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Cover Image: Your Place Is Empty by TYLER, Anne

Your Place Is Empty

First edition. Fine in fine, original unprinted glassine wrapper (not shown in... more>>

Cover Image: This I Remember by ROOSEVELT, Eleanor

This I Remember

First edition. Spine label a trifle toned, else fine in very good or better... more>>

Cover Image: Poems by PINTER, Harold


First edition. Quarter red morocco and black cloth. Fine. Errata slip laid in.... more>>

Cover Image: Anecdotes of the Late War by OLSON, Charles

Anecdotes of the Late War

First edition. Broadside, folded into stiff card covers as issued. A little... more>>

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This Week...

This week in literary history.

1375 Italian poet Giovanni Boccaccio, author of The Decameron, died on December 21, 1375 in Certaldo, Tuscany at age 62.

1819 Sir Walter Scott's popular historical novel Ivanhoe was published on December 18, 1819. Scott was so intent on keeping his authorship anonymous that he had a contractual clause with his publisher that they would be held to a 2000 pound penalty if his name were revealed.

1823 The Troy, New York Sentinel published "A Visit From St. Nicholas" anonymously on December 23, 1823. Although other authors have been cited, the famous holiday poem which begins "'Twas the night before Christmas..." is almost universally attributed to Clement C. Moore, a professor of Oriental, Greek, and Hebrew literature.

1832 American poet, polemicist, sea captain, and newspaper editor Philip Freneau, sometimes called the "Poet of the American Revolution," died near Freehold, New Jersey on December 19, 1832 at age 80 - he froze to death while trying to return home. Among his many works, his poem "The House of Night" is one of America's first romantic poems, while his "The Wild Honey Suckle" from 1786 is a precursor to the Transcendentalist movement.

1848 English novelist Emily Bronte died, one year after the publication of her only novel Wuthering Heights, on December 19, 1848 in Haworth, Yorkshire. She caught a cold at her brother's funeral in September 1848 and died suddenly of tuberculosis a few months later at age 30.

1849 Novelist James Lane Allen, remembered for A Kentucky Cardinal and other works, was born near Lexington, Kentucky on December 21, 1849.

1851 On December 24, 1851 a fire in the Library of Congress destroyed more than half of the volumes in the Library including two-thirds of Thomas Jefferson's book collection, which he had sold to the Library back in 1814 (essentially at cost) to replace the original Library which burned (inside the Capitol Building) during the War of 1812.

1855 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, died in London on December 18, 1855 at age 92. 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."

1863 William Makepeace Thackeray, author of Vanity Fair, died in London of a stroke at age 52 on December 24, 1863. Allegedly his funeral was attended by as many as seven thousand people, but we discount rumors that Elton John sang.

1869 American poet Edwin Arlington Robinson, who thrice won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, was born in Head Tide, Lincoln County, Maine on December 22, 1869.

1870 Master short story writer and satirist Hector Hugh Munro, better known by his pen name, Saki, was born in Akyab, Burma on December 18, 1870, the son and grandson of British officials. Initially he followed his father into the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, but after contracting malaria he resigned and lived in Britain. When WWI broke out, although officially over-age, he joined the royal army as an ordinary soldier (needless to say he had to keep his homosexuality a secret) and repeatedly distinguished himself on the battlefield until he was killed by a German sniper at age 45. Munro's cousin Dornford Yates was also a prolific and successful author.

1875 British novelist and short story writer T.F. Powys, author of Unclay and Mr. Weston's Good Wine, was born in Shirley, Derbyshire on December 20, 1875. His literary family included his ancestor, the poet William Cowper, as well as his novelist brothers John Cowper Powys and Llewelyn Powys.

1880 Victorian novelist Mary Ann Evans, better known by her pen name George Eliot, died in London on December 22, 1880 at age 61 of a kidney ailment. Her works included Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, and Silas Marner.

1881 Spanish poet and Nobel laureate Juan Ramon Jimenez, author of "Stone and Sky," Pastorales, and the popular prose story Platero and I, was born in Moguer on December 24, 1881.

1890 The screenwriter and playwright Frances Goodrich was born in Belleville, New Jersey on December 21, 1890. In collaboration with her husband Albert Hackett, she wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning play The Diary of Anne Frank, and the screenplays for many successful movies, including The Thin Man and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

1901 Anthropologist and fiction author Oliver La Farge, whose first novel, Laughing Boy, won the Pulitzer Prize, was born in New York City on December 19, 1901.

1905 British novelist and satirist Anthony Powell, known for his 12-volume series of novels A Dance to the Music of Time, was born in London on December 21, 1905.

1905 American poet, painter, and translator Kenneth Rexroth was born in South Bend, Indiana on December 22, 1905. Famous for championing the beat movement (though he objected to being labeled a beat poet), he led an unusual life which included a teenage jail sentence for owning a brothel, and a bigamous marriage which was cut short when one wife left him for the poet Robert Creeley.

1907 American humorist and journalist H. Allen Smith was born in McLeansboro, Illinois on December 19, 1907. The title of his book Low Man on a Totem Pole became a popular catchphrase, and his several other humor books included Lost in the Horse Latitudes (about his time as a Hollywood screenwriter) and Rhubarb, about a cat that inherits a professional baseball team.

1908 Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh, known for his portraits of famous 20th Century figures, most notably Winston Churchill, was born in Mardin, Turkey on December 23, 1908.

1910 Veteran comedy writer and composer Abe Burrows was born in New York City on December 18, 1910. Although at one time he had his own radio program, today Burrows is best remembered for his plays, including his marvelous musical adapation of Damon Runyon's Guys and Dolls and the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (both with frequent collaborator Frank Loesser). He was also a mentor to a younger generation of comedy writers, notably Larry Gelbart and his own distant cousin, Woody Allen.

