Yes myth, no myth

And they told me the unicorn was a mythical beast:



Died on this day – 12 February 1984



Julio Cortázar was born on 26 August 1914 in Ixelles, a municipality of Brussels, where his father was attached to the Argentine diplomatic service. Cortazar was an Argentine novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Known as one of the founders of the Latin American Boom, Cortázar influenced an entire generation of Spanish-speaking readers and writers in the Americas and Europe.

In 1951, Cortázar emigrated to France, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life, though he traveled widely.

Cortázar wrote numerous short stories including “Las babas del diabolo” which provided the inspiration for Antonioni’s film Blow-Up. Cortázar published four novels during his lifetime: Los Premios (The Winners, 1960), Hopscotch (Rayuela, 1963), 62: A Model Kit (62 Modelo para Armar, 1968), and Libro de Manuel (A Manual for Manuel, 1973).

In 1984, following the suggestion of his publisher friend Bill Swainson, Cortazar took a trip to Montmorillon to visit the bookshops in the Cité de l’Ecrit and it was here whilst searching the stock at The Glass Key that he sadly died on 12 February 1954. The cause of his death was reported to be leukemia. His body was shipped to Paris and interred in the Cimitière de Montparnasse.


The magazine The Cosmopolitanwas founded in 1886. Printed below the masthead on page 1 was the quotation “From every man according to his ability: to every one according to his needs.” William Randolph Hearst purchased the magazine in 1905 and I wonder whether he dropped the quotation – Marx and Hearst seem unlikely bedfellows. Helen Gurley Brown became chief editor in 1965 and, as Cosmopolitan, transformed the magazine into a worldwide success aimed specifically at a female audience. I wonder how the quotation might have read under her leadership.

Small Latin and less Greek

Delighted to discover that in South Carolina a bakery, when asked to put on a student’s graduation cake, below a congratulatory message, the words Magna cum Laude refused to do so.  Guess which word the bakery refused to ice?

Died on this day – 1 February 1851


Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Mary Shelley’s works often argue that cooperation and sympathy, particularly as practised by women in the family, were the ways to reform civil society. This view was a direct challenge to the individualistic Romantic ethos promoted by Percy Shelley and the Enlightenment political theories articulated by her father, William Godwin.

Mary Shelley’s last years were blighted by illness. From 1839, she suffered from headaches and bouts of paralysis in parts of her body, which sometimes prevented her from reading and writing. In January 1851 she travelled to France to take the famous health-giving waters at La Roche-Posy. During her stay she decided to take a trip Montmorillon to spend a little time visiting the bookshops in the Cité de l’Ecrit. She was pleased to find copies of both Frankenstein and the poetry of her deceased husband Percy Bysshe Shelley on sale at The Glass Key. Unfortunately it was here that she died of a suspected brain tumour on 1 February 1851. She was fifty-three years old.


From Prison

from prison