third marriage, Dec. 21 for Fitzgerald's fatal heart attack. Hemingway had sent Fitzgerald a copy of his book inscribed, "To Scott with affection and esteem," and Fitzgerald's last note to Hemingway expressed thanks and envy, but there was little left of their relationship by this point. Over the previous decade Hemingway had made clear what he thought of Fitzgerald's "whining for lost youth death-dance," and Scott had reciprocated, although more gentlemanly. "I talk with the authority of failure," he wrote in his notebook, "Ernest with the authority of success. We could never sit across the table again." After Hemingway had trashed him in "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," Fitzgerald wrote Maxwell Perkins that Papa had better lay off: "Somehow I love that man, no matter what he says or does ... but he has completely lost his head and the duller he gets about it, the more he is like a punch-drunk pug fighting himself in the movies." About a year and half before Fitzgerald died, Hemingway would express regrets for playing the "tough little boy," but only to Perkins: "If you write him give him my great affection...." Whatever the private bell-tolling, Hemingway did not go to Fitzgerald's funeral, and he was soon back to the view that his friend was just "not designed to take a punch."

message 27: by Richard (new)

Richard | 34 comments Anirban wrote: "5th October, 1978

Isaac Bashevis Singer

Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904 - 1991)

On this day in 1978 Isaac Bashevis Singer was awarded the Nobel Prize. Singer emigrated to the United ..."

Anirban, this post about Singer is really nice. He's a writer whom I like a lot, because he's very versatile, writing stories set at any time from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. "Gimpel the Fool" was one of the first stories I studied in an English course in college. I wrote a little paper on it which received a good mark and praise from the professor.

message 28: by Neena (new)

Neena (I-am-addicted-to-reading) | 9758 comments Mod
Anirban wrote: "Ernest Hemingway

October 21, 1940

Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald

On this day in 1940 Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls was published. It had been over a decade sinc..."

He had this tendency to fall in 'true love' every once a while. He married four times. I guess being genius costs a person in other ways like emotionally unbalanced or so....

message 29: by Mala (last edited Nov 08, 2012 01:13AM) (new)

Mala Anirban wrote: "Ernest Hemingway

October 21, 1940

Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald

On this day in 1940 Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls was published. It had been over a decade sinc..."

You have no idea how many ppl bought this book just for this chapter ;-)
I luv this Today in Literature thread but Anirban you shd always acknowledge your source.

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Mala wrote: "Anirban wrote: "Ernest Hemingway

October 21, 1940

Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald

On this day in 1940 Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls was published. It had been ov..."

I can give a clue, like everyone else I searched Google. :)

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Sinclair Lewis

October 23, 1920

Sinclair Lewis (1885 - 1951)

On this day in 1920 Sinclair Lewis's Main Street was published. This was the first of a string of hit novels over the next decade, most of which poked and scolded at the puritan terrors of small town life -- conformity, boosterism, "a range of grotesque vulgarity," says one critic, "which but for him would have left no record." "He was one of the worst writers in modern American literature," says another, "but without his writing one cannot imagine modern American literature." Bad or not, Main Street was certainly medicine, and Lewis envisioned Middle America reading it "with the same masochistic pleasure that one has in sucking an aching tooth":
Main Street is the climax of civilization. That this Ford car might stand in front of the Bon Ton Store, Hannibal invaded Rome and Erasmus wrote in Oxford cloisters. What Ole Jenson the grocer says to Ezra Stowbody the banker is the new law for London, Prague, and the unprofitable isles of the sea; whatsoever Ezra does not know and sanction, that thing is heresy, worthless for knowing and wicked to consider....
For the trustees of Columbia University who awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the pain of such passages must have beat out the pleasure: they rejected their three-man panel's unanimous recommendation of Main Street, and gave the Pulitzer to Edith Wharton for The Age of Innocence. Lewis interpreted this rejection as his novel's vindication, a judgment not so much about, as from, Main Street: "I'm quite sure I never shall get the Pulitzer -- my books are too critical to please polite committees.... Personally, I don't give a hang."

When Lewis was given the Pulitzer for Arrowsmith several years later, he refused it. His letters indicate that his refusal was payback for "the Main Street burglary," though in public he took the high road. The Pulitzer's official mandate was to honor books which portrayed "the wholesome atmosphere of American life, and the highest standard of American manners and manhood"; such awards, said Lewis, rewarded "safe, polite, obedient, and sterile" writing, and he wanted no part of them.

Some applauded this stance as principled, and about time. Others saw it as grandstanding, although for publicity rather than revenge. One businessman from Kansas City -- the Main Street type that Lewis's books made fun of -- saw it as an opportunity for some payback of his own. When the story of his Pulitzer rejection broke on front-pages across America, Lewis was in Kansas City doing research for Elmer Gantry. On May 14th, Kansas City celebrated Straw Hat Day. After the parade, a truck delivered a giant straw hat to Lewis's hotel with a note which hoped that it would prove "an adequate roof" for the swelled head.

All this may have left Lewis joke-shy. Several years later, when a Swedish reporter telephoned to tell him that he had been given the Nobel Prize, Lewis thought it was a prank. "Oh yeah? You don't say! Listen...I can say that better than you, your Swedish accent's no good. I'll repeat it to you...'You haf de Nobel Brize....'" Lewis went on with this until the exasperated Swede passed the phone to someone else. When Lewis accepted the Nobel with enthusiasm, many wondered what had happened to his Pulitzer principles.

Lewis explained that the Nobel was international and had no strings attached; thinking of what was attached, and smelling a home-state rat, the Minneapolis Tribune explained it differently: "It is a good deal easier to reconcile one's artistic conscience to a $46,350 prize than it is to one which happens to be, under the terms of the Pulitzer award, exactly $45,350 less."

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Hans Christian Andersen

October 26, 1822

Hans Christian Andersen (1805 - 1875)

On this day in 1822, seventeen-year-old Hans Christian Andersen enrolled in school, taking his place in a second form classroom of eleven-year-olds. Andersen was born in the slums of Odense, Denmark, and his parents -- his father a cobbler, his mother a washerwoman -- were too poor and protective to provide their only child with much education. Andersen had spent some time in school, but he was odd-looking and a loner, interested mostly in reading stories and sewing clothes for the characters in his toy theater. When his father died in 1816, Andersen dropped out of school entirely with the idea of earning money or learning a trade. All efforts at these goals having ended in failure or humiliation -- a group of men at one factory where Andersen worked not only teased him about his effeminacy but pulled down his pants to check his sex -- he headed to Copenhagen. He was fourteen, penniless, semi-literate, and with no connections or plan other than turning his interest in acting and singing into some sort of stage career. Three years of hand-outs and hard knocks later found him rejected as a singer, dancer, actor and playwright, and ready to accept the help of a wealthy arts patron willing to finance his return to school. This second go was eventually a success, but Anderson's autobiographies describe five years of further torment, failure and suicidal depression, much of it caused by the alternating moods of care and contempt by his headmaster, with whom he boarded.

