Thought of the Day

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Also On This Day in Literary History – poet Alexander Pope is born – from Bookworm Norm 2018

Alexander Pope, the great satiric poet, was born on May 21, 1688. Pope suffered from many physical ailments including Pott’s disease, a form of tuberculosis affecting the spine. He was hunchbacked and stood at only four feet six inches. In addition he had severe respiratory difficulties and abdominal pains. Pope came from a Catholic family …

Today in Literary History – May 20, 1609 – William Shakespeare’s Sonnets are first published

154 sonnets by William Shakespeare were first published on May 20, 1609 by Thomas Thorpe. Nearly everything about the sonnets - their composition, dedication, and publication – leads to a rabbit's warren of confusion, speculation and disagreement. The controversy starts with Thomas Thorpe himself and the question of how and where he obtained the sonnets …

Also On This Day in Literary History -T.E. Lawrence dies after a motorcycle accident – From Bookworm Norm 2018

T. E. Lawrence, known to history as “Lawrence of Arabia” and the author of the classic Seven Pillars of Wisdom, died on May 19, 1935, at the age of forty-six. He had resigned from the RAF just a few months earlier and had moved permanently into his holiday cottage in Dorset. Lawrence was an avid motorcyclist and …

Today in Literary History – May 19, 1971 – humorous poet Ogden Nash dies

Ogden Nash, famed for his humorous poems featuring unexpected rhymes, idiosyncratic spelling, and wistful sentiments, died on May 19, 1971 at the age of 68. He had suffered from Crone’s Disease and other gastric ailments throughout his life. He fell ill after eating some coleslaw that turned out to have been contaminated. This led to …

Thought of the Day

"To be immortal is commonplace; except for man, all creatures are immortal, for they are ignorant of death." – Jorge Luis Borges

Also Today in Literary History – French anti-war writer Henri Barbuse is born in 1873 – from Bookworm Norm 2018

Henri Barbusse, the French novelist and war hero turned pacifist, was born on May 17, 1873. His father was French and his mother was English. He was a well known poet and journalist in Paris literary circles before World War I. Barbusse was 41 and in poor health when war broke out in 1914 but …

Today in Literary History – May 17, 1900 – L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is first published

L. Frank Baum's classic children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published in Chicago by George M. Hill Company on May 17, 1900. Baum gave the first copy that rolled off the presses to his sister, Mary Louise Baum Brewster. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was illustrated by Baum's frequent collaborator, W.W. Denslow, …

Also Today in Literary History – Emily Dickinson dies – from Bookworm Norm May 2018

Emily Dickinson, who is now considered one of the most important American poets, died on May 15, 1886, in almost complete obscurity. She was 55 years old and had spent most of her life living in her family mansion in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her neighbours considered her to be an eccentric recluse. In her later years …

Today in Literary History – May 15, 1891 – Mikhail Bulgakov, author of “The Master and Margarita” is born

Mikhail Bulgakov, known as one of the greatest Russian novelists of the 20th century for his posthumously published masterpiece The Master and Margarita, was born in Kiev, then part of Imperial Russian, on May 15, 1891. Bulgakov came from a religious haute bourgeois family. His father was a well known professor of theology as well …

Thought of the Day

“Life is intrinsically, well, boring and dangerous at the same time. At any given moment the floor may open up. Of course, it almost never does; that's what makes it so boring.” – Edward Gorey

Today in Literary History – May 14, 1979 – “Wide Sargasso Sea” author Jean Rhys dies after a sad and turbulent life

Jean Rhys, the novelist who found literary fame and success at 76 with her one masterpiece, Wide Sargasso Sea, died in London on May 14, 1979 at the age of 88. She had a sad and tortured life, plagued by poverty, alcoholism, sexual abuse, prostitution, a stint in jail, stays in mental hospitals, the death of a …

Also On This Day in Literary History – May 12, 1812 – Edward Lear is born – From Bookworm Norm 2018

Edward Lear, the British poet and master of the limerick, was born on May 12, 1812. Lear began his career as an artist, specializing in natural history paintings. He made watercolour illustrations of birds for the British Museum and for private ornithologists and was compared favourably with John James Audubon. Later, he worked for the …

Today in Literary History – May 12, 1921 – Canadian author Farley Mowat is born

Farley Mowat, the prolific author and environmentalist who wrote more than 40 books of memoirs, history and adventures in the Canadian North, both for adults and children, was born on May 12, 1921 in Belleville, Ontario. During the Depression Mowat’s father, a veteran of World War I's Battle of Vimy Ridge, moved the family to …

Today in Literary History – May 9, 1860 – “Peter Pan” author J.M. Barrie is born

J.M. Barrie, the playwright and novelist who created Peter Pan, “the boy who wouldn't grow up," was born on May 9, 1860 to a Scottish Calvinist family. Barrie had an eventful and in many ways a terribly sad life. Barrie was the ninth of 10 children. When he was 6 his next oldest brother, David, …