1910 French petty criminal and social outcast turned writer Jean Genet, an important novelist and leading figure of avant-garde theater, was born in Paris on December 19, 1910.

1911 Hortense Calisher, whose novels included False Entry, The New Yorkers, and Queenie, was born in New York City on December 20, 1911.

1913 Science-fiction author Alfred Bester, whose 1953 novel The Demolished Man, a police procedural set in the future, won the first Hugo Award, was born in New York City on December 18, 1913.

1914 Alfred Henry Lewis, an Ohio native, lawyer, and reporter who moved to the West and became the author of the Wolfville stories set in an Arizona frontier town, died on December 23, 1914 in Manhattan of an intestinal disorder.

1916 British author Penelope Fitzgerald, daughter of Punch editor Edmund Knox and niece of Biblical translator and mystery author Ronald Knox, was born in Lincoln, England on December 17, 1916. She wrote biographies, detective fiction, and literary novels such as The Bookshop and the Booker Prize-winning Offshore.

1917 German author and Nobel laureate Heinrich Boll, whose novels include The Train Was on Time, The Clown, and Group Portrait with Lady, was born in Cologne on December 21, 1917.

1927 American postmodern novelist David Markson, whose works included Springer's Progress, Reader's Block, and his final book, The Last Novel, was born in Albany, New York on December 20, 1927. Although he began publishing in the 1950s, he was not widely known or read until the 1988 publication of his masterpiece, Wittgenstein's Mistress, when he was 60 years old.

1928 Irish author Eve Bunting, best known for her young adult works and children's books, including the Caldecott Medal-winning Smoky Night, was born in Maghera on December 19, 1928.

1929 Mystery author Warren Kiefer was born in Paterson, New Jersey on December 18, 1929. His 1973 book The Lingala Code won an Edgar Award for Best Mystery Novel. Kiefer may or may not be the same Warren Kiefer who is a screenwriter and director and after whom the actor Kiefer Sutherland is named. Sources differ on this point - the director's real name is supposedly Lorenzo Sabatini while the author's father's surname was Birck and his mother's maiden name was Kiefer. Frankly, we ourselves are entirely confused by the whole matter.

1929 American playwright and screenwriter Howard Sackler was born in New York City on December 19, 1929. He is best known for his Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning 1967 play The Great White Hope, and for the 1970 film adaptation, which he also scripted. James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander starred in both the stage and screen versions.

1931 American poet and novelist Walter Abish, whose works include Alphabetical Africa, Eclipse Fever, and the PEN/Faulkner Award-winning How German Is It?, was born in Vienna, Austria on December 24, 1931.

1940 American novelist F. Scott Fitgerald died in Hollywood, California of a heart attack at age 44 on December 21, 1940. Among his works were This Side of Paradise, Tender Is the Night, and his short masterpiece The Great Gatsby.

1940 American satirist Nathanael West, author of Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust, was killed in an auto accident near El Centro, California on December 22, 1940 at age 37.

1943 Children's author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, died in Sawrey, Cumbria, England on December 22, 1943 at age 77. 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.

1947 American journalist and mystery writer Frederick Irving Anderson, author of The Notorious Sophie Lang and The Book of Murder, died at age 70 on December 24, 1947.

1954 English novelist James Hilton, author of Lost Horizon and Good-bye, Mr. Chips, died in Los Angeles, California on December 20, 1954 at age 54 of liver cancer.

1961 American playwright Moss Hart, among whose many successes were You Can't Take It With You, The Man Who Came to Dinner, and My Fair Lady, died in Palm Springs, California at age 57 on December 20, 1961.

1964 Photographer, novelist, and critic Carl Van Vechten, whose novel Nigger Heaven was controversial despite the fact that he was an important supporter of Harlem Renaissance writers, died on December 21, 1964 in New York City at the age of 84.

1967 American musician and author Paul Harding, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning debut novel Tinkers, was born on December 19, 1967.

1968 American Nobel laureate John Steinbeck, whose novels included Of Mice and Men, Tortilla Flat, East of Eden, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Grapes of Wrath, died on December 20, 1968 of heart failure in New York City at age 66.

1972 Mystery writer Antonio Helu, creator of the detective Maximo Roldan and author of the Queen's Quorum selection The Compulsion to Murder, died on December 20, 1972 in Mexico City at age 72.

1980 American playwright Marc Connelly, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Green Pastures and for his several comic collaborations with George S. Kaufman, died in New York City on December 21, 1980, a week after his 90th birthday.

1989 The English writer Stella Gibbons, best known for her first novel Cold Comfort Farm, died in London on December 19, 1989 at age 87.

1989 Irish author, critic, and Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett, whose works included Murphy, Watt, Molly, Endgame, and his most famous play, Waiting for Godot, died in Paris on December 22, 1989 at age 83 of respiratory failure.

1995 Crime novelist Ross Thomas, author of two Edgar Award-winners, The Cold War Swap and Briarpatch, died of lung cancer in Santa Monica, California on December 18, 1995 at age 69. Some of his novels were published under the name Oliver Bleeck.

1997 English-born American poet Denise Levertov died in Seattle, Washington on December 20, 1997 of complications from lymphoma at age 74. Her career had gotten off to an auspicious start when she was twelve and sent some of her poems to T.S. Eliot - he replied with a two-page letter of encouragement.

2011 Czech playwright, political dissident, and the first President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel died in Hradecek on December 18, 2011 at age 75.



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