Thursday, January 29, 2009

This Week in Reading January 22 - 31

There are so many Literary Names of Note This Week it would be hard to write about any without ignoring the others. (And while we try to list all Nobel winners in the literary category, there are too many Pulitizer prizewinners to enumerate regularly. Many American novelists and historians written about in these posts have won at least one or have been nominated for that and other well known awards.)

Nobel Prize in Literature: Romain Rolland, (1915), Derek Walcott, (1992). Kenzaburo Oe (1994).

Novelists and story writers: Stendhal, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, W. S. Maugham, Colette, John O’Hara, Norman Mailer, Richard Brautigan, Mordecai Richler, Michael Dorris.

Poets and Playwrights: Lord Byron, Robert Burns, William Congreve, Beaumarchais, August Strindberg, Anton Chekhov, Paddy Chayevsky.

Thinkers, Essayists, Historians: Francis Bacon, Thomas Paine, Barbara Tuchman, Thomas Merton.

Mystery / Crime / Suspense Writers: Joseph Wambaugh, James Grippando.

Fantasy / Science Fiction Writers: E. T. A. Hoffmann, Philip Jose Farmer, Walter M. Miller, Lloyd Alexander.

Other Genre Writers: Zane Grey (westerns).

Children’s Authors: Lewis Carroll.

And Events to read about – The beginnings of the Library of Congress, birthdays of D. W. Griffith, William Randolph Hearst, Edouard Manet, Jackson Pollock, and others, as always.

This Week’s Question: Two of this week’s authors, and one of last week’s, were known by one name, in both cases a pen name. Sometimes a single name is used by the public out a habit of familiarity or because it's easier than saying the whole name, sometimes one declares it for oneself. What is the rhetorical word used to describe a person known by a single name?

Answer to Last Week’s Question: a) Edgar Allan Poe created a character named C. Auguste Dupin who was not part of law enforcement. In fact, the word ‘detective’ had not yet been coined. Dupin used what Poe called “ractiocination” to deduce what was on criminal minds in stories such as “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Purloined Letter.” Poe’s character inspired several later fictional detectives such as Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot.; b) The practice of kidnapping and drugging a person to cast votes in various precincts was called ‘cooping.’; c) Though she shares Poe's birthday, and though she was nominated three times, critically acclaimed mystery writer Patricia Highsmith never actually won an Edgar award.

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