Today in Literary History – September 13, 1592 – Michel de Montaigne, the creator of the personal essay, dies

Michel de Montaigne, the French philosopher who established the personal essay as a literary form, died on September 13, 1592 at Château de Montaigne, the family estate where he had been born 59 years earlier. Ironically, Montaigne died of quinsy, a throat infection that led to a paralysis of his tongue and his inability to …

Today in Literary History -September 12, 1869 – Peter Mark Roget, compiler of “Roget’s Thesaurus” dies

Peter Mark Roget, the British physician, inventor, scientist, and lexicographer who late in life published his enduring magnum opus Roget’s Thesaurus, died on September 12, 1869, at the age of 90, while on vacation in the Malvern Hills. Roget was a remarkable Victorian figure with wide interests and a long list of medical and scientific …

Today in Literary History – September 5, 1791 – The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen is published in Paris

The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen was published in Paris on September 5, 1791, during the early years of the French Revolution by Olympe de Gouges, a French activist, feminist, and playwright. The Declaration was intended as a response to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the …

Today in Literary History – Belgian crime novelist Georges Simenon dies (from Bookworm Norm 2018)

Georges Simenon, the prolific Belgian detective novelist and creator of the immortal Inspector Maigret mysteries, died in Lausanne, Switzerland on September 4, 1989, at the age of 86. Over the course of his career Simenon wrote at least 400 books, 76 of them featuring his most famous creation, the pipe-smoking Inspector Jules Maigret of the …

Today in Literary History – September 1, 1875 – Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan of the Apes, is born (from September, 2018)

Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan of the Apesand author of many other fantasy and science fiction novels, was born in Chicago on September 1, 1875. He enlisted in the army as a young man but was discharged because of a heart ailment. He then spent many years working at a series of low paid …

Welcome, everyone, to the month of September with a beautiful painting and a lovely poem

Welcome to the month of September with a painting by the great Frida Kahlo and a lovely poem from Daniel Brick. September Comes By Daniel Brick In summer, you were stunned by green things blooming, bronzed by heat released from every inch of sky, carried across blue thresholds by random winds. Oh, how you felt …

Today in Literary History – August 31, 1688 -John Bunyan, author of “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” dies

John Bunyan, the Puritan preacher and author most famous for his popular allegory The Pilgrim's Progress, died on August 31, 1688, at the age of 59, after catching a fever in a storm. Bunyan is buried in Bunhill Fields, which poet Robert Southey called “the Campo Santo of the Dissenters.” George Fox, founder of the …

Today in Literary History – August 28, 1913 – Canadian novelist Robertson Davies is born (from Bookworm Norm August, 2018)

Robertson Davies, the Canadian novelist, playwright, actor, critic, and newspaperman, was born on August 28, 1913 in Thamesville, Ontario, which he fictionalized as the town of Deptford in The Deptford Trilogy -- (Fifth Business, The Manticore and World of Wonders). Davies father, Rupert Davies, was a Welsh immigrant who became the publisher of The Kingston …

Today in Literary History – August 27, 1959 – novelist Jeanette Winterson is born (updated from August, 2018)

The British novelist Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester on August 27, 1959. She was given up for adoption at birth and does not know who her biological parents were and claims to have no curiosity about them. Her adoptive parents were fundamentalist Pentecostals. “Their God is very literal — Jimmy Swaggart’s God,” she told …

Today in Literary History – August 26, 1904 – novelist Christopher Isherwood is born

Christopher Isherwood, the novelist and playwright, was born on August 26, 1904, just outside Manchester, England. He is best known for two novellas he wrote while living in Berlin in the 1930s -- Mr. Norris Changes Trains (1935) and Goodbye to Berlin (1939). They were published together as Berlin Stories in 1945. The two books …

Today in Literary History – August 25, 1949 – novelist and critic Martin Amis is born

Martin Amis, one of Britain's most highly regarded novelists and literary critics, who was described as an enfant terrible and a literary “bad boy" well into his middle age, turns 70 years old today. Amis was born in Oxford on August 25, 1949. His father, Sir Kingsley Amis was a famous comic novelist, as well …

Today in Literary History – August 24, 1872 – Max Beerbohm, novelist, essayist, critic, dandy, known as “The Incomperable Max” is born

Max Beerbohm (or to give him his full handle, Sir Henry Maximilian Beerbohm) was born in London on August 24, 1872. He became well known early in his life as a dandy and a bon vivant. He was closely associated with Oscar Wilde’s circle. He was a good friend of the artist and writer Aubrey …

Today in Literary History – August 21, 1872 – illustrator and author Aubrey Beardsley is born

Aubrey Beardsley, the Victorian illustrator and author, was born in Brighton on August 21, 1872. His striking black and white drawings made him a much in-demand book illustrator and cover designer and an important figure in the Art Nouveau movement. Beardsley's parents both came from respectable families, but due to his father's financial indiscretions, were …

Today in Literary History – August 21, 1920 – Christopher Robin Milne is born (from Bookworm Norm August 2018)

Christopher Robin Milne was born on August 21, 1920. His father was A.A. Milne, the creator of the Winnie-the-Pooh books that were based on Christopher Robin and his teddy bear, “Winnie-the-Pooh.” The younger Milne resented his childhood being used by his father as literary inspiration. Some offspring may have taken it with good grace and …

Today in Literary History – August 18, 1958 -Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” is published (from Bookworm Norm 2018)

Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial masterpiece Lolita was first published in the United States on August 18, 1958. It had originally been published in Paris in 1955 by Olympia Press (which specialized in “erotica”) in two error-ridden volumes. It would not be be published in the UK until 1959. The novel’s plot, the infatuation and corruption of a prepubescent …

Thought of the Day

"Eternity is not something that begins after you are dead. It is going on all the time. We are in it now." ~Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Today in Literary History – August 17, 1945 – George Orwell’s Animal Farm is published (from Bookworm Norm August, 2018)

Animal Farm, George Orwell’s satirical dystopian fable, was first published on August 17, 1945. He had begun the novel in 1943 after resigning from his position at the BBC to concentrate on writing. The story of Animal Farmis one of a revolution by the barnyard animals against Farmer Jones, his wife and his hired hands. The …