Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Today in Literary History.......

Wow....today is a rather large day in literary history. On Feb. 7, 1812, Charles John Huffman Dickens was born! Dickens was the second of eight children in a family always in debt, so he knew firsthand the misery of child labor (factory work), hunger, and debtors' prison. His childhood poverty and adversity shaped his later passion for social reform and his compassion for the lower classes, especially for children, which is obvious in the novels, short stories, and articles he wrote. I've only read a couple of Dickens, but Great Expectations is far and away my favorite.


On Feb. 7, 1885, Sinclair Lewis was born in Sauk Center, MN was the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930. After receiving his A.B. from Yale University in 1907, he was for a time a member of Upton Sinclair's Helicon Hall, a socialist, Utopian society in New Jersey. When the Panama Canal was being built, he went to find work there but was unsuccessful and returned to the midwest as a reporter and editor. Lewis went east again in 1910, married in 1914 (divorced 1925, remarried 1928), and began writing novels full time in 1916. Our Mr. Wrenn (1914), The Trail of the Hawk (1915), The Job (1917), The Innocents (1917), Free Air (1919) were all written before Main Street, Lewis's break-through book, was published in 1920. Babbit followed in 1922 (written in Italy and England) and Arrowsmith in 1925; Lewis refused the Pulitzer Prize of $1000 for Arrowsmith in 1926 as a protest against the restrictive terms of the award. When Lewis accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930, he "lived up to his reputation as a non-conformist and firebrand by his vehement speech in which he attacked the professors and men of letters who would subject American literature to conventional standards of taste and morals." Yeah...he was my kind of guy!


And finally on Feb 7, 1867, Laura Ingalls Wilder was born, the second of 5 children to Charles and Caroline Ingalls near Pepin, WI. She was known for her "Little House on the Prairie" children's books, an autobiographical tale.

Later!

7 comments:

kookiejar said...

I think I will make a cake in honor of Mr Dickens. 'A Christmas Carol' is my favorite of his numerous and wonderous works.

~Lisa~ said...

Beach, when I come to Peoria for a visit can we please go to Jimmy's? Does this place have a jukebox? Any chance we could pool our money and start buying lottery tickets? I could cover DC, VA, and MD. Work blows!

Hang in there!

Susan said...

Maybe I would have been a great writer if I had been born on this day. :) Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities are my favorite Dickens's books.

~Lisa~ said...

Saweet -- I just knew it would have a jukebox! Girl, shoot, I'm going to make Peoria happen in '07. I want to meet Mike and the kids! Do you have any idea how far away it is from Fort Wayne? How about Chicago? Cripes, I might get a GD tattoo while I'm there. F it!!!!!!!!!!!!

moonbeam said...

My ex-husband was born Feb 1. He wasn't a great writer, but he sure could come up with some TALL TALES. Jerk.

Stephanie said...

LOL Moonbeam, you CRACK me up!! You so have to retire close to Peoria!!

Backcountry Muse said...

My favourite Dickens are "Pickwick Papers" and "David Copperfield". Give 'em a try, Stephanie. I'll bet you'd enjoy them.

Paul