Every now and then, I post about events and birthdays on a date, and try to include, if possible, writers and books. There aren’t too many that fit that on this date, but I’ve chosen some of interest, for your enjoyment. I hope you like them!
Things That Happened on August 31
1422 - Henry V, that English warrior king, dies of dysentery, leaving his baby son to succeed him. He became Henry VI, but inherited some craziness through his mother, Catherine of France, and she, in her turn, married Owen Tudor, and we all know what happened as a result. Still, Shakespeare got some inspiration from it! I’m still catching up with his history plays via The Hollow Crown. “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” (Henry VI, Part 2)
|HENRY V. Public domain|
1897 - Thomas Edison patents the world’s first film projector, the Kinetoscope. Think of all the creativity that has been possible due to this invention!
And a hundred years later, on this day, Princess Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul, all died in a car crash in Paris. Who can remember where they were when they heard? I do! I was at home, vacuuming.
2006 - the famous Edvard Munch painting, The Scream, stolen August 24 in 2006, was recovered by Norwegian police. Thank goodness for that!
Some Birthdays On This Day
12 CE, that dreadful, murdering Roman Emperor Caligula. The role was played by John Hurt in I, Claudius, and wasn’t he evil!
1741, Jean-Paul-Egide Martini, a French composer who did music for Marie Antoinette and Napoleon! Best known for Plaisir D’Amour, that break-up song.
1834, Amilcare Ponchielli. Composer. You will certainly know him for one tune, Dance Of The Hours.
1894, Albert Facey, an Australian man who wrote his memoir, A Fortunate Life, which became a huge bestseller, a TV mini series and a play. The book was a delight and showed that an ordinary person had something to say that other people would want to hear. Among other things, he fought in the Great War, and received a pair of socks knitted by a young woman he would later meet and marry. If you ever get a chance to read the book, do so!
I’m going to sneak in one more, born on August 30, as I didn’t post about her yesterday. In 1797, on this day, was born Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, known as the mother of science fiction. Her mother was the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. We all know the story about the house party attended by two poets, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, and two unknowns, our heroine Mary and a doctor, John Polidori, and the challenge they took, to write a “ghost story”. Ironically, it was the two newbies who created classics while the professional poets didn’t. Polidori wrote The Vampyre, which wasn’t the first vampire novel, but did create the first sexy vampire, Lord Ruthven. You can get both of these books on Project Gutenberg.
August 31 is the feast day of Joseph of Arimathea, who is connected with the Holy Grail, and was supposed to have come to England, where he planted his staff, which blossomed.
He is the patron saint of undertakers and funeral directors, I’m guessing because he was the one who organised the burial of Jesus.
Tomorrow is the first day of spring in the Southern Hemisphere, where I live. I will be playing the first movement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, to celebrate.
Have a great season, whether it’s spring or autumn!