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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August 31 - On This Day!

 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! 

Public domain

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.

Feast day/holiday

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! 


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I really enjoyed the series "The Hollow Crown," especially the performances by Jeremy Irons (Henry IV) and Tom Hiddleston (Henry V). Speaking of Joseph of Arimathea, when I was in England 12 years ago, I visited the Holy Thorn of Glastonbury on Wearyall Hill. This was about a year before vandals cut it down, alas. There is a second tree (also said to be from his staff) on the grounds of the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey. That one remains.

hels said...

A Fortunate Life was wonderful, both in the original book form and the later TV series. How did Facey, not a professional writer, get into publishing a book?

Guillaume said...

It's also the day I got married.

A latte beckons said...

When Princess Diana died, I was in the bath. I'd stayed over after a party at the home of the man who was to become my husband -- one of our earliest dates. No bath at my place so I was taking advantage.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Happy anniversary, Guillaume!

Hels, I think none of us are professionals until a publisher buys the book! 🙂 He took notes about his life, printed it up and eventually sold it. It was a bestseller before he died, which is nice to know,

Hi Kate! The death of Diana really is a “where we’re you?” Event for those of us who are old enough to remember it, isn’t it?

AJ Blythe said...

I don't remember to that level of detail what I was doing when I heard about Diana, but I was at home!

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Anita! I do remember it was a Sunday, and I was doing the housework, listening to th3 radio. Possibly you were doing the same.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Debra! It’s great that The Hollow Crown had so many wonderful actors. I’m currently watching Richard II and realising that the Duke of York is the amazing David Suchet, under that beard!

Lucky you, getting to see all that stuff! I did go to Glastonbury, but I was staying in Bath at the time and the buses were not regular, so we went through Wells, where we got a chance to see the cathedral with that breathtaking 15th century clock of the jousting knights, while waiting for the next Glastonbury bus. We got about two hours in Glastonbury before having to take the last bus back to Bath. So yes, I saw the monastery grounds, but that was it. I do remember reading somewhere that the mediaeval monks there decided to get in the tourists by creating the “graves” of Arthur and Guinevere. It worked, too!