These teenage experiences provided the worldview presented in many of Andersen's folk tales: the lonely or misfit hero, the dream of transformation, the punishment or reward which lurked at every turn of the twisting path. And the Emperor's fear of being stripped naked in public:
"But the Emperor has nothing at all on!" said a little child. "Listen to the voice of innocence!" exclaimed his father; and what the child had said was whispered from one to another. "But he has nothing at all on!" at last cried out all the people. The Emperor was vexed, for he knew that the people were right; but he thought the procession must go on now! And the lords of the bedchamber took greater pains than ever, to appear holding up a train, although, in reality, there was no train to hold.
Andersen's diaries show that he was tormented by "nasty dreams" of his school days throughout his life -- of looming tests, mocking laughter, and headmaster Meisling, "in front of whom I stood miserable and awkward."

message 33: by Dyuti (new)

Dyuti (dyuti_c) Anirban wrote: "As the name suggest, this thread is about, posting memorable events related to Literature, that took place on this day. Its almost like opening an old case file, to remember the days gone by!!!"

Lovely thread Anirban. Love reading it!

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8th November

Bram Stoker
Abraham "Bram" Stoker (8 November 1847 – 20 April 1912) was an Irish novelist and short story writer, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula. During his lifetime, he was better known as personal assistant of actor Sir Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, which Irving owned.

The Google doodle was to day dedicated to the master storyteller

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November 15, 1762

James Boswell

On this day in 1762 James Boswell left Edinburgh for London, beginning the eight-and-a-half-month stay that would be recorded in his London Journal. When this and most of Boswell's other journals -- some 8000 pages of manuscript -- were discovered in the 1920s and 30s, they earned him a reputation as one of the great British diarists, to go with his Life of Johnson and his longstanding reputation as one of the great biographers. Read historically, the highlight of the Journal might be Boswell's first meeting with Samuel Johnson, though it was not auspicious. Having sought out Johnson in his publisher's bookshop, and knowing of his "mortal antipathy at the Scotch," Boswell tried to hide his roots. When found out, he attempted a jest: "Mr. Johnson, indeed I come from Scotland, but I cannot help it." "Sir," said Johnson gloomily, "that, I find, is what a great many of your countrymen cannot help."

Read as a twenty-one-year-old's coming-of-age story, one told with candor and conviviality, the Journal is even better. Boswell was so excited to escape Edinburgh and his father's upper class expectations that, seeing London from Highgate Hill, he "gave three huzzas" and burst into song. Here was "the noise, the crowd, the glare of shops and signs"; here "we may be in some degree whatever character we choose"; here was a first meeting with Oliver Goldsmith, here one with David Garrick. And here was the beautiful, twenty-four-year-old actress, Louisa, not one of the "free-hearted ladies" with whom he was already too well-acquainted, but one who might bring "higher felicity" to a man, with "a full indulgence of all the delicate feelings and pleasures both of body and mind, while at the same time in this enchanting union he exults with a consciousness that he is a superior person." And six weeks later, here is how this early chapter in Bright (Candle) Lights, Big City ends:
BOSWELL. Do you know that I have been very unhappy since I saw you?
LOUISA. How so, Sir?
BOSWELL. Why, I am afraid that you don't love me so well, nor have not such a regard for me, as I thought you had.
LOUISA. Nay, dear Sir! (Seeming unconcerned.)
BOSWELL. Pray, Madam, have I no reason?
LOUISA. No, indeed, Sir, you have not.
BOSWELL. Have I no reason, Madam? Pray think.
BOSWELL. Pray, Madam, in what state of health have you been in for some time?
LOUISA. Sir, you amaze me....
This was Boswell's third encounter with "Signor Gonorrhoea," and though Johnson would advise him to give up this "concubinage," the journals document fifteen more.

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16th November


Pizarro traps Incan emperor Atahualpa

On November 16, 1532, Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish explorer and conquistador, springs a trap on the Incan emperor, Atahualpa. With fewer than 200 men against several thousand, Pizarro lures Atahualpa to a feast in the emperor's honor and then opens fire on the unarmed Incans. Pizarro's men massacre the Incans and capture Atahualpa, forcing him to convert to Christianity before eventually killing him.

Pizarro's timing for conquest was perfect. By 1532, the Inca Empire was embroiled in a civil war that had decimated the population and divided the people's loyalties. Atahualpa, the younger son of former Incan ruler Huayna Capac, had just deposed his half-brother Huascar and was in the midst of reuniting his kingdom when Pizarro arrived in 1531, with the endorsement of Spain's King Charles V. On his way to the Incan capital, Pizarro learned of the war and began recruiting soldiers still loyal to Huascar.

Pizarro met Atahualpa just outside Cajamarca, a small Incan town tucked into a valley of the Andes. Sending his brother Hernan as an envoy, Pizarro invited Atahualpa back to Cajamarca for a feast in honor of Atahualpa's ascendance to the throne. Though he had nearly 80,000 soldiers with him in the mountains, Atahualpa consented to attend the feast with only 5,000 unarmed men. He was met by Vicente de Valverde, a friar traveling with Pizarro. While Pizarro's men lay in wait, Valverde urged Atahualpa to convert and accept Charles V as sovereign. Atahualpa angrily refused, prompting Valverde to give the signal for Pizarro to open fire. Trapped in tight quarters, the panicking Incan soldiers made easy prey for the Spanish. Pizarro's men slaughtered the 5,000 Incans in just an hour. Pizarro himself suffered the only Spanish injury: a cut on his hand sustained as he saved Atahualpa from death.

