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Thread: Literary Notes

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    Default Literary Notes

    Holli's notable news prompted me to start this thread.

    Let us know what you know or find out about those whom inspire our Creative Corner.

    Jean
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the birthday of the novelist George Eliot, (books by this author) born Mary Ann Evans in Warwickshire, England (1819), who spent the first 30 years of her life living in a small market town with her father. She took care of the house after her mother died, but her father encouraged her education and let her burn up thousands of candles reading late into the night. She read books by Montaigne, Shakespeare, Byron, Scott, Wordsworth, and many others and eventually learned to read Latin, Greek, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Hebrew.

    But when her father died, Eliot suddenly had to find a way to make a living. She was already a spinster by society standards, probably unable to find a husband, so she used her language skills to translate a book of German theology, and the man who published her translation was so impressed that he invited her to London and gave her an editing job at the Westminster Review. Within three years of her father's death, she had gone from a life of household chores and late-night reading to an editorship at one of the leading journals in London.

    Most of the men Eliot met in London were amazed by her brilliance, but when she got too close, they often brushed her off, because she was not an attractive woman. Henry James once described her as, "[A] great horse-faced blue-stocking." But a man named George Henry Lewes fell in love with her mind. They never got married, because he could not by law divorce his first wife, but they lived together for the rest of their lives, and it was he who suggested she try writing fiction. Her first full-length novel, Adam Bede (1859), was an overnight success, and everyone began to speculate about who this George Eliot was. Charles ++++++++++++++++++++ens was one of the few people to guess that the author might be a woman. She eventually did reveal her identity, but she kept the pen name.

    Her masterpiece was her second-to-last novel, Middlemarch (1871), which is a portrait of a market town like the one she grew up in, and tells the story of an idealistic young woman named Dorothea Brooke, who hopes to become a social reformer, and a doctor named Tertius Lydgate, who hopes to become a famous scientist. But both get caught in terrible marriages. After Middlemarch came out, thousands of women wrote letters to Eliot saying that she had described their lives, asking for her advice in their marriages and careers.

    Virginia Woolf wrote, "Middlemarch is one of the few English novels written for grown-up people." Emily ++++++++++++++++++++inson wrote, "What do I think of Middlemarch? What do I think of glory?"
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    Literary and Historical Notes:
    It's the birthday of the screenwriter and memoirist Joe Eszterhas, (books by this author) born in Hungary (1944). His home was destroyed by American bombers during World War II, so his family piled into their car and fled for the Austrian border, barely escaping machine gun fire. But they made it to a refugee camp and then immigrated to the United States, where Eszterhas became a journalist at Rolling Stone magazine, writing about drug dealers and murderers, and then broke into screenwriting with his script for the Sylvester Stallone movie F.I.S.T. (197, about union organizers. By the 1990s, he had become the highest paid screenwriter in the world, writing scripts for thrillers like Jagged Edge (1985) and Basic Instinct (1992). He was once paid $4 million to write an outline for a screenplay, a job that took him about four hours to complete.
    But after he tried to switch to a different talent agency, he claims that Hollywood executives threatened to have him killed, and he eventually quit Hollywood and moved to Ohio. In 2004, he came out with his memoir, Hollywood Animal, which mixes memories from his childhood and his surreal experiences in the movie industry. His book The Devil's Guide to Hollywood came out this year (2007).


    It was on this day in 1903 that the opera singer Enrico Caruso (music by Enrico Caruso) made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, appearing in ''Rigoletto.'' Caruso made it there from a childhood in the slums of Naples. His auto-mechanic father had tried to get him to work in a factory, but he'd run away from home at 16 and supported himself singing at weddings and funerals. For years, he'd worn the same suit — so many times that it began to turn green from mold, and he had to dye it black again.
    Caruso began his career as an opera singer in 1894, at an amateur opera house, but he slowly built up a reputation throughout Europe and around the world.
    By 1903, there was a lot of anticipation for his American debut, and most critics agreed that he did a good job. But over the course of that first opera season, Caruso began to relax and he sang better and better with each performance. By the end of the season, audiences were going into hysterics. After one of his last performances of the season, the audience members began yelling, stamping, and screaming his name. One woman jumped up on stage as Caruso came out for a bow. She tore a button from his coat and immediately burst into tears.
    Less than three months after his Metropolitan debut, Caruso made some recordings for the Victor Company, and his voice had a quality that made it shine through all the static in those early recordings, which helped transform the phonograph from a curiosity into a household item — and Caruso the first vocal recording star.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the birthday of the publisher and editor of The Little Review magazine, Margaret Anderson, (books by this author) born in Indianapolis (1886), who never fit in when she was growing up in the small town of Columbus, Indiana. She said, "I saw no reason why I should continue to live in Columbus, Indiana, and not breathe." So she moved to Chicago and founded a magazine called The Little Review, which she described as "A Magazine of the Arts, Making No Compromise with the Public Taste." She had a hard time getting financing, and eventually had to move in with her parents to save money, but she kept it going.
    In 1918, the poet Ezra Pound was trying to get James Joyce's new novel, Ulysses, published in the U.S., but most publishers thought it was too obscene. Anderson accepted it as soon as she read the manuscript. She wrote to Pound, "We'll print it if it's the last effort of our lives." She serialized the novel over the course of three years, and later said, "The care we [took] to preserve Joyce's text intact. ... The addressing, wrapping, stamping, mailing; the excitement of anticipating the world's response to the literary masterpiece of our generation ... and then a notice from the Post Office: BURNED."
    Three issues of the magazine were ultimately confiscated and burned. Anderson was charged with obscenity for publishing the book, and at the trial, the judge wouldn't let the offending material be read in her presence, because she was a woman, even though she had published it. She was convicted and had to pay a fine, and issues of The Little Review began to come out less and less frequently. The last issue came out in 1929.
    Margaret Anderson said, "I believe in the unsubmissive, the unfaltering, the unassailable, the irresistible, the unbelievable — in other words, in an art of life."



