Today's Page: July 10th
Marcel Proust, Alice Munro, John Wyndham, and Winston Graham are the acclaimed authors who were born or died on a day like this.
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist. He was born on a day like this in Auteil in 1871. Proust was involved in writing and publishing from an early age. Proust is known for his monumental À la recherche du temps perdu ("In Search of Lost Time"). Begun in 1909, À la recherche du temps perdu consists of seven volumes totaling around 3,200 pages (about 4,300 in The Modern Library's translation) and featuring more than 2,000 characters. Graham Greene called Proust the "greatest novelist of the 20th century", and W. Somerset Maugham called the novel the "greatest fiction to date". The book was translated into English by C. K. Scott Moncrieff, appearing under the title "Remembrance of Things Past" between 1922 and 1931. Scott Moncrieff translated volumes one through six of the seven volumes, dying before completing the last. This last volume was rendered by other translators at different times. When Scott Moncrieff's translation was later revised (first by Kilmartin, then by Enright) the title of the novel was changed to the more literal "In Search of Lost Time". Prouse died of pneumonia in 1922. He was 51.
Alice Ann Munro, born on a day like this in 1931, is a Canadian shot story writer. Generally regarded as one of the world's foremost writers of fiction, Munro writes about the human condition and relationships seen through the lens of daily life. While the locus of Munro’s fiction is her native Southwestern Ontario, her reputation as a short-story writer is international. A frequent theme of her work (particularly evident in her early stories) has been the dilemmas of a girl coming of age and coming to terms with her family and the small town she grew up in. In recent works such as "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage"(2001) and "Runaway"(2004) she has shifted her focus to the travails of middle age, of women alone and of the elderly. It is a mark of her style for characters to experience a revelation that sheds light on, and gives meaning to, an event. Munro was the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work. She also is a three-time winner of Canada's Governor General's Award for fiction, and a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize.
John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris, born on a day like this in 1930, was an English science fiction writer who usually used the pen name John Wyndham, although he also used other combinations of his names, such as John Beynon and Lucas Parkes. Many of his works were set in post-apocalyptic landscapes. He turned to writing for money in 1925, and by 1931 was selling short stories and serial fiction to American science fiction pulp magazines, most under the pen names of 'John Beynon' or 'John Beynon Harris', although he also wrote some detective stories. He altered his writing style and by 1951, using the John Wyndham pen name for the first time, wrote the novel "The Day of the Triffids". His prewar writing career was not mentioned in the book's publicity, and people were allowed to assume that it was a first novel from a previously unknown writer. The book proved to be an enormous success and established Wyndham as an important exponent of science fiction. He went on to write and publish six more novels under the name John Wyndham, all of which appeared in his lifetime. He passed away on March 11, 1969, aged 65.
Winston Mawdsley Graham was an English novelist. He is best known for the "Poldark" novels series of historical fiction. His first novel, "The House with the Stained Glass Windows" was published in 1934; his first Poldark novel, "Ross Poldark", was published in 1945, and was succeeded by a series of eleven further titles, the last of which, "Bella Poldark", was published in 2002. The series was set in Cornwall, especially in and near Perranporth, where Graham spent much of his life. The first seven Poldark novels were turned into a BBC television series first broadcast in the UK between 1975 and 1977, which gained audiences of about 14 million viewers. It was so successful that some vicars rescheduled or cancelled church services rather than try to have them clash with the transmission of the Poldark series. Other than the Poldark novels, Graham's most successful work was "Marnie" (1964), a thriller filmed by Alfred Hitchcock with Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery in the leads. Graham passed away on a day like this in 2003. He was 95.
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