Realizing Atahualpa was initially more valuable alive than dead, Pizarro kept the emperor in captivity while he made plans to take over his empire. In response, Atahualpa appealed to his captors' greed, offering them a room full of gold and silver in exchange for his liberation. Pizarro consented, but after receiving the ransom, Pizarro brought Atahualpa up on charges of stirring up rebellion. By that time, Atahualpa had played his part in pacifying the Incans while Pizarro secured his power, and Pizarro considered him disposable. Atahualpa was to be burned at the stake—the Spanish believed this to be a fitting death for a heathen—but at the last moment, Valverde offered the emperor clemency if he would convert. Atahualpa submitted, only to be executed by strangulation. The day was August 29, 1533.

Fighting between the Spanish and the Incas would continue well after Atahualpa's death as Spain consolidated its conquests. Pizarro's bold victory at Cajamarca, however, effectively marked the end of the Inca Empire and the beginning of the European colonization of South America.

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17Th November

Nov 17, 1558:
Elizabethan Age begins

Queen Mary I, the monarch of England and Ireland since 1553, dies and is succeeded by her 25-year-old half-sister, Elizabeth.

The two half-sisters, both daughters of King Henry VIII, had a stormy relationship during Mary's five-year reign. Mary, who was brought up as a Catholic, enacted pro-Catholic legislation and made efforts to restore the pope to supremacy in England. A Protestant rebellion ensued, and Queen Mary imprisoned Elizabeth, a Protestant, in the Tower of London on suspicion of complicity. After Mary's death, Elizabeth survived several Catholic plots against her; though her ascension was greeted with approval by most of England's lords, who were largely Protestant and hoped for greater religious tolerance under a Protestant queen. Under the early guidance of Secretary of State Sir William Cecil, Elizabeth repealed Mary's pro-Catholic legislation, established a permanent Protestant Church of England, and encouraged the Calvinist reformers in Scotland.

In foreign affairs, Elizabeth practiced a policy of strengthening England's Protestant allies and dividing her foes. Elizabeth was opposed by the pope, who refused to recognize her legitimacy, and by Spain, a Catholic nation that was at the height of its power. In 1588, English-Spanish rivalry led to an abortive Spanish invasion of England in which the Spanish Armada, the greatest naval force in the world at the time, was destroyed by storms and a determined English navy.

With increasing English domination at sea, Elizabeth encouraged voyages of discovery, such as Sir Francis Drake's circumnavigation of the world and Sir Walter Raleigh's expeditions to the North American coast.

The long reign of Elizabeth, who became known as the "Virgin Queen" for her reluctance to endanger her authority through marriage, coincided with the flowering of the English Renaissance, associated with such renowned authors as William Shakespeare. By her death in 1603, England had become a major world power in every respect, and Queen Elizabeth I passed into history as one of England's greatest monarchs.

message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

Nov 18, 1991:
Terry Waite released

Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon free Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite after more than four years of captivity. Waite, looking thinner and his hair grayer, was freed along with American educator Thomas M. Sutherland after intense negotiations by the United Nations.

Waite, special envoy of the archbishop of Canterbury, had secured the release of missionaries detained in Iran after the Islamic revolution. He also extracted British hostages from Libya and even succeeded in releasing American hostages from Lebanon in 1986.

A total of 10 captives were released through Waite's efforts before Shiite Muslims seized him during a return mission to Beirut on January 20, 1987. He was held captive for more than four years before he was finally released.

During captivity, Waite said he was frequently blindfolded, beaten and subjected to mock executions. He spent much of the time chained to a radiator, suffered from asthma and was transported in a giant refrigerator as his captors moved him about.

Waite, 52, made an impromptu, chaotic appearance before reporters in Damascus after his release to Syrian officials. He said one of his captors expressed regret as he informed Waite he was about to be released.

"He also said to me: 'We apologize for having captured you. We recognize that now this was a wrong thing to do, that holding hostages achieves no useful, constructive purpose,'" Waite said.

The release of Waite and Sutherland left five Western hostages left in Beirut—three Americans, including Terry Anderson, and two Germans. The Americans would be released by December 1991, the Germans in June 1992.

Some 96 foreign hostages were taken and held during the Lebanon hostage crisis between 1982 and 1992. The victims were mostly from Western countries, and mostly journalists, diplomats or teachers. Twenty-five of them were Americans. At least 10 hostages died in captivity. Some were murdered and others died from lack of adequate medical attention to illnesses.

The hostages were originally taken to serve as insurance against retaliation against Hezbollah, which was thought to be responsible for the killing of over 300 Americans in the Marine barracks and embassy bombings in Beirut. It was widely believed that Iran and Syria also played a role in the kidnappings.

message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

November 19


On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivers one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In just 272 words, Lincoln brilliantly and movingly reminded a war-weary public why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War.

The Battle of Gettysburg, fought some four months earlier, was the single bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Over the course of three days, more than 45,000 men were killed, injured, captured or went missing. The battle also proved to be the turning point of the war: General Robert E. Lee's defeat and retreat from Gettysburg marked the last Confederate invasion of Northern territory and the beginning of the Southern army's ultimate decline.

Charged by Pennsylvania's governor, Andrew Curtin, to care for the Gettysburg dead, an attorney named David Wills bought 17 acres of pasture to turn into a cemetery for the more than 7,500 who fell in battle. Wills invited Edward Everett, one of the most famous orators of the day, to deliver a speech at the cemetery's dedication. Almost as an afterthought, Wills also sent a letter to Lincoln—just two weeks before the ceremony—requesting "a few appropriate remarks" to consecrate the grounds.

At the dedication, the crowd listened for two hours to Everett before Lincoln spoke. Lincoln's address lasted just two or three minutes. The speech reflected his redefined belief that the Civil War was not just a fight to save the Union, but a struggle for freedom and equality for all, an idea Lincoln had not championed in the years leading up to the war. This was his stirring conclusion: "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Reception of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was initially mixed, divided strictly along partisan lines. Nevertheless, the "little speech," as he later called it, is thought by many today to be the most eloquent articulation of the democratic vision ever written.

Nov 19, 1969:
Pele scores 1,000th goal

Brazilian soccer great Pele scores his 1,000th professional goal in a game, against Vasco da Gama in Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium. It was a major milestone in an illustrious career that included three World Cup championships.

Pele, considered one of the greatest soccer players ever to take the field, was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Tres Coracos, Brazil, in 1940. He acquired the nickname Pele during his childhood though the name has no meaning in his native Portuguese. When he was a teenager, he played for a minor league soccer club in Bauru in Sao Paulo state and in 1956 joined the major league Santos Football Club in the city of Sao Paulo, playing inside left forward. Two years later, he led the Brazilian national team to victory in the World Cup. Pele, who was only 17 years old, scored two goals to defeat Sweden in the final.

