Today's Page: July 8th
8 Jul 2012 9:12
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Jean de La Fontaine, Georges Bataille, Richard Aldington, Anthony Hope and Paula Danziger are the acclaimed authors who were born or died on a day like this.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the major English Romantic poets and is critically regarded as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. Shelley's unconventional life, alongside a common perception of his thought as uncompromising idealism, combined with his strong disapproving voice, made him a marginalized figure during his life, important in a fairly small circle of admirers, and opened him to criticism as well as praise afterward. He is most famous for such classic anthology verse works as "Ozymandias", "Ode to the West Wind", and "To a Skylark", which are among the most popular and critically acclaimed poems in the English language. His major works, however, are long visionary poems which included "Queen Mab" and "Alastor". Although he has typically been figured as a "reluctant dramatist", he was passionate about the theatre, and his plays continue to be performed today. He wrote the Gothic novels "Zastrozzi"(1810) and "St. Irvyne"(1811). He became an idol of the next three or four generations of poets, including important Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite poets. On a day like this in 1822, less than a month before his 30th birthday, Shelley drowned in a sudden storm while sailing back from Leghorn.
Jean de La Fontaine
Jean de La Fontaine, born on a day like this in 1621, was the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French regional languages. He was the only French poet to understand and master the texture of the French language before Hugo. A set of postage stamps celebrating La Fontaine and the Fables was issued by France in 1995. The numerous works of La Fontaine fall into three traditional divisions: the Fables, the Contes and the miscellaneous works. Of these the first may be said to be known universally and to exhibit the versatility and fecundity of the author's talent more fully than any of his other work; the second division, his tales, are known to all lovers of French literature, but the rest of his writing, with a few exceptions, is practically forgotten. La Fontaine died on April 13, 1695, aged 73.
Georges Albert Maurice Victor Bataille was a French intellectual and literary figure working in literature, anthropology, philosophy, economy, sociology and history of art. Sovereignty and transgression are at the core of his writings. Bataille drew from diverse influences and used various modes of discourse to create his work. His novel "Story of the Eye" was published under the pseudonym Lord Auch. The imagery of the novel is built upon a series of metaphors which in turn refer to philosophical constructs developed in his work: the eye, the egg, the sun and the earth. Other famous novels include the posthumously published "My Mother" (which would become the basis of Christophe Honoré's film Ma mère), "The Impossible and Blue of Noon", which, with its necrophilia, politics, and autobiographical undertones, is a much darker treatment of contemporary historical reality. Bataille passed away on a day like this in 1962 at the age of 64.
Richard Aldington, born Edward Godfree Aldington, was an English writer and poet. Aldington was born on a day like this in Portsmouth in 1892. He went into self-imposed 'exile' from England in 1928. "Death of a Hero", published in 1929, was his literary response to the war, commended by Lawrence Durrell as 'the best war novel of the epoch'. It was written while he was living on the island of Port-Cros in Provence as a development of a manuscript from a decade before. 1930, he published a bawdy translation of "The Decameron". In 1933, his novel titled "All Men are Enemies" appeared. Aldington was best known for his World War I poetry, and the controversy arising from his 1955 "Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Inquiry". His 1946 biography, Wellington, was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Aldington passed away on July 27, 1962.
Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins was an English novelist and playwright. Although he was a prolific writer, especially of adventure novels, he is remembered best for only two books: "The Prisoner of Zenda"(1894) and its sequel "Rupert of Hentzau"(1898). These works, "minor classics" of English literature, are set in the contemporaneous fictional country of Ruritania and spawned the genre known as Ruritanian romance. Zenda has inspired many adaptations, most notably the 1937 Hollywood movie of the same name. Hope passed away on a day like this in 1933, aged 70.
Paula Danziger was an American children's author. Danziger, who said she knew in the second grade that she wanted to be a writer, wrote more than 30 books. Her debut books "The Cat Ate My Gymsuit" was published in 1974. The "Amber Brown" and "Matthew Martin" series and "Remember Me to Harold Square", and "The Divorce Express" are some of her other works. She passed away on a day like this in 2004. At the time of her death, many of her books had been published in 53 countries and in 14 languages.