LIT BITS V2 #183
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sun, 4 Jul 99 17:05:24 -0700
Subject: LIT BITS V2 #183
Excerpted-from: LITERARY CALENDAR V2 #183
Today is Sunday, 4 July 1999; on this day,
223 years ago (1776),
In the American colonies, The Declaration of Independence, written
mainly by Thomas Jefferson, is proclaimed. Aside from the political
significance of the document, it is "perhaps the most masterfully
written state paper of Western civilization."
195 years ago (1804),
Nathaniel Hawthorne is born in Salem Massachusetts, to a prominent
but decaying family. One of his ancestors, a judge in the Salem
witchcraft trials, becomes the model for the accursed founder of _The
House of the Seven Gables_. Hawthorne will often wonder whether the
decline of his family's fortune is a punishment for the sins of his
"sable-cloaked steeple-crowned progenitors."
173 years ago (1826),
On the only birthday either claimed to celebrate--the 50th
anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. Declaration of
Independence--its author, Thomas Jefferson, dies at Monticello the
same day that his onetime political adversary John Adams dies in
154 years ago (1845),
Henry David Thoreau begins his 26-month stay at Walden Pond: "I
went to the woods because I wished to . . . see if I could not learn
what it [life] had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover
that I had not lived."
144 years ago (1855),
Walt Whitman, 36, publishes _Leaves of Grass_ at his own expense.
The book does not sell.
137 years ago (1862),
On a picnic, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson tells the story of what
happened to a girl named Alice after she fell down the rabbit hole.
Ten-year-old Alice Liddell, the model for the heroine, insists that
he write it down. He does so and adopts the pen name Lewis Carroll to
publish _Alice's Adventures in Wonderland_.
68 years ago (1931),
On his father's birthday James Joyce and Nora Barnacle legalize
their 26-year common-law marriage at the Kensington Registry Office
in London. The event makes the front pages.
23 years ago (1976),
Antoni Slonimski, Polish poet, translator, and newspaper columnist
best known for his devotion to pacifism and social justice, dies in
18 years ago (1981),
On the 155th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson's death, Dumas
Malone, aged 89 and nearly blind, publishes _The Sage of Monticello_,
the sixth and final volume of his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of
© 1999 Peter Langston