Pele was blessed with speed, balance, control, power, and an uncanny ability to anticipate the movements of his opponents and teammates. Although just five feet eight inches tall, he was a giant on the field, leading Santos to three national club championships, two South American championships, and the world club title in 1963. Under Pele's leadership, Brazil won the World Cup in 1958, 1962, and 1970. In 1970, Brazil was granted permanent possession of the World Cup's Jules Rimet Trophy as a tribute to its dominance. On November 19, 1969, Pele scored his 1,000th goal on a penalty kick against Vasco da Gama. Eighty thousand adoring fans in Maracana stadium cheered him wildly, even though Santos was the opposing team.

Pele announced his retirement in 1974 but in 1975 accepted a $7 million contract to play with the New York Cosmos. He led the Cosmos to a league championship in 1977 and did much to promote soccer in the United States. On October 1, 1977, in Giants Stadium, he played his last professional game in a Cosmos match against his old team Santos.

During his long career, Pele scored 1,282 goals in 1,363 games. In 1978, Pele was given the International Peace Award and in 1993 he was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Since retiring, he has acted as an international ambassador for his sport and has worked with the United Nations and UNICEF to promote peace and international reconciliation through friendly athletic competition.

Nov 19, 1899:
Poet and critic Allen Tate is born

On this day in 1899, poet and critic Allen Tate is born in Winchester, Kentucky.

Tate attended Vanderbilt University, where he helped found a well-regarded poetry magazine called The Fugitive, along with poet John Crowe Ransom. The Fugitives, as the poets called themselves, advocated Southern regionalism and a return to agrarian values in their writing.

After 1934, Tate taught at Princeton University, University of Minnesota, and other schools while writing his own poetry. In the mid-1940s, he edited a literary journal called The Sewanee Review. Tate converted to Catholicism in 1950, and several of his best-known poems, including The Buried Lake (1953), are devotional poems.

Tate was an influential proponent of the New Criticism, as set forth by Ransom in his 1941 book of that title. Previously, literary criticism had tended to focus on the writer's biography and life; New Critics treated a poem or book as complete in itself, to be analyzed objectively, through close reading, without reference to the author's background. New Criticism's emphasis on close reading underlies the way literature is taught in most high schools and colleges today. Tate died in Nashville in 1979.

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20th November

Nov 20, 1945:
Nuremberg trials begin

Twenty-four high-ranking Nazis go on trial in Nuremberg, Germany, for atrocities committed during World War II.

The Nuremberg Trials were conducted by an international tribunal made up of representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and Great Britain. It was the first trial of its kind in history, and the defendants faced charges ranging from crimes against peace, to crimes of war, to crimes against humanity. Lord Justice Geoffrey Lawrence, the British member, presided over the proceedings, which lasted 10 months and consisted of 216 court sessions.

On October 1, 1946, 12 architects of Nazi policy were sentenced to death. Seven others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 years to life, and three were acquitted. Of the original 24 defendants, one, Robert Ley, committed suicide while in prison, and another, Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, was deemed mentally and physically incompetent to stand trial. Among those condemned to death by hanging were Joachim von Ribbentrop, Nazi minister of foreign affairs; Hermann Goering, leader of the Gestapo and the Luftwaffe; Alfred Jodl, head of the German armed forces staff; and Wilhelm Frick, minister of the interior.

On October 16, 10 of the architects of Nazi policy were hanged. Goering, who at sentencing was called the "leading war aggressor and creator of the oppressive program against the Jews," committed suicide by poison on the eve of his scheduled execution. Nazi Party leader Martin Bormann was condemned to death in absentia (but is now believed to have died in May 1945). Trials of lesser German and Axis war criminals continued in Germany into the 1950s and resulted in the conviction of 5,025 other defendants and the execution of 806.

message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

21st November

Nov 21, 1980:
Millions tune in to find out who shot J.R.

n this day in 1980, 350 million people around the world tune in to television's popular primetime drama "Dallas" to find out who shot J.R. Ewing, the character fans loved to hate. J.R. had been shot on the season-ending episode the previous March 21, which now stands as one of television's most famous cliffhangers. The plot twist inspired widespread media coverage and left America wondering "Who shot J.R.?" for the next eight months. The November 21 episode solved the mystery, identifying Kristin Shepard, J.R.'s wife's sister and his former mistress, as the culprit.

The CBS television network debuted the first five-episode pilot season of "Dallas" in 1978; it went on to run for another 12 full-length seasons. The first show of its kind, "Dallas" was dubbed a "primetime soap opera" for its serial plots and dramatic tales of moral excess. The show revolved around the relations of two Texas oil families: the wealthy, successful Ewing family and the perpetually down-on-their-luck Barnes family. The families' patriarchs, Jock Ewing and Digger Barnes, were former partners locked in a years-long feud over oil fields Barnes claimed had been stolen by Ewing. Ewing's youngest son Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and Barnes' daughter Pam (Victoria Principal) had married, linking the battling clans even more closely. The character of J.R. Ewing, Bobby's oldest brother and a greedy, conniving, womanizing scoundrel, was played by Larry Hagman.

As J.R. had many enemies, audiences were hard-pressed to guess who was responsible for his attempted murder. That summer, the question "Who Shot J.R.?" entered the national lexicon, becoming a popular t-shirt slogan, and heightening anticipation of the soap's third season, which was to air in the fall. After a much-talked-about contract dispute with Hagman was finally settled, the season was delayed because of a Screen Actors Guild strike, much to the dismay of "Dallas" fans. When it finally aired, the episode revealing J.R.'s shooter became one of television's most watched shows, with an audience of 83 million people in the U.S. alone—a full 76 percent of all U.S. televisions on that night were tuned in—and helped put "Dallas" into greater worldwide circulation. It also popularized the use of the cliffhanger by television writers.

The shooting of J.R. wasn't "Dallas'" only notorious plot twist. In September 1986, fans learned that the entire previous season, in which main character Bobby Ewing had died, was merely a dream of Pam's. The show's writers had killed the Bobby character off because Duffy had decided to leave the show. When he agreed to return, they featured him stepping out of the shower on the season-ending cliffhanger, and then were forced the next season to explain his sudden reappearance.

