Search This Blog

Sunday, February 17, 2013

New Birthday Meme - Twain and Aleichem!

Birthday meme

Today is February 18. It's my nephew Mark's birthday. Mark is a musician, composer and travel agent, which means he can arrange his own interstate tours when he's performing.

But as this is a book blog, I thought I'd check out "this day in history" with a literary theme. Mind you, plenty happened in other areas. Battles, assassinations and such. That dreadful man, George of Clarence, brother of Richard III and Edward IV, finally got his comeuppance in the Tower( glass of wine, anyone?). Mary Tudor, Bloody Mary, was born and Mary Queen of Scots was executed. I guess I can justify their inclusion on the basis that so much fiction has been written about all of them - Clarence was in Shakespeare, for starters.

But I thought that positive events would be better, so here's a couple: on this day in 1885, Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn was published. Amazing to think how often this classic has been banned, for all the wrong reasons. I mean, racist? Really? Have those who banned it  for that reason actually read the thing? Or just missed the point?

In 1859, the world gained another writer, Shalom Aleichem, author of all those wonderful Yiddish short stories, including the series about Tevye the milkman, some of them turned into a Broadway musical, Fiddler On The Roof. I've read a lot of them(in English). They're delightful, funny and sad and thought-provoking.

In fact, when Shalom Aleichem visited the US, Mark Twain said to him,"I wanted to meet you, because I've been told I am the American Shalom Aleichem." And I can see that, too, and t's nice to know those two writers had similar audiences, who'd read them both, or how would they have known?

So, there's February 18 for you. Anyone else have a favourite event on this day?

No comments: