Today in Literary History – August 30, 1925 -Babar author Laurent de Brunhoff is born

Laurent de Brunhoff, who took over writing and illustrating the Babar the Elephant series of books after his father's early death, was born on August 30, 1925. His father, Jean de Brunhoff, died in 1937, at the age of 37, when Laurent was 12 years old. Jean had produced six Babar books in his lifetime. …

Today in Literary History – August 28, 1913 – novelist Robertson Davies is born

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

Thought of the Day

“I am not sure that the discovery of love is necessarily more exquisite than the discovery of poetry.”  ―Marguerite Yourcenar

Today in Literary History – August 27, 1959 – novelist Jeanette Winterson is born

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, 1875 – novelist and Canadian Governor General John Buchan is born

John Buchan, the 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, British novelist and 15th Governor General of Canada, was born in Perth, Scotland on August 26, 1875. Buchan wrote many novels -- one a year for 25 years. The best known today are Prestor John, The Thirty-Nine Steps and its sequel Greenmantle. The Thirty-Nine Steps was turned into an …

Today in Literary History – August 24, 1872 – “The Incomperable Max” Beerbohm is born

Max Beerbohm (or to give him his full handle, Sir Henry Maximilian Beerbohm) was born in London on August 24, 1872. He was known originally as a dandy and a bon vivant (closely associated with Oscar Wilde's circle, a good friend of Aubrey Beardsley) and an accomplished caricaturist (signing his drawings as simply "Max"). He …

Thought of the Day

"Now a book lives as long as it is unfathomed. Once it is fathomed, once it is known and its meaning is fixed or established, it is dead." -- D.H. Lawrence  

Today in Literary History – August 21, 1920 – Christopher Robin Milne is born

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 …

Thought of the Day

"To be tiny and yet to attack someone very big is a brilliant feat. It is glorious to be a flea on a lion…The humiliated lion carries in its flesh the sting of the insect, and the flea can say: I have lion’s blood in me." —Victor Hugo

Thought of the Day

"The only sensible procedure for a critic is to keep silent about works which he believes to be bad. Attacking bad books is not only a waste of time but also bad for the character. One cannot review a bad book without showing off." —W. H. Auden

Today in Literary History – August 18, 1958 – Nabokov’s Lolita is first published in the US 60 years ago today

Vladimir Nabokov's controversial masterpiece Lolita was first published in the United States sixty years ago today, 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 …

Today in Literary History – August 17, 1945 – George Orwell’s Animal Farm is published

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 Farm is one of a revolution by the barnyard animals against Farmer Jones, his wife and his hired …

Today in Literary History – August 16, 1920 – Charles Bukowski is born

The American poet and novelist Charles Bukowski was born in Germany on August 16, 1920 as Heinrich Karl Bukowski. His father was a German-American who served as a sergeant in the American army during World War I and with the army of occupation in Germany after the war. After leaving the services he stayed on in …

Thought of the Day

"Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in; but, as a rule, the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents." — Arthur Schopenhauer

Today in Literary History – August 14, 1969 – Leonard Woolf dies

Leonard Woolf, the editor, publisher, novelist, memoirist and husband of Virginia Woolf, died from a stroke on August 14, 1969 at the age of eighty-eight. Woolf was born into a Jewish family in London. His father had been a lawyer but after he died when Woolf was eleven years old the family fell on hard …