The last premiere episode of "Dallas" aired on May 3, 1991. A spin-off, "Knots Landing," aired from December 27, 1979 until May 13, 1993. "Dallas" remains in syndication around the world.

Nov 21, 1877:
Edison's first great invention

The American inventor announces his invention of the phonograph, a way to record and play back sound.

Edison stumbled on one of his great inventions--the phonograph--while working on a way to record telephone communication at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. His work led him to experiment with a stylus on a tinfoil cylinder, which, to his surprise, played back the short song he had recorded, "MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB". Public demonstrations of the phonograph made the Yankee inventor world famous, and he was dubbed the "Wizard of Menlo Park."

Edison set aside this invention in 1878 to work on the incandescent light bulb, and other inventors moved forward to improve on the phonograph. In 1887, Edison resumed work on the device, using the wax-cylinder technique developed by Charles Tainter. Although initially used as a dictating machine, the phonograph proved to be a popular tool for entertainment, and in 1906 Edison unveiled a series of musical and theatrical selections to the public through his National Phonograph Company. Continuing to improve on models and cylinders over the years, the Edison Disc Phonograph debuted in 1912 with the aim of competing in the popular record market. Edison's discs offered superior sound quality but were not compatible with other popular disc players.

During the 1920s, the early record business suffered with the growth of radio, and in 1929 recording production at Edison ceased forever. Edison, who acquired an astounding 1,093 patents in his 84 years, died in 1931.

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November 22nd

Nov 22, 1963:
John F. Kennedy assassinated

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible.

First lady Jacqueline Kennedy rarely accompanied her husband on political outings, but she was beside him, along with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, for a 10-mile motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas on November 22. Sitting in a Lincoln convertible, the Kennedys and Connallys waved at the large and enthusiastic crowds gathered along the parade route. As their vehicle passed the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 p.m., Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired three shots from the sixth floor, fatally wounding President Kennedy and seriously injuring Governor Connally. Kennedy was pronounced dead 30 minutes later at Dallas' Parkland Hospital. He was 46.

Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who was three cars behind President Kennedy in the motorcade, was sworn in as the 36th president of the United States at 2:39 p.m. He took the presidential oath of office aboard Air Force One as it sat on the runway at Dallas Love Field airport. The swearing in was witnessed by some 30 people, including Jacqueline Kennedy, who was still wearing clothes stained with her husband's blood. Seven minutes later, the presidential jet took off for Washington.

The next day, November 23, President Johnson issued his first proclamation, declaring November 25 to be a day of national mourning for the slain president. On that Monday, hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Washington to watch a horse-drawn caisson bear Kennedy's body from the Capitol Rotunda to St. Matthew's Catholic Cathedral for a requiem Mass. The solemn procession then continued on to Arlington National Cemetery, where leaders of 99 nations gathered for the state funeral. Kennedy was buried with full military honors on a slope below Arlington House, where an eternal flame was lit by his widow to forever mark the grave.

Lee Harvey Oswald, born in New Orleans in 1939, joined the U.S. Marines in 1956. He was discharged in 1959 and nine days later left for the Soviet Union, where he tried unsuccessfully to become a citizen. He worked in Minsk and married a Soviet woman and in 1962 was allowed to return to the United States with his wife and infant daughter. In early 1963, he bought a .38 revolver and rifle with a telescopic sight by mail order, and on April 10 in Dallas he allegedly shot at and missed former U.S. Army general Edwin Walker, a figure known for his extreme right-wing views. Later that month, Oswald went to New Orleans and founded a branch of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a pro-Castro organization. In September 1963, he went to Mexico City, where investigators allege that he attempted to secure a visa to travel to Cuba or return to the USSR. In October, he returned to Dallas and took a job at the Texas School Book Depository Building.

Less than an hour after Kennedy was shot, Oswald killed a policeman who questioned him on the street near his rooming house in Dallas. Thirty minutes later, Oswald was arrested in a movie theater by police responding to reports of a suspect. He was formally arraigned on November 23 for the murders of President Kennedy and Officer J.D. Tippit.

On November 24, Oswald was brought to the basement of the Dallas police headquarters on his way to a more secure county jail. A crowd of police and press with live television cameras rolling gathered to witness his departure. As Oswald came into the room, Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and fatally wounded him with a single shot from a concealed .38 revolver. Ruby, who was immediately detained, claimed that rage at Kennedy's murder was the motive for his action. Some called him a hero, but he was nonetheless charged with first-degree murder.

Jack Ruby, originally known as Jacob Rubenstein, operated strip joints and dance halls in Dallas and had minor connections to organized crime. He features prominently in Kennedy-assassination theories, and many believe he killed Oswald to keep him from revealing a larger conspiracy. In his trial, Ruby denied the allegation and pleaded innocent on the grounds that his great grief over Kennedy's murder had caused him to suffer "psychomotor epilepsy" and shoot Oswald unconsciously. The jury found Ruby guilty of "murder with malice" and sentenced him to die.

In October 1966, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed the decision on the grounds of improper admission of testimony and the fact that Ruby could not have received a fair trial in Dallas at the time. In January 1967, while awaiting a new trial, to be held in Wichita Falls, Ruby died of lung cancer in a Dallas hospital.

The official Warren Commission report of 1964 concluded that neither Oswald nor Ruby were part of a larger conspiracy, either domestic or international, to assassinate President Kennedy. Despite its seemingly firm conclusions, the report failed to silence conspiracy theories surrounding the event, and in 1978 the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in a preliminary report that Kennedy was "probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy" that may have involved multiple shooters and organized crime. The committee's findings, as with those of the Warren Commission, continue to be widely disputed.

Nov 22, 1990:
Margaret Thatcher resigns

Margaret Thatcher, the first woman prime minister in British history, announces her resignation after 11 years in Britain's top office.

Margaret Hilda Roberts was born in Grantham, England, in 1925. In 1959, after marrying businessman Denis Thatcher and giving birth to twins, she was elected to Parliament as a Conservative for Finchley, a north London district. During the 1960s, she rose rapidly in the ranks of the Conservative Party and in 1967 joined the shadow cabinet sitting in opposition to Harold Wilson's ruling Labour cabinet. With the victory of the Conservative Party under Edward Health in 1970, Thatcher became secretary of state for education and science.