    It's the birthday of the novelist Laurence Sterne, (books by this author) born in Clonmel, Ireland (1713), who became a priest and supported himself and his wife by doing double duty in two different parishes, as well as substitute preaching at a third parish. He did all this preaching in spite the fact that privately he was agnostic. He knew he wanted to try writing fiction, but his friends kept telling him to put it off until he got promoted to higher office.
    He finally decided he couldn't wait any more, and began to write his novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1760), a fictional autobiography in which the narrator is unable to tell his own story, because he's constantly sidetracked by various absurd digressions on all sorts of subjects. The book is also filled with black pages, excerpts of obscure theological debates, and a graphic representation of its own plotline.
    Sterne participated in all the details of Tristram Shandy's marketing campaign, even specifying the dimensions of the book to make sure it could fit into a gentleman's coat pocket. His efforts paid off and the book made him famous. Sterne's work influenced many writers of the 20th century, including James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Beckett. Author Italo Calvino said, "[Sterne] was the undoubted progenitor of all the avant-garde novels of our century."
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the birthday of physician and essayist Lewis Thomas, (books by this author) born in Flushing, New York (1913), who was an intern at Boston City Hospital when he began publishing poems in the Atlantic Monthly. He got $35 per poem, which was a better going rate than the $25 dollars he was getting from selling pints of his own blood. But he had to give up creative writing once he finished his internship, and he went on to work at a series of university hospitals, doing research on immunology, and finally becoming the president of Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York.
    It was only after he had become one of the leading medical experts in the United States that a friend asked him if he'd like to write a column for The New England Journal of Medicine. He wouldn't get paid for his essays, but he couldn't pass up the chance to write on any topic he chose in a conversational style. He didn't have a lot of spare time, so he would choose an essay topic while driving home from work on Friday evenings and spend the following Saturday writing it. The essays touched on biology and space travel and classical music and termite colonies and medical conventions. He said that he was just writing them for fun, but when he his first collection, The Lives of a Cell, came out in 1974, it won the National Book Award and became a best-seller.
    Lewis Thomas wrote, "We are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth's creatures, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives, fearing the future, discontent with the present, unable to take in the idea of dying, unable to sit still." And he said, "The great secret of doctors, known only to their wives, but still hidden from the public, is that most things get better by themselves; most things, in fact, are better in the morning."

    ~


    It's the birthday of the naturalist Joseph Wood Krutch, (books by this author) born in Knoxville (1893), who was an English professor at Columbia University and a part-time drama critic for The Nation when he wrote a biography of Henry David Thoreau, and Thoreau's work got him interested in nature writing. So he took a sabbatical from his job and went off to spend a year in the desert outside of Tucson, Arizona. He'd lived most of his adult life in New York City, but upon arriving in the desert he said, "[It] almost seemed I had known and loved it in some previous existence." He wrote a book about it called The Desert Year (1952), and then shocked his friends and colleagues at Columbia when he announced that he was moving to Arizona permanently.
    He went on to write many more books about nature and the American West, including The Voice of the Desert (1955) and The Great Chain of Life (1956), and his work had a big influence on the environmentalist movement. Joseph Wood Krutch said, "Both the ++++++++++++++++++++roach and the bird could get along very well without us, although the ++++++++++++++++++++roach would miss us most."
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It was on this day in 1864 that a math teacher in Oxford, England, named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson gave a book he'd written as a Christmas gift to his boss's daughter, a 12-year-old girl named Alice Liddell. The book was called Alice's Adventures Underground.
    Dodgson (books by this author) had always preferred the company of children to adults, and he'd been spending time with Alice and her sisters since their mother had asked him to take some photographs of the family. Alice Liddell later wrote, "We used to go to his rooms ... to sit on the big sofa on each side of him, while he told us stories, illustrating them by pencil or ink ... drawing busily on a large sheet of paper all the time."
    He'd come up with the idea for a story about Alice going down a rabbit hole in the summer of 1862, while taking the girls on a rowboat ride. Alice begged him to write it down, and so he did. But while writing the book, he was actually spending less and less time with the Liddell girls, partly because they were growing up and he didn't enjoy their company as much, and partly because their mother didn't like him. He hadn't seen Alice in months when he finally sent her the finished book on this day, two years after he'd first made up the story. He'd written the story by hand in a green leather booklet with his own illustrations in the margins. It was published as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 under Dodgson's pen name, Lewis Carroll.

