Meet some of the world’s most fascinating writers and their works. A weekly celebration of literary anniversaries, an opportunity to read a book! Read and, perhaps you will discover, as did William Somerset Maugham that "When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me."
Born this week:
Jack King, Writer
Author of suspense drawing on social and political issues.
Pedro Calderon de la Barca, Writer
"What surprises you, if a dream taught me this wisdom, and if I still fear I may wake up and find myself once more confined in prison? And even if this should not happen, merely to dream it is enough. For this I have come to know, that all human happiness finally ceases, like a dream."
Anne Bronte, Writer
"All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity, that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut. Whether this be the case with my history or not, I am hardly competent to judge. I sometimes think it might prove useful to some, and entertaining to others; but the world may judge for itself. Shielded by my own obscurity, and by the lapse of years, and a few fictitious names, I do not fear to venture; and will candidly lay before the public what I would not disclose to the most intimate friend."
Charles Montesquieu, Writer, Thinker
"Republics end through luxury; monarchies through poverty."
A. A. Milne, Writer
"Pooh always liked a little something at eleven o'clock in the morning, and he was very glad to see Rabbit getting out the plates and mugs; and when Rabbit said, "Honey or condensed milk with your bread?" he was so excited that he said, "Both," and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, "But don't bother about the bread, please."
Arthur Ransome, Writer
"Grab a chance and you won't be sorry for a might-have-been."
Auguste Comte, Writer
Coined the words "sociology", and "altruism". "The dead govern the living"
Johannes Jensen, Writer
"He developed his theories of evolution in a cycle of six novels, Den lange rejse (1908–22), translated into English as The Long Journey (1923-24), which was published in a two-volume edition in 1938. This is often considered his main work in prose, a daring and often impressive attempt to create a Darwinian alternative to the Biblical Genesis myth. In this work we see the development of mankind from the Ice Age to the times of Columbus, focusing on pioneering individuals."
Oleg Volkov, Writer (Real name" O. W. Osugin)
Author of gulag memoirs, compared to Solzhenitsyn.
"Politics in a work of literature is like a gunshot at a symphony, it adds an element of thugness i simplicity, and yet we cannot ignore it. Although for many reasons we would prefer to remain silent about some of the subjects discussed herein, unfortunately we must talk about these nasty things."
Camilla Collett, Writer
"When she raises her eyelids, it's as if she were taking off all of her clothes."
Died this week:
Camilo Jose Cela
"Cela's typical style—a sarcastic, often grotesque, form of realism—is exemplified in La Colmena, featuring more than 300 characters and a style showing the influence of both Spanish realism (best exemplified by Miguel de Cervantes and Benito Pérez Galdós) and contemporary English- and French-language authors, such as Joyce and Sartre."
Bettina von Arnim, Writer
"A work of art should express only that which elevates the soul and pleases it in a noble manner. The feeling of the artist should not overstep these limits; it is wrong to venture beyond."
John Ruskin, Writer
"No small misery is caused by overworked and unhappy people, in the dark views which they necessarily take up themselves, and force upon others, of work itself."
Alexander Herzen, Writer
"There is nothing in the world more stubborn than a corpse: you can hit it, you can knock it to pieces, but you cannot convince it."
George Orwell, Writer
"When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page. It is not necessarily the actual face of the writer."
Abe Kobo, Writer
"The minute you begin to have doubts, the floor under your feet starts to shake."