In 1974, the Labour Party returned to power, and Thatcher served as joint shadow chancellor before replacing Edward Health as the leader of the Conservative Party in February 1975. She was the first woman to head the Conservatives. Under her leadership, the Conservative Party shifted further right in its politics, calling for privatization of national industries and utilities and promising a resolute defense of Britain's interests abroad. She also sharply criticized Prime Minister James Callaghan's ineffectual handling of the chaotic labor strikes of 1978 and 1979.

In March 1979, Callaghan was defeated by a vote of no confidence, and on May 3 a general election gave Thatcher's Conservatives a 44-seat majority in Parliament. Sworn in the next day, Prime Minister Thatcher immediately set about dismantling socialism in Britain. She privatized numerous industries, cut back government expenditures, and gradually reduced the rights of trade unions. In 1983, despite the worst unemployment figures for half a decade, Thatcher was reelected to a second term, thanks largely to the decisive British victory in the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina.

In other foreign affairs, the "Iron Lady" presided over the orderly establishment of an independent Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) in 1980 and took a hard stance against Irish separatists in Northern Ireland. In October 1984, an Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb exploded at the Conservative Party conference in Brighton. The prime minister narrowly escaped harm.

In 1987, an upswing in the economy led to her election to a third term, but Thatcher soon alienated some members of her own party because of her poll-tax policies and opposition to further British integration into the European Community. In November 1990, she failed to receive a majority in the Conservative Party's annual vote for selection of a leader. She withdrew her nomination, and John Major, the chancellor of the Exchequer since 1989, was chosen as Conservative leader. On November 22, she announced her resignation and six days later was succeeded by Major. Thatcher's three consecutive terms in office marked the longest continuous tenure of a British prime minister since 1827. In 1992, she was made a baroness and took a seat in the House of Lords.

message 43: by Anirudh (last edited Nov 21, 2012 09:51PM) (new)

Anirudh (tewathia) | 207 comments Anirban wrote: "November 22nd

Nov 22, 1963:
John F. Kennedy assassinated

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top c..."

Because of the huge piece of news that was the JFK assassination, no one seems to know(or care) that C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley died on the same day.

message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Anirudh wrote: "Anirban wrote: "November 22nd

Nov 22, 1963:
John F. Kennedy assassinated

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, ..."

No Anirudh, its not that I DONT CARE. Its just that I didnt knew!! Or rather the page I was consulting didn't list the events you mentioned.

But, surely you can post the two incidents in this thread. We would really appreciate that.

message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Nov 27, 1095:
Pope Urban II orders first Crusade

On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II makes perhaps the most influential speech of the Middle Ages, giving rise to the Crusades by calling all Christians in Europe to war against Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land, with a cry of "Deus vult!" or "God wills it!"

Born Odo of Lagery in 1042, Urban was a protege of the great reformer Pope Gregory VII. Like Gregory, he made internal reform his main focus, railing against simony (the selling of church offices) and other clerical abuses prevalent during the Middle Ages. Urban showed himself to be an adept and powerful cleric, and when he was elected pope in 1088, he applied his statecraft to weakening support for his rivals, notably Clement III.

By the end of the 11th century, the Holy Land—the area now commonly referred to as the Middle East—had become a point of conflict for European Christians. Since the 6th century, Christians frequently made pilgrimages to the birthplace of their religion, but when the Seljuk Turks took control of Jerusalem, Christians were barred from the Holy City. When the Turks then threatened to invade the Byzantine Empire and take Constantinople, Byzantine Emperor Alexius I made a special appeal to Urban for help. This was not the first appeal of its kind, but it came at an important time for Urban. Wanting to reinforce the power of the papacy, Urban seized the opportunity to unite Christian Europe under him as he fought to take back the Holy Land from the Turks.

At the Council of Clermont, in France, at which several hundred clerics and noblemen gathered, Urban delivered a rousing speech summoning rich and poor alike to stop their in-fighting and embark on a righteous war to help their fellow Christians in the East and take back Jerusalem. Urban denigrated the Muslims, exaggerating stories of their anti-Christian acts, and promised absolution and remission of sins for all who died in the service of Christ.

Urban's war cry caught fire, mobilizing clerics to drum up support throughout Europe for the crusade against the Muslims. All told, between 60,000 and 100,000 people responded to Urban's call to march on Jerusalem. Not all who responded did so out of piety: European nobles were tempted by the prospect of increased land holdings and riches to be gained from the conquest. These nobles were responsible for the death of a great many innocents both on the way to and in the Holy Land, absorbing the riches and estates of those they conveniently deemed opponents to their cause. Adding to the death toll was the inexperience and lack of discipline of the Christian peasants against the trained, professional armies of the Muslims. As a result, the Christians were initially beaten back, and only through sheer force of numbers were they eventually able to triumph.

Urban died in 1099, two weeks after the fall of Jerusalem but before news of the Christian victory made it back to Europe. His was the first of seven major military campaigns fought over the next two centuries known as the Crusades, the bloody repercussions of which are still felt today. Urban was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 1881.

message 46: by Neena (new)

Neena (I-am-addicted-to-reading) | 9758 comments Mod
Richard Wright as Sledgehammer

On this day in 1960 the expatriate American writer Richard Wright died in Paris at the age of fifty-two. Wright's last fifteen years in France were a final stop in a life of migrations. As the son of an illiterate Mississippi sharecropper his early years were spent in poverty on the farm and then moving city to city in the South. He lived with both parents, then only his mother; with one uncle and then another and then a grandmother. He moved to Chicago, expecting the North would be better; he moved to New York to edit the Daily Worker, thinking the Communist Party was the answer. He rejected Communism, and then America; when he left for Europe he continued to travel throughout northern Africa and Asia, now taking the international reputation earned from his political writing and his two best-sellers -- the novel Native Son (1940), the autobiography Black Boy (1945) -- with him: "He came like a sledgehammer," wrote historian John Henrik Clarke, "like a giant out of the mountain with a sledgehammer, writing with a sledgehammer...." Of all the things Wright wanted to smash in racist America, the last may have been the Hollywood producer who wondered if he could make a film of Native Son with a white hero. This was in 1947; it was later that year, feeling that maybe white America was just not ever going to get it, that Wright left for Europe.

