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Cover Image: The Playboy of the Western World by SYNGE, John M.

The Playboy of the Western World

First edition, trade issue (there was also a limited edition of 25 copies).... more>>

Cover Image: Something Wicked This Way Comes by BRADBURY, Ray

Something Wicked This Way Comes

First edition. Fine in a very lightly rubbed, just about fine dustwrapper with... more>>

Cover Image: Slaughterhouse-Five by VONNEGUT, Kurt, Jr.

Slaughterhouse-Five

First edition. Fine in a modestly spine-toned, else crisp and near fine... more>>

Cover Image: The Dancing Bears by MERWIN, W.S.

The Dancing Bears

First edition. Fine in fine dustwrapper. A spectacular copy of Merwin's second... more>>

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This Week...

This week in literary history.

8 The Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus, better known to us today as Horace, died in Rome on November 27, 8 B.C. at age 56. Having no heirs, he left his farm to his friend, the Emperor Augustus (like HE really needed it?).

1667 Irish satirist Jonathan Swift, best remembered (and still read) today for his classic Gulliver's Travels was born in Dublin on November 30, 1667.

1757 One-of-a-kind poet and artist William Blake, whose self-printed books included Songs of Innocence and Jerusalem, was born in London on November 28, 1757.

1809 British actress and author Frances Anne Kemble was born in London on November 27, 1809. Her American husband, Pierce Butler, inherited plantations and several hundred slaves after their marriage, but she was appalled by slavery and disagreements about it contributed to the couple's eventual divorce in 1849. Her experience provided the material for her 1863 book Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839. She also published plays, poetry, and translations of other authors, and was the grandmother of novelist Owen Wister.

1811 Abolitionist and orator Wendell Phillips was born in Boston, Massachusetts on November 29, 1811. Because of his abolitionist beliefs, he refused to wear cotton or eat cane sugar, which were produced by slaves.

1817 German archeologist and historian Theodor Mommsen, often considered the greatest classicist of the 19th Century, was born in Garding on November 30, 1817. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1902, largely for his monumental Romische Geschichte. Though largely forgotten today, Mommsen has two Nobel laureate claims to fame: he was both the first born of all Literature laureates, and for over a century also the oldest person, at age 85, to receive the award for Literature (a title he held until Doris Lessing won the award at age 88 in 2007).

1832 Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832. At an early age she realized that her father, a Transcendentalist friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, was unable to provide for his family and financial concerns plagued her until the publication of her best known work, Little Women.

1835 The great American humorist and novelist Mark Twain, author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, was born in Florida, Missouri on November 30, 1835.

1859 Washington Irving, often referred to as "the first American man of letters" and still read today for his stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle," died in Tarrytown, New York at age 76 on November 28, 1859.

1874 Canadian author L.M. Montgomery, famous for her series which began with Anne of Green Gables, was born in Clifton (now New London), Prince Edward Island on November 30, 1874.

1874 British Prime Minister, historian, and Nobel Prize winner for Literature Winston S. Churchill was born in Blenheim Place, Woodstock, Oxfordshire on November 30, 1874. His works are not to be confused with those of the once-popular American author of the same name who was not, according to bibliographer Stanley Kunitz, a relation. Although best known as a statesman, Churchill's The Second World War and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples are both still highly regarded as works of historical literature.

1886 Mystery author Rex Stout was born in Noblesville, Indiana on December 1, 1886. He is best known for his fictional sleuth, the reclusive gourmand Nero Wolfe, who appeared in Fer-de-Lance and 45 additional works.

1895 French playwright Alexandre Dumas, best known for Camille, on which the Verdi opera was based, died in Marly-le-Roi at age 71 on November 27, 1895. Called Dumas fils, he is not to be confused with his identically named father, creator of The Three Musketeers.

1895 English novelist Henry Williamson was born in Bedfordshire on December 1, 1895. Among his many works were the four novel cycle The Flax of Dreams, the 15 novel series A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight, and probably his best known book, Tarka the Otter, which won the Hawthornden Prize.

1896 Satirical novelist Dawn Powell, author of A Time to Be Born and The Locusts Have No King, was born in Mount Gilead, Ohio on November 28, 1896.

1897 Australian novelist Helen Simpson was born in Sydney on December 1, 1897. She wrote in a wide variety of genres and two of her novels were adapted into films by Alfred Hitchcock.

1898 British author C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland on November 29, 1898. He is known to a wide variety of readers for his witty Christian apologetics (such as The Screwtape Letters), his science-fiction allegories (beginning with Out of the Silent Planet), and his enduring children's fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia.

1899 Prolific author and screenwriter W.R. Burnett was born in Springfield, Ohio on November 25, 1899. Among his best known novels were Little Caesar, High Sierra, and The Asphalt Jungle.

1900 Irish poet, dramatist, and wit Oscar Wilde, author of The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray, died in Paris on November 30, 1900 at age 46 of cerebral meningitis, having never fully recovered from his two years of imprisonment and hard labor for "gross indecency." During his final days he claimed, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go."

1906 Mystery writer John Dickson Carr, who also wrote as Carter Dickson, was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania on November 30, 1906. In addition to works such as his highly regarded first novel, It Walks by Night and the Queen's Quorum title The Department of Queer Complaints, he also co-wrote several Sherlock Holmes novels with the youngest son of Arthur Conan Doyle.

1907 Prolific science-fiction and fantasy author L. Sprague de Camp, among whose numerous works were Lest Darkness Fall (an early and influential alternate history novel) and Rogue Queen (the third book in his Viagens Interplanetarias series, which was important in the history of science fiction for breaking the genre's taboo on sexual themes), was born in New York City on November 27, 1907. During World War II, de Camp worked at the Philadelphia Naval Yard with fellow authors Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein.

1908 Mystery writer Harry Kemelman, famous for his Rabbi David Small series, was born in Boston, Massachusetts on November 24, 1908.

1909 James Agee, film critic and author of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and A Death in the Family, was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on November 27, 1909.

1918 Children's fantasy author Madeleine L'Engle, whose award-winning novels included A Wrinkle in Time and The Swiftly Tilting Planet, was born in New York City on November 29, 1918.

1922 Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 26, 1922.

1931 Children's book illustrator Ed Young, author/illustrator of the Caldecott Medal-winning book Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China, was born in Tianjin, China on November 28, 1931. When he was three his family moved to Shanghai, and in 1951 he came to the United States to study art.

1934 Southern writer Willie Morris, author of North Toward Home and My Dog Skip, was born on November 29, 1934 in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1967 Morris became the youngest editor of Harper's Magazine. When he was fired four years later, most of Morris's staff of editors and contributing editors walked out with him, including one David Halberstam.

1935 Comic writer and filmmaker Woody Allen, whose books include Play It Again, Sam, Without Feathers, and Side Effects, was born in New York City on December 1, 1935.

1950 Controversial novelist and Nobel laureate Johannes Jensen, considered the father of Danish modernism, died in Copenhagen at age 77 on November 25, 1950. Among his most notable works are The Fall of the King and The Long Journey.

1953 Playwright and Nobel laureate Eugene O'Neill died in Boston at age 65 on November 27, 1953 from advanced Parkinson's disease, which had plagued the last decade of his life. Among the many great works by this celebrated dramatist were Mourning Becomes Electra, Strange Interlude, The Iceman Cometh, and the autobiographical, posthumously produced Long Day's Journey Into Night.

1953 British novelist and short story writer T.F. Powys, author of Unclay and Mr. Weston's Good Wine, died on November 27, 1953 in Mappowder, Dorset at age 77. His literary family included his ancestor, the poet William Cowper, as well as his novelist brothers John Cowper Powys and Llewelyn Powys.

1953 Playboy Magazine, which has featured many notable authors, and more than a few notable figures over the years, was first published on December 1, 1953.

1959 Playwright, screenwriter, and Nobel laureate Harold Pinter's first book, his play The Birthday Party, was published on December 1, 1959.

1960 Children's book author Kevin Henkes, who won a Caldecott Medal for his 2005 book Kitten's First Full Moon, was born on November 27, 1960 in Racine, Wisconsin.

1960 African-American novelist and essayist Richard Wright, author of Uncle Tom's Children, Native Son, and Black Boy, died at age 52 on November 28, 1960 in Paris, where he had made his home since the 1940s.

1968 American novelist Upton Sinclair died in Bound Brook, New Jersey on November 25, 1968 at age 90. During the Second World War and afterwards his "World's End" series, following the adventures of his antifascist hero Lanny Budd, was extremely successful. Some questioned the literary merit of these popular novels, but the third in the series, Dragon's Teeth, won the Pulitzer Prize and George Bernard Shaw suggested future readers could use them to properly understand the 20th Century. His best known work, however, is his 1906 proletarian novel, The Jungle, the quintessential muckraking fiction. Sinclair hoped to expose abusive labor conditions, but the public was more interested in the unsanitary conditions of the Chicago stockyards and as a result the Food and Drug Act was passed.

1969 Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his 2006 play Rabbit Hole, was born on November 30, 1969 in Boston, Massachusetts.

1970 On November 25, 1970 Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima, whose works included Confessions of a Mask, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, and The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, took control of a military office in downtown Tokyo with four militant students, then committed suicide by seppuku.

1970 Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn, author of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Cancer Ward, and The Gulag Archipelago was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature on November 27, 1970, but he was unable to attend because he feared that if he left the Soviet Union he would not be able to return home. He was deported from his homeland four years later, and did not return to Russia until 1994.

1971 Maud Petersham, who with her husband Miska wrote and illustrated the Caldecott Medal-winning book The Rooster Crows, died in Woodstock, New York on November 29, 1971 at age 81.

1983 Welsh novelist Richard Llewellyn, best known for How Green Was My Valley, died in Dublin, Ireland on November, 30, 1983 at age 76.

1986 On November 26, 1986 The New Yorker published Susan Sontag's short story "The Way We Live Now," a key text of the AIDS epidemic.

1987 American writer James Baldwin, author of novels such as Go Tell it on the Mountain, essays such as Notes of a Native Son, and plays such as Blues for Mister Charlie, died of cancer in Saint-Paul de Vence, France, on November 30, 1987 at age 63.

1991 Popular African-American author Frank Yerby, died in Madrid, Spain at age 75 on November 29, 1991. Among his best known novels were The Foxes of the Harrow and The Man from Dahomey.

1998 African-American poet and novelist Margaret Walker, author of For My People and Jubilee, died in Chicago, Illinois on November 30, 1998 at age 83.

1999 Children's book author Elizabeth Janet Gray, who won a Newbery Award for her 1943 book Adam of the Road, died on November 27, 1999 at age 97. In addition to her writing, she was also a librarian and teacher, most famously as the private tutor of Japan's Emperor Akihoto when he was young.

2000 British novelist and critic Malcolm Bradbury, best known for his 1959 satirical first novel, Eating People Is Wrong, died on November 27, 2000 in Norwich at age 68.

2001 John Knowles, best known for his 1959 novel A Separate Peace, died in in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 29, 2001 at age 75.

2006 African-American novelist Bebe Moore Campbell died of brain cancer in Los Angeles, California on November 27, 2006 at age 56.

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