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Saturday, February 23, 2013

February 23 In The World Of Books

So, what happened in the literary world on this day in history? I looked it up in Wikipedia, which is really handy for this sort of information and I found out that on February 23:

The Gutenberg Bible was published, in 1455. It was the first major Western book published in movable type. It certainly made a huge difference in publishing and I love the fact that the major project for keeping books available is called Project Gutenberg. Since getting my lovely iPad, I have made good use of Project Gutenberg, my most recent download being Kipling's Puck Of Pook's Hill, which I downloaded only yesterday, complete with illustrations.

1898, Emile Zola, the famous French writer, was jailed for writing J'Accuse, the letter denouncing the French government for anti-Semitism and what had been done to the innocent Captain Dreyfus, who had been sent to Devil's Island for treason. Not a nice anniversary, but a major literary event.

Birthday, 1633, of Samuel Pepys, best known now for his diaries, which bring his era to vivid life.

Birthday, 1899, of Erich Kastner, a German writer of children's novels. Lottie And Lisa was the basis of a number of movies, including Disney's The Parent Trap. Even more significant was his novel Emil And The Detectives. This was published in 1929, and started the trend of child detective novels. Enid Blyton did it, yes, but he did it first. There's a novel called The 35th Of May which, according to Wikipedia, may have inspired C.S. Lewis's Narnia books.

Deaths: in 1821, John Keats, the British poet, author of such lovely stuff as "Ode To Autumn", the one that begins,"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.." and "Ode On A Grecian Urn" and if you've ever heard the saying,"A thing of beauty is a joy forever" that, too, comes from one of his poems. The poor man didn't live long. He died of TB at the age of about 26. I believe he wasn't a big hit in his own time and isn't that typical? Van Gogh was a flop in his own time and if he could visit our time, as he did in that Dr Who episode, he'd probably be furious at the unfairness of it all.

In 1995, James Herriot, author of those wonderful stories about being a vet in Yorkshire, beginning with All Creatures Great And Small. They were charming and gentle and funny and sometimes sad. I remember discovering this series through Scholastic Book Club, from which I used to order books for my first lot of students. Of course, I had to get more.

These are the events I found in one site, but there are probably more.

Anybody know of any?

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