He would never return, though he would say that, looking back, "Anger turned into a sort of amazed pity, for I felt that America's barbaric treatment of the Negro was not one-half so bad as the destructive war which she waged, in striking at the Negro, against the Rights of Man, and against herself." While his final perspective on America and racism could hardly be described as detached, Wright began to study and compose haiku in his last months. Biographer Hazel Rowley says that these "gave Wright a modicum of inner peace in the worst period of despair and self-doubt he had ever known." While continuing with the other, sledgehammer writing (and constantly worrying that either his amoebic dysentery or some CIA/FBI plot was killing him), he wrote some 4000 of these "spider webs." If Wright's wife had chosen to tuck one into his coffin, rather than the copy of Black Boy which she did include, it might have been this:

Keep straight down this block,
then turn right where you will find
a peach tree blooming
Or perhaps this one by the Japanese haiku master, Basho, who also died on this day, in 1694. This is his last-written poem:

Stricken while journeying
my dreams still wander about
but on withered fields.

message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

Nov 29, 1947:
U.N. votes for partition of Palestine

Despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations votes for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.

The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to the 1910s, when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled territory. The Jews were Zionists, recent emigrants from Europe and Russia who came to the ancient homeland of the Jews to establish a Jewish national state. The native Palestinian Arabs sought to stem Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state.

Beginning in 1929, Arabs and Jews openly fought in Palestine, and Britain attempted to limit Jewish immigration as a means of appeasing the Arabs. As a result of the Holocaust in Europe, many Jews illegally entered Palestine during World War II. Radical Jewish groups employed terrorism against British forces in Palestine, which they thought had betrayed the Zionist cause. At the end of World War II, in 1945, the United States took up the Zionist cause. Britain, unable to find a practical solution, referred the problem to the United Nations, which on November 29, 1947, voted to partition Palestine.

The Jews were to possess more than half of Palestine, though they made up less than half of Palestine's population. The Palestinian Arabs, aided by volunteers from other countries, fought the Zionist forces, but the Jews secured full control of their U.N.-allocated share of Palestine and also some Arab territory. On May 14, 1948, Britain withdrew with the expiration of its mandate, and the State of Israel was proclaimed by Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion. The next day, forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded.

The Israelis, though less well equipped, managed to fight off the Arabs and then seize key territories, such as Galilee, the Palestinian coast, and a strip of territory connecting the coastal region to the western section of Jerusalem. In 1949, U.N.-brokered cease-fires left the State of Israel in permanent control of those conquered areas. The departure of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs from Israel during the war left the country with a substantial Jewish majority.

Nov 29, 1943:
Sue Miller is born

Sue Miller

Contemporary novelist Sue Miller is born this day in Boston.

Miller graduated from Radcliffe College in 1964 and briefly worked as a high school teacher. She later worked as a model, a cocktail waitress, and administered psychological tests to rats in a university lab. She took three different masters' degrees, in creative writing, teaching English, and early-childhood education. She taught preschool for eight years and married.

When she was 35, she took a creative writing workshop and almost immediately published several short stories. In 1986, she published her first novel, The Good Mother, about a single mother whose ex-husband sues for custody of their child because she's involved with another man. Critics praised the book's maturity, grace, and subtlety, and expressed surprise at finding these qualities in a first novel.

Miller has continued to write accomplished novels portraying the modern family, including Family Pictures (1990), about rearing an autistic child; For Love (1993), about a woman who returns to her childhood home after her mother's death; and While I Was Gone (1999), about a happily married veterinarian who flirts with the idea of an affair when an old lover moves to town. In 2001, she published The World Below and in 2005, Lost in the Forest.

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Nov 30, 1874:
Winston Churchill born

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, is born at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England.

Churchill came from a prestigious family with a long history of military service and joined the British Fourth Hussars upon his father's death in 1895. During the next five years, he enjoyed an illustrious military career, serving in India, the Sudan, and South Africa, and distinguishing himself several times in battle. In 1899, he resigned his commission to concentrate on his literary and political career and in 1900 was elected to Parliament as a Conservative MP from Oldham. In 1904, he joined the Liberals, serving in a number of important posts before being appointed Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, where he worked to bring the British navy to a readiness for the war he foresaw.

In 1915, in the second year of World War I, Churchill was held responsible for the disastrous Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns, and he was excluded from the war coalition government. He resigned and volunteered to command an infantry battalion in France. However, in 1917, he returned to politics as a cabinet member in the Liberal government of Lloyd George. From 1919 to 1921, he was secretary of state for war and in 1924 returned to the Conservative Party, where two years later he played a leading role in the defeat of the General Strike of 1926. Out of office from 1929 to 1939, Churchill issued unheeded warnings of the threat of German and Japanese aggression.

After the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Churchill was called back to his post as First Lord of the Admiralty and eight months later replaced the ineffectual Neville Chamberlain as prime minister of a new coalition government. In the first year of his administration, Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany, but Churchill promised his country and the world that the British people would "never surrender." He rallied the British people to a resolute resistance and expertly orchestrated Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin into an alliance that eventually crushed the Axis.

In July 1945, 10 weeks after Germany's defeat, his Conservative government suffered an electoral loss against Clement Attlee's Labour Party, and Churchill resigned as prime minister. He became leader of the opposition and in 1951 was again elected prime minister. Two years later, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his six-volume historical study of World War II and for his political speeches. In 1955, he retired as prime minister but remained in Parliament until 1964, the year before his death.

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Dec 1, 1990:
Chunnel makes breakthrough

Shortly after 11 a.m. on December 1, 1990, 132 feet below the English Channel, workers drill an opening the size of a car through a wall of rock. This was no ordinary hole--it connected the two ends of an underwater tunnel linking Great Britain with the European mainland for the first time in more than 8,000 years.

The Channel Tunnel, or "Chunnel," was not a new idea. It had been suggested to Napoleon Bonaparte, in fact, as early as 1802. It wasn't until the late 20th century, though, that the necessary technology was developed. In 1986, Britain and France signed a treaty authorizing the construction of a tunnel running between Folkestone, England, and Calais, France.

Over the next four years, nearly 13,000 workers dug 95 miles of tunnels at an average depth of 150 feet (45 meters) below sea level. Eight million cubic meters of soil were removed, at a rate of some 2,400 tons per hour. The completed Chunnel would have three interconnected tubes, including one rail track in each direction and one service tunnel. The price? A whopping $15 billion.

