Category Archives: writers

Happy Birthday, Patricia Highsmith

“I don’t think my books should be in prison libraries.” — Patricia Highsmith, 1966 It’s Patricia Highsmith’s birthday today. He wouldn’t have killed someone just to save Derwatt Ltd. or even Bernard, Tom supposed. Tom had killed Murchison because Murchison … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Jack London

Jack London was born on this day, January 12, 1876. Happy birthday to the man who wrote: The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien

The German publishing firm of Rutten & Loening contacted Allen & Unwin in 1938 (the publishers of The Hobbit) and wanted to negotiate with them for a German translation of the book. But first and foremost, they wanted to know … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India on December 30, 1865. “I worshipped Kipling at 13, loathed him at 17, enjoyed him at 20, despised him at 25, and now again rather admire him.” – George Orwell, 1936 I think … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Jonathan Swift

“[He is] the most vigorous hater we’ve ever had in our literature.” — Edgell Rickword on Jonathan Swift Primarily known for Gulliver’s Travels (here’s my post about it) and A Modest Proposal he was also a poet of uncommon gifts. … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Louisa May Alcott

“November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year,” said Meg, standing at the window one dull afternoon, looking out at the frostbitten garden. “That’s the reason I was born in it,” observed Jo pensively, quite unconscious of the … Continue reading

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Happy (Belated) Birthday, William Blake

“I mean, don’t you think it’s a little bit excessive?” “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. William Blake.” Pause. “William Blake?” “William Blake!” “William Blake???” “William Blake!!!” — BULL DURHAM “It is an honesty against which … Continue reading

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“Do I Terrify?”: Happy Birthday, Sylvia Plath

Yes, Sylvia, you do. Especially when I listen to the recording of you reading your poem “Lady Lazarus.” It’s Sylvia Plath’s birthday today. Here’s a draft of “Stings,” written in the month of October, 1962, the productive (understatement) month when … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“These are the pure Magic. These are the clear vision. The rest is only poetry.” – Rudyard Kipling on John Keats and Samuel Taylor Coleridge William Hazlitt, friend to Coleridge, wrote: Coleridge has told me that he himself liked to … Continue reading

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“It Is Absurd To Divide People Into Good and Bad. People Are Either Charming or Tedious.”

So said Oscar Wilde, whose birthday it is today. His mother, Jane Speranza Francesca Wilde (aka Lady Wilde, aka “Speranza”) was an incredible woman in the canon of Irish literary history certainly, not to mention its politics and social upheaval. … Continue reading

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