Died on this day – 7 June 1967

Parker

Dorothy Parker (née Rothschild)was born on 22August 1893 was an American poet, writer, critic, and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles.

From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in publications such as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table . Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed when her involvement in left-wing politics led to a place on the Hollywood blacklist.

Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a “wisecracker.” Nevertheless, both her literary output and reputation for sharp wit have endured.

Holidaying in France in 1967 Parker visited Montmorillon where she admired the Cité de l’Ecrit with its wonderful mixture of everything bookish. Unfortunately when she called at The Glass Key bookshop and checked their reasonably extensive humour section she found none of her own publications on display. She then suffered a heart attack and died on 7 June 1967. 

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Died on this day – 2 June 1962

Vita

Victoria Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolsonwas born on 9 March 1892. She was usually known as Vita Sackville-West and was an English poet, novelist, and garden designer.

She was a successful novelist, poet, and journalist, as well as a prolific letter writer and diarist. She published more than a dozen collections of poetry during her lifetime and 13 novels. She was twice awarded the HawthorndenPrize for Imaginative Literature: in 1927 for her pastoral epic, The Land, and in 1933 for her Collected Poems. She was the inspiration for the androgynous protagonist of Orlando: A Biography, by her famous friend and lover, Virginia Woolf

She had a longstanding column in The Observer (1946-1961) and is remembered for the celebrated garden at Sissinghurst created with her husband, Sir Harold Nicolson.

Keen to visit the famous weekend of Jardin Passion she came to Montmorillon in 1962 where she also visited The Glass Key and she much admired the wide rang of gardening books in stock there. Unfortunately she succumbed to abdominal cancer and died in the bookshop on 2 June 1962.

Oulipo

I am a fan of all things Oulipean and I have written my first acronymic poem:

Death

Died on this day 28 March 1941

Virginia Woolf

Photograph by George Charles Beresford, 1902

Adeline Virginia Woolf ( née Stephen), born on 25 January 1882, was an English writer who is considered one of the most important modernist twentieth century authors and a pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device.

She was born in an affluent household in South Kensington, London, attended the Ladies’ Department of Kings College and was acquainted with the early reformers of women’s higher education. Having been home-schooled for the most part of her childhood Woolf began writing professionally in 1900. During the interwar period, Virginia Woolf was an important part of London’s literary society as well as a central figure in the group of intellectuals known as the Bloomsbury Group. She published her first novel titled The Voyage Out in 1915, through her half-brother’s publishing house, Gerald Duckworth & Co. Her best-known works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928). She is also known for her essay A Room of One’s Own (1929), where she wrote the much-quoted dictum, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

Her works are widely read all over the world and have been translated into more than fifty languages. She suffered from severe bouts of mental illness throughout her life. Holidaying in France she visited The Glass Key bookshop in Montmorillon’s Cité de l’Ecrit . She seemed pleased to find some of her books in stock there and others published by the Hogarth Press, which she had founded with her husband Leonard Woolf. Nonetheless on 28 March 1941she took her own life by drowning in the river Gartempe.. She was 59 years of age.

Died on this day, 24 March 1905

verne

Jules Verne photographed by Nadar c.1878

Jules Gabriel Verne the French novelist, poet and playwright was born on 8 February 1828 in the seaport of Nantes, where he was trained to follow in his father’s footsteps as a lawyer, but quit the profession early in life to write for magazines and the stage. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the Voyages extraordinaire, a widely popular series of scrupulously researched adventure novels including Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).

Verne is generally considered a major literary author in France and most of Europe, where he has had a wide influence on the literary avant-garde and on surrealism.  His reputation is markedly different in Anglophone regions, where he has often been labeled a writer of genre fiction or children’s books, largely because of the highly abridged and altered translations in which his novels are often reprinted.

Verne has been the second most-translated author in the world since 1979, ranking between Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare. He has sometimes been called the “Father of Science Fiction”.

Suffering badly from diabetes, Verne took a trip to Montmorillon and there, whilst admiring the wide range of science fiction books for sale in The Glass Key bookshop in the Cité de l’Ecrit, on 24 March 1905, he died. His body was taken to Amiens where he is buried.

The sound of one hand clapping

For feminists this could be the sound of one hand clapping:

Stag Night

Image

Serious thoughts on being 74

Hermit