After workers drilled that final hole on December 1, 1990, they exchanged French and British flags and toasted each other with champagne. Final construction took four more years, and the Channel Tunnel finally opened for passenger service on May 6, 1994, with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and France's President Francois Mitterrand on hand in Calais for the inaugural run. A company called Eurotunnel won the 55-year concession to operate the Chunnel, which is the crucial stretch of the Eurostar high-speed rail link between London and Paris. The regular shuttle train through the tunnel runs 31 miles in total--23 of those underwater--and takes 20 minutes, with an additional 15-minute loop to turn the train around. The Chunnel is the second-longest rail tunnel in the world, after the Seikan Tunnel in Japan.

Dec 1, 1955:
Rosa Parks ignites bus boycot

In Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks is jailed for refusing to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man, a violation of the city's racial segregation laws. The successful Montgomery Bus Boycott, organized by a young Baptist minister named Martin Luther King, Jr., followed Park's historic act of civil disobedience.

"The mother of the civil rights movement," as Rosa Parks is known, was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1913. She worked as a seamstress and in 1943 joined the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

According to a Montgomery city ordinance in 1955, African Americans were required to sit at the back of public buses and were also obligated to give up those seats to white riders if the front of the bus filled up. Parks was in the first row of the black section when the white driver demanded that she give up her seat to a white man. Parks' refusal was spontaneous but was not merely brought on by her tired feet, as is the popular legend. In fact, local civil rights leaders had been planning a challenge to Montgomery's racist bus laws for several months, and Parks had been privy to this discussion.

Learning of Parks' arrest, the NAACP and other African American activists immediately called for a bus boycott to be held by black citizens on Monday, December 5. Word was spread by fliers, and activists formed the Montgomery Improvement Association to organize the protest. The first day of the bus boycott was a great success, and that night the 26-year-old Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., told a large crowd gathered at a church, "The great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right." King emerged as the leader of the bus boycott and received numerous death threats from opponents of integration. At one point, his home was bombed, but he and his family escaped bodily harm.

The boycott stretched on for more than a year, and participants carpooled or walked miles to work and school when no other means were possible. As African Americans previously constituted 70 percent of the Montgomery bus ridership, the municipal transit system suffered gravely during the boycott. On November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Alabama state and Montgomery city bus segregation laws as being in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On December 20, King issued the following statement: "The year old protest against city buses is officially called off, and the Negro citizens of Montgomery are urged to return to the buses tomorrow morning on a non-segregated basis." The boycott ended the next day. Rosa Parks was among the first to ride the newly desegregated buses.

Martin Luther King, Jr., and his nonviolent civil rights movement had won its first great victory. There would be many more to come.

Rosa Parks died on October 24, 2005. Three days later the U.S. Senate passed a resolution to honor Parks by allowing her body to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

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Dec 2, 2001:
Enron files for bankruptcy

On this day in 2001, the Enron Corporation files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court, sparking one of the largest corporate scandals in U.S. history.

An energy-trading company based in Houston, Texas, Enron was formed in 1985 as the merger of two gas companies, Houston Natural Gas and Internorth. Under chairman and CEO Kenneth Lay, Enron rose as high as number seven on Fortune magazine's list of the top 500 U.S. companies. In 2000, the company employed 21,000 people and posted revenue of $111 billion. Over the next year, however, Enron's stock price began a dramatic slide, dropping from $90.75 in August 2000 to $0.26 by closing on November 30, 2001.

As prices fell, Lay sold large amounts of his Enron stock, while simultaneously encouraging Enron employees to buy more shares and assuring them that the company was on the rebound. Employees saw their retirement savings accounts wiped out as Enron's stock price continued to plummet. After another energy company, Dynegy, canceled a planned $8.4 billion buy-out in late November, Enron filed for bankruptcy. By the end of the year, Enron's collapse had cost investors billions of dollars, wiped out some 5,600 jobs and liquidated almost $2.1 billion in pension plans.

Over the next several years, the name "Enron" became synonymous with large-scale corporate fraud and corruption, as an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Justice Department revealed that Enron had inflated its earnings by hiding debts and losses in subsidiary partnerships. The government subsequently accused Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling, who served as Enron's CEO from February to August 2001, of conspiring to cover up their company's financial weaknesses from investors. The investigation also brought down accounting giant Arthur Anderson, whose auditors were found guilty of deliberately destroying documents incriminating to Enron.

In July 2004, a Houston court indicted Skilling on 35 counts including fraud, conspiracy and insider trading. Lay was charged with 11 similar crimes. The trial began on January 30, 2006, in Houston. A number of former Enron employees appeared on the stand, including Andrew Fastow, Enron's ex-CFO, who early on pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and agreed to testify against his former bosses. Over the course of the trial, the defiant Skilling--who unloaded almost $60 million worth of Enron stock shortly after his resignation but refused to admit he knew of the company's impending collapse--emerged as the figure many identified most personally with the scandal. In May 2006, Skilling was convicted of 19 of 35 counts, while Lay was found guilty on 10 counts of fraud and conspiracy. When Lay died from heart disease just two months later, a Houston judge vacated the counts against him. That October, the 52-year-old Skilling was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison.

Dec 2, 1804:
Napoleon crowned emperor

In Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Napoleon I, the first Frenchman to hold the title of emperor in a thousand years. Pope Pius VII handed Napoleon the crown that the 35-year-old conqueror of Europe placed on his own head.

The Corsican-born Napoleon, one of the greatest military strategists in history, rapidly rose in the ranks of the French Revolutionary Army during the late 1790s. By 1799, France was at war with most of Europe, and Napoleon returned home from his Egyptian campaign to take over the reigns of the French government and save his nation from collapse. After becoming first consul in February 1800, he reorganized his armies and defeated Austria. In 1802, he established the Napoleonic Code, a new system of French law, and in 1804 he established the French empire. By 1807, Napoleon's empire stretched from the River Elbe in the north, down through Italy in the south, and from the Pyrenees to the Dalmatian coast.

Beginning in 1812, Napoleon began to encounter the first significant defeats of his military career, suffering through a disastrous invasion of Russia, losing Spain to the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula War, and enduring total defeat against an allied force by 1814. Exiled to the island of Elba, he escaped to France in early 1815 and raised a new Grand Army that enjoyed temporary success before its crushing defeat at Waterloo against an allied force under Wellington on June 18, 1815.

Napoleon was subsequently exiled to the island of Saint Helena off the coast of Africa, where he lived under house arrest with a few followers. In May 1821, he died, most likely of stomach cancer. He was only 51 years old. In 1840, his body was returned to Paris, and a magnificent funeral was held. Napoleon's body was conveyed through the Arc de Triomphe and entombed under the dome of the Invalides.

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