Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This Week in Reading November 30 - December 6

Anniversaries abound this week. Charlemagne and Napoleon became rulers of France, the Encyclopedia Britannica and the Los Angeles Times began, the Monroe Doctrine was spelled out, and the westward “Manifest Destiny” of the country was declared. One country attacked another, and a draft began for another war. The prohibition on alcohol ended but a prohibition on speech led to a student movement for freer speech. Charles Dickens began to get paid for his speeches as he became a world traveler to read publicly from his works.

Some extremely well known authors were born this week, several of them having a great deal to do with satire. First there was Jonathan Swift, and later Mark Twain. Then came Woody Allen, Calvin Trillin, T. Coraghessan Boyle, and sometimes David Mamet.

Novelist Joseph Conrad did not write comedy, nor did Joan Didion nor Peter Handke but they, and story writer Cornell Woolrich, along with poets Ranier Maria Rilke and Christina Rossetti all reached powerful levels of anxiety in readers. Other well known names include Winston Churchill, poet Joyce Kilmer and the oft quoted Kahlil Gibran. There is also another early Nobel prizewinner, the lesser known classicist Theodore Mommsen who won in 1902.

This Week’s Question: Quotes from authors this particular week could fill a volume by itself but here are just two. Which authors born this week said these?

Why shouldn’t truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.

Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.

Answer to Last Week’s Question: The term illuminated generally refers to the Medieval practice of decorating manuscript pages with gilded lettering and small illustrations interspersed with the text. Bringing the practice back to the modern world, poet – artist – visionary William Blake invented relief etching, a reverse of the usual process, and added illustrations, which had to be hand colored, to create illuminated books of his poetry. Noted among them are Songs of Innocence and Experience and The Book of Job. Original editions are prized among collectors and special libraries.

No comments:

Search the Book Talk archives!