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Cover Image: Baseballogy by COOKE, Edmund Vance


First edition. Pictorial paper over boards. Fine in fine dustwrapper. An... more>>

Cover Image: Charlotte's Web by WHITE, E.B.

Charlotte's Web

First edition. Pictures by Garth Williams. Fine in a just about fine... more>>

Cover Image: The Member of the Wedding by McCULLERS, Carson

The Member of the Wedding

First edition. Fine in fine dustwrapper with a nominally faded spine, but much... more>>

Cover Image: Amphigorey Also by GOREY, Edward

Amphigorey Also

First edition. Fine in pictorial papercovered boards, without dustwrapper. One... more>>

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This Week...

This week in literary history.

1763 English poet Samuel Rogers, who was acclaimed during his lifetime but whose work has long-since been eclipsed by his contemporaries (and friends) William Wordsworth, Walter Scott, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Lord Byron, was born at Newington Green, London, on July 30, 1763. He was the son of a prominent banker and used his wealth to aid several impecunious fellow writers, but he also had a bitter wit and the British actress and author Fanny Kemble observed of Rogers that "He certainly had the kindest heart and unkindest tongue of any one I ever knew."

1771 English poet and scholar Thomas Gray, the only one of twelve children to survive infancy, died in Cambridge, England on July 30, 1771 at age 54. Gray attended Eton with Horace Walpole of The Castle of Otranto fame. Best known for Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, Gray was offered the post of Poet Laureate in 1757 which he declined.

1805 French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville, most famous for his Democracy in America, the first classic commentary on American government written by a foreigner, was born in Verneuil-sur-Seine on July 29, 1805.

1815 American lawyer and politician, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., author of Two Years Before the Mast, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on August 1, 1815.

1818 English novelist Emily Bronte, author of Wuthering Heights, was born in Thornton, Yorkshire on July 30, 1818.

1819 Herman Melville, best known for Moby-Dick, possibly the first great American novel, was born in New York City on August 1, 1819. While living at Arrowhead, his farm in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Melville befriended Nathaniel Hawthorne who inspired him intellectually and indeed Moby-Dick is dedicated to Hawthorne.

1824 French playwright Alexandre Dumas, best known for Camille, on which the Verdi opera was based, was born in Paris. Called Dumas fils, he is not to be confused with his identically named father, creator of The Three Musketeers.

1835 Italian poet and Nobel laureate Giosue Carducci was born near Lucca.

1856 Dramatist and critic George Bernard Shaw, author of numerous plays including Pygmalion, Man and Superman, and Saint Joan, was born in Dublin. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1925; he accepted the award but refused the accompanying monetary prize.

1866 Children's author and illustrator Beatrix Potter was born in South Kensington, London. Her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, was rejected by six publishers in 1901 and she decided to publish it herself. Within two years, after a commercial publisher finally got wise to a good thing and reissued it, over 50,000 copies had been sold.

1869 American novelist Booth Tarkington, author of the classic boyhood adventure, Penrod, as well as the Pulitzer Prize winners The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 29, 1869.

1870 Essayist and poet Hilaire Belloc, particularly remembered for his light verse for children, was born in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France on July 27, 1870. The product of a distinguished Anglo-French family (including his older sister, the mystery writer Marie Belloc-Lowndes), he became a naturalized British subject and then a member of Parliament.

1877 Naturalist, explorer, and author William Beebe was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 29, 1877. Beebe was a pioneer of deep-sea submersibles and narratives of his adventures were popular sellers. His second wife was American romance novelist Elswyth Thane.

1891 African-American historian and politician George Washington Williams, who wrote the first history of African-Americans, The History of the Negro Race in America 1619-1880, died from tuberculosis and pleurisy in Blackpool, England on August 2, 1891 at age 41.

1900 Swedish novelist Eyvind Johnson, author of Return to Ithaca and The Days of His Grace, was born near Boden, above the Arctic Circle, on July 29, 1900. He shared the 1974 Nobel Prize for Literature with fellow Swede Harry Martinson which brought about some controversy as both were on the Nobel panel. Ironically, Johnson was responsible for thwarting Isak Dinesen's bid for a Nobel Prize in 1959, when he successfully argued that Italian Salvatore Quasimodo should win due to the fact that Scandinavian authors had won the prize too often.

1905 American poet Stanley Kunitz was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on July 29, 1905. He was twice selected as Poet Laurete, in 1974 and again in 2000. His Selected Poems: 1928-1958 was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and his collection Passing Through: The Later Poems won the National Book Award in 1995.

1908 Long-time New Yorker author Joseph Mitchell, whose books included McSorley's Wonderful Saloon and Joe Gould's Secret, was born in Iona, North Carolina on July 27, 1908.

1909 English novelist Malcolm Lowry, best known for Under the Volcano, was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire.

1909 American author Chester Himes was born in Jefferson City, Missouri on July 29, 1909. Himes spent almost six years in prison which ironically spared him from the worst of the Great Depression. He worked at Pulitzer Prize winner Louis Bromfield's Malabar Farm and Bromfield tried, unsuccessfully, to help Himes publish his first novel. Himes is also well known for his Harlem Detective series.

1918 American novelist Mary Lee Settle, author of the Beulah Quintet and Blood Tie, which won the National Book Award in 1978, was born in Charleston, West Virginia on July 29, 1918. In 1980, she founded the PEN/Faulkner Award which has become one of the top three national fiction awards.

1918 American novelist Edwin O'Connor, author of The Last Hurrah (based on Boston Mayor James Curley) and his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Edge of Sadness, was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 29, 1918.

1918 American poet Joyce Kilmer, best remembered for "Trees" (I think that I shall never see / A poem lovely as a tree...), was shot by a sniper in Seringes, France, on July 30, 1918 while serving as a sergeant in the infantry during WWI. He was 31 years old.

1919 Chemist, concentration camp survivor, and author Primo Levi, whose books included If This is a Man, Survival in Auschwitz and The Periodic Table, was born in Turin, Italy on July 31, 1919.

1919 Prolific British novelist Stanley Middleton, whose 1974 novel Holiday won the Booker Prize, was born in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire on August 1, 1919.

1924 American novelist and essayist William Gass was born in Fargo, North Dakota on July 30, 1924. Best known for his controversial novel The Tunnel, Gass has received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism three times.

1926 British writer and humorist Israel Zangwill, author of several noted novels, plays, and mystery works such as The Big Bow Mystery, one of the very first locked room mysteries, and The Melting Pot, which popularized the phrase describing the vast mixture of immigrants in America, died in Midhurst, West Sussex on August 1, 1926 at age 62.

1928 Welsh novelist and screenwriter Bernice Rubens, whose works included Madame Sousatzka, A Solitary Grief, and the Booker Prize-winning The Elected Member, was born in Cardiff.

1929 British author Lynne Reid Banks was born in London on July 31, 1929. She is the author of the exceedingly popular Indian in the Cupboard series as well as the adult novel The L-Shaped Room which was made into a film in 1962. The film earned Leslie Caron an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

1930 Mystery writer Mildred Davis, author of They Buried a Man and the Edgar-winning The Room Upstairs, was born.

1942 Chilean novelist Isabel Allende, author of The House of the Spirits and The Stories of Eva Luna, was born in Lima, Peru on August 2, 1942.

1944 Aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery's plane disappeared during a reconnaissance mission off the coast of Marseille. The wreckage of his Lockheed F-5B was found in 2000 and eventually identified in 2004. Saint-Exupery is best known for The Little Prince and several fine books for adults most notably Night Flight and Wind, Sand and Stars. He died near Marseille, France on July 31, 1944 at age 44.

1946 American expatriate writer Gertrude Stein, famous both for her own writings (such as The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas) and her nurturing of the "Lost Generation" of writers in Paris, died there of stomach cancer at age 72.

1948 American Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Susan Glaspell, dramatist and co-founder of the Provincetown Players, died in Provincetown, Massachusetts on July 27, 1948 at age 72.

1954 Beloved children's author Sharon Creech was born in South Euclid, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, on July 29, 1954. Walk Two Moons was a Newbery Medal winner in 1995. Other popular works include the novel Ruby Holler and Love That Dog, a picture book for younger kids.

1954 William Faulkner's novel of the First World War, A Fable, the first book to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, was published on August 2, 1954. The day by day outline for the plot of the novel is still scribbled on one of the walls of his home Rowan Oak which is now preserved as a museum by the University of Mississippi.

1955 American poet Wallace Stevens, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his Collected Poems in 1955 died of stomach cancer in Hartford, Connecticut on August 2, 1955 at age 75. Stevens also won the National Book Award twice, in 1951 and 1955.

1959 Travel writer and novelist William T. Vollmann, author of You Bright and Risen Angels and The Ice Shirt, was born in Los Angeles.

1963 American poet, Theodore Roethke, died on August 1, 1963 when he suffered a heart attack while swimming in a friend's pool on Bainbridge Island, Washington. He was 55 when he died. His book The Waking won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

1963 Anthropologist and fiction author Oliver La Farge, whose first novel, Laughing Boy, won the Pulitzer Prize, died in Santa Fe, New Mexico on August 2, 1963 at age 61.

1965 British author J.K. Rowling was born in Yate, Gloucestershire on July 31, 1965. She is the author of the phenomenally successful Harry Potter series which spawned an equally successful film franchise.

1975 Science fiction writer, James Blish died on July 30, 1975 in Henley-on-Thames, England at age 54. Blish died of lung cancer and ironically worked for the Tobacco Institute for six years in the 1960s. Winner of the 1959 Hugo Award for his novel A Case of Conscience, Blish was best known for his authorized short stories based on the popular Star Trek television series.

1981 American playwright, screenwriter and novelist, Paddy Chayefsky, died on August 1, 1981 in New York City at age 58. He won Academy Awards for three of his screenplays: Marty (1955), The Hospital (1971) and Network (1976). His final screenplay was for Altered States (1980) which was based on his novel, but he had numerous disagreements with director Ken Russell and ultimately used the name Sidney Aaron in the credits. Paddy Chayefsky was born Sidney Aaron Chayefsky and gained his nickname while serving in the Army during World War II where he also earned a Purple Heart.

1986 Mystery writer Stanley Ellin, whose novel The Eighth Circle won the last of his three Edgar Awards, died in Brooklyn at age 69 on July 31, 1986. Several of his short stories provided the basis for Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes and three of his novels were made into feature films.

1999 Southern writer Willie Morris, author of North Toward Home and My Dog Skip, died of a heart attack in his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, on August 2, 1999 at age 64. 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.

2000 American novelist and longtime New Yorker editor William Maxwell died on July 31, 2000 at age 91.

2001 Elizabeth Yates, best known for Amos Fortune, Free Man which won the Newbery Award in 1951, died in Concord, New Hampshire on July 29, 2001 at the age of 95.

2012 Writer Gore Vidal, whose many novels include Williwaw, The City and the Pillar, Lincoln, and Myra Breckenridge, and whose plays include Visit to a Small Planet and The Best Man, died of complications from pneumonia in Hollywood Hills, California on July 31, 2012.



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