This year's Christmas parties not so exciting? You're invited to join company like no other - writers who were...
Born this week:
Hans Hellmut Kirst, Germany
"All you have to do is anesthetize the masses by telling them they're an elite, that they've got a mission, that they're making history, that they're fulfilling their destiny and fighting for a better world — and they swallow it like lambs — even when a guttersnipe says it."
Carmen Martin Gaite, Spain
"There's no way of calculating how many ramifications a story will take on once one spies a gleam of attention in another's eyes."
Eugene Sue, France
"Virtue often trips and falls on the sharp-edged rock of poverty."
Albert Steffen, Switzerland
Alfred de Musset, France
"Great artists have no country."
Maurice Leblanc, France
Died this week:
Alexandre Dumas, France
"It is sometimes essential to government to cause a man’s disappearance without leaving any traces, so that no written forms or documents may defeat their wishes."
Anthony Trollope, UK
"I hold that gentleman to be the best dressed whose dress no one observes. I am not sure but that the same may be said of an author's written language."
Marin Sorescu, Romania
Thornton Wilder, USA
"Literature is the orchestration of platitudes."
Jose Donoso, Chile
"I once asked the servants why none of them had blue eyes like my aunts. They replied that only the ladies could afford to buy the blue glass cups in which they kept their eyes at night to make them more blue and beautiful, and furthermore, if we went on asking silly questions, the rats that steal the faces of inquisitive children in order to wear them as masks would come to take us to live in the twilit world between the ceiling and the roof where no one ever dared to go."
Luigi Pirandello, Italy
"Woe to him who doesn't know how to wear his mask, be he king or pope!"
Artur Nils Lundkvist, Sweden