Today's Page: July 5th
Jean Cocteau, Georges Bernanos, Marcel Achard, and Howard Nemerov are the acclaimed authors who were born or died on a a day like this.
Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau was a French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker, born on a day like this in 1889. Cocteau is best known for his novel "Les Enfants terrible"(1929), and the films Blood of a Poet (1930), Les Parents terribles (1948), Beauty and the Beast (1946), and Orpheus (1949). His circle of associates and friends included Pablo Picasso, Coco Chanel, Edith Piaf and Raymond Radiguet. In 1955 Cocteau was made a member of the Académie française and The Royal Academy of Belgium. During his life Cocteau was commander of the Legion of Honor, Member of the Mallarmé Academy, German Academy (Berlin), American Academy, Mark Twain (U.S.A) Academy, Honorary President of the Cannes film festival, Honorary President of the France-Hungary Association and President of the Jazz Academy and of the Academy of the Disc. Cocteau died of a heart attack at his chateau in Milly-la-Forêt, Essonne, France, on 11 October 1963 at the age of 74. It is said that upon hearing of the death of his friend, the French singer Édith Piaf the same day, he choked so badly that his heart failed.
Georges Bernanos was a French author, and a soldier in World War I. he was a violent adversary to bourgeois thought and to what he identified as defeatism leading to France's defeat in 1940. Bernanos was born at Paris, into a family of craftsmen, and spent much of his childhood in the Pas de Calais region, which became a frequent setting for his novels. He wrote his first novel "Under the Sun of Satan" in 1926. His novel "La Joie"(1929) won the Prix Femina. His most famous novel "Diary of a Country Priest" won the Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française. His writings are sharply critical of modern society and its inroads into personal liberty, both through government and through technical development. He was an isolated figure, but maintained a very high reputation among his fellow writers in France. Bernanos died on a day like this in 1948.
Marcel Achard, born on a day like this in 1899, was a French playwright and screenwriter. He wrote his first play in 1922 and had a major success the following year when renowned actor-director Charles Dullin staged his play "Would You Like to Play with Me?". Two of his most popular plays of the period were 1929's "John of the Moon" and 1932's "Domino". Achard's popular sentimental comedies maintained his position as a highly-recognizable name in his country's theatrical and literary circles for five decades. Marcel Achard died of diabetes in his Paris home two months after his 75th birthday.
Howard Nemerov was an American poet. Nemerov's numerous collections of poetry include "Trying Conclusions: New and Selected Poem", "The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov"(1977), which won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bollingen Prize; "The Winter Lightning: Selected Poems"(1968); "Mirrors and Windows"(1958); and "The Image of the Law"(1947). His novels have also been commended; they include "The Homecoming Game"(1957), "Federigo: Or the Power of Love"(1954), and "The Melodramatists"(1949). Nemerov's work is formalist. He has written almost exclusively in fixed forms and meter. While he is known for his meticulousness and refined technique, his work also has a reputation for being witty and playful. He is compared to John Hollander and Philip Larkin. Nemerov passed away on a day like this in 1991, aged 71.
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