    ~


    It's the birthday of cartoonist Charles Schulz, (books by this author) born in St. Paul (1922), who created "Peanuts" and Charlie Brown, who never gets to kick the football, always gets his kite stuck in the tree, and never wins the love of The Little Red-Haired Girl. Schulz loved comics from an early age. His father bought six different newspapers every weekend and they would sit and read all the comics together. Schultz started drawing his own cartoons, but he got a C-plus in a correspondence art course, and his sketches were rejected by the staff of his high school yearbook. He couldn't sell any cartoons to the major magazines, and he was turned down as an animator for Disney because he had no experience. And then, he got drafted to fight in World War II when his mother was dying of cervical cancer. One of the last things she said to him was that if the family ever bought another dog, they should name it Snoopy.
    When Schulz got back from the war, he began drawing a comic strip about children called "Li'l Folks," and when he sold it to a national syndicate they changed the name to "Peanuts." The first Peanuts strip appeared on October 2, 1950, and it showed a boy and a girl sitting on a curb, with Charlie Brown approaching from a distance. The boy says, "Here comes ol' Charlie Brown! Good ol' Charlie Brown. ... Yes, Sir." And then once Charlie Brown has passed by, the boy says, "How I hate him!"
    In addition to Charlie Brown, "Peanuts" introduced the world to Linus, Schroeder, Lucy, Violet, and Snoopy, the dog. It became the most popular comic strip of all time, appearing in 2,600 newspapers and 75 countries, read by more than 335 million people everyday. Charles Schulz did all the drawing, inking, and lettering of his cartoons by himself, with no staff assistants. And he took almost no breaks in 50 years, even when his hand began to shake after he had heart surgery. He only decided to retire after he developed Parkinson's disease and was diagnosed with cancer. He died on February 12, 2000, the day before his last strip was set to run.
    Charles Schulz said, "Most of us are much more acquainted with losing than we are with winning. Winning is great, but it isn't funny."
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the 250th birthday of William Blake, (books by this author) born in London (1757), who was 4 years old when he saw God's head appear in a window, later saw the prophet Ezekiel sitting in a field, and once came upon a tree full of angels. He tried to tell his parents about these visions, but his father threatened to beat him for lying, so he stopped mentioning it.
    Instead, he began drawing pictures, and his work was so promising that his parents sent him to art school to become an engraver. He learned how to engrave copper plates for printing illustrations in books, and he went on to produce the illustrations for books about architecture, botany, and medicine. His work was so good that he was commissioned to come up with his own illustrations for the work of Chaucer, Dante, and selections from the Bible, which are now considered among the greatest works of engraving ever produced. He even invented a method of printing illustrations in color, and art historians still aren't sure how he did it.
    But as he became more famous for his artwork, Blake also began telling the artists and publishers he worked with that he was regularly visited by angels, and that he had conversations with him. He told a friend that he had discussed Renaissance art with the archangel Gabriel, and Gabriel preferred the paintings of Michelangelo to those of Raphael. Blake's work as an illustrator grew more and more bizarre, until finally he could only make a living by selling watercolors to a small group of private collectors.
    Blake had also been writing poetry for much of his life, and since he had his own printing press, he decided to print it himself. He developed a process of writing his poems directly on copper plates and then engraving illustrations around them. He would print a few dozen copies and stitch them into pamphlets, which he sold himself. His books got no attention in his lifetime. Most critics dismissed him as a madman. He died in 1827, and it wasn't until 1863 that a biography about him persuaded people to read his poetry for the first time. Today, he's best known for the poems he wrote for children, Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794).

    William Blake, who wrote, "To see a world in a grain of sand, / And a heaven in a wild flower, / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, / And eternity in an hour." He also said, "Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow."


    ~


    It's the birthday of the novelist Rita Mae Brown, (books by this author) born in Hanover, Pennsylvania (1944), who wrote Rubyfruit Jungle (1973), one of the first lesbian coming-of-age novels ever published in America. It was rejected by all the major publishers, so she went with a tiny press called Daughters, Inc., with no real advertising budget, but the book got passed around and became a word-of-mouth best seller, selling more than a million copies.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    Thanks for the easy to read links, Jean!
    Whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh!

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    np sue! any request from a tweleve peep is always doable!
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    lol...i'm finding the yellow links a bit difficult to read.


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