Today in Literary History – September 20, 1592 – Robert Greene’s Groats-worth of Witte

On September 20, 1592, a pamphlet by Robert Greene, a successful but dissolute playwright was published in London. It was called A Groats-Worth of Witte bought with a Million of Repentance (a groat being a small coin). It is most famous for containing, it would seem, the first printed reference to William Shakespeare, although in …

Today in Literary History – September 19, 1819 – John Keats writes “To Autumn”

On September 19, 1819, John Keats took a walk near Winchester and was moved by the scenery to write the poetic ode "To Autumn", which would turn out to be his final major poem. He wrote to his friend John Hamilton Reynolds two days later: "How beautiful the season is now – How fine the …

Book Review – IN SEARCH OF A BETTER WORLD: A Human Rights Odyssey by PAYAM AKHAVAN

Payam Akhavan's In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey is this year's CBC Massey Lectures entry. Akhavan is reading its five chapters in five Canadian cities now and the lectures will be broadcast on CBC Radio from November 6 to 10. It is Akhavan's personal story as an immigrant to Canada who …

Today in Literary History – September 18, 1940 – Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again is published

Thomas Wolfe's novel You Can't Go Home Again was published on September 18, 1940, two years (almost to the day) after Wolfe's death at the age of 37. It tells the story of a famous novelist who returns to his hometown to find himself hated there for using the townspeople's private stories in his books. …

Today in Literary History – September 17, 1954 – Lord of the Flies is published

William Golding's first, and most enduring novel, Lord of the Flies, was first published on September 17, 1954. Although Lord of the Flies went on to be one of the best loved modern novels, taught in most schools, and Golding would go on to a knighthood and a Nobel Prize for literature, the book did …

Today in Literary History – September 16, 1962 – graphic novelist Seth is born

Canadian cartoonist and graphic novelist Seth was born on this day in 1962 as Gregory Gallant in Clinton, Ontario. He has been producing cartoons and comic work for years, but I really only started to pay attention to him recently. I have to admit that although I love cartoons I'm not terribly up on graphic …

Today in Literary History – September 15, 1915 – the first appearance of Jeeves & Wooster

The September 15, 1915, issue of The Saturday Evening Post featured a comic short story by P.G. Wodehouse in which his two most famous characters, the dim-witted aristocrat Bertie Wooster and his preternaturally adaptable valet Jeeves made their first appearances. Well, yes and no. The story, Extricating Young Gussie, is narrated by a recognizable Bertie, …

Today in Literary History – September 14, 1851 – the death of James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper, the novelist of the American frontier, died on this day in 1851. He was brought up on an estate in upper New York state, in what is now the village of Cooperstown, home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Cooper is most famous for his five-book cycle known as The Leatherstocking …

Today in Literary History – September 13, 1928 – the death of Italo Svevo

The German-Italian novelist Italo Svevo died on this day in 1928. "Italo Svevo" was actually his pen name. His real name was Ettore Schmitz (known to his friends as Hector) and apart from his literary endeavours he was also, thanks to an advantageous and loving marriage to an heiress, a wealthy businessman. In late 1928, …

Today in Literary History – September 12, 1880 – the birth of H.L. Mencken

Today is the anniversary if the birth of one of my all-time favourite writers, H.L. Mencken, born in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 12, 1880. Mencken, known to his family and friends as Hank, was an incredibly prolific writer of books, essays, satirical pieces and newspaper columns. He wrote about social trends, politics, literature, music, philology, …