April 23, 2014
"For we which now behold these present days,
Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise."

  - William Shakespeare “Sonnet 106”

It’s the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare, who is traditionally believed to have been born on this date in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.

He left behind no personal papers, so our knowledge of his life comes to us from public and court documents. His father, John, was a glove-maker and alderman, and his mother, Mary Arden, was a landed heiress. The baptismal register of the Church of the Holy Trinity in the Shakespeares’ parish shows an entry on Wednesday, April 26, that reads, “Gulielmus filius Johannes Shakespeare.”

Babies were traditionally baptized on the first Sunday or holy feast day after their birth. The Feast of St. Mark was on April 25, and although normally that would have been Shakespeare’s baptismal day, it was also considered an unlucky day, and that may be why the child was baptized the following day instead.

Shakespeare wrote 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and several epic narrative poems. 

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, he coined 3,000 new words, and he has contributed more phrases and sayings to the English language than any other individual. Shakespeare gave us such commonly used phrases as “a fool’s paradise,” “dead as a doornail,” “Greek to me,” “come what may,” “eaten out of house and home,” “forever and a day,” “heart’s content,” “love is blind,” “night owl,” “wild goose chase,” and “into thin air.”

April 15, 2014

It’s the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, born Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, in Vinci, Italy in 1452.

He is known for his art - including the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, two of the most famous paintings in the world - but he left fewer than 30 paintings when he died, and most of those were unfinished.

He was a perfectionist and procrastinator, having worked on the Mona Lisa on and off for the last 15 years of his life. The Last Supper was likely only finished because his patron threatened to cut off his money.

He spent much of his time drawing up plans for inventions like the submarine, the helicopter, the armored tank, and even the alarm clock, none of which came to fruition in his lifetime.

Remaining today are at least 6,000 pages of his drawings and notes on everything from astronomy to anatomy — mostly written backward, decipherable only in a mirror.

When he died, he apologized “to God and Man for leaving so much undone.”

March 30, 2014
It’s the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, born in Zundert, Holland March 30, 1853. Many people think he was French because his painting fame comes from his time there.
He is known for his sunflowers, starry nights and Impressionism - and because he cut at his ear and committed suicide at the age of 37.
His brother Theo was an art dealer, and for years he had supplied Van Gogh with a small monthly stipend; in return, Van Gogh gave his brother every canvas he painted.
He wrote thousands of letters to Theo. In one letter he wrote:
 “How much sadness there is in life. The right thing is to work.”
He moved to a small town north of Paris and painted feverishly until some kind of insanity overtook him.
Two days before he died, he wrote:
 “I feel a failure. That’s it as far as I’m concerned — I feel that this is the destiny that I accept, that will never change.” 
writersalmanac.publicradio.org

It’s the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, born in Zundert, Holland March 30, 1853. Many people think he was French because his painting fame comes from his time there.

He is known for his sunflowers, starry nights and Impressionism - and because he cut at his ear and committed suicide at the age of 37.

His brother Theo was an art dealer, and for years he had supplied Van Gogh with a small monthly stipend; in return, Van Gogh gave his brother every canvas he painted.

He wrote thousands of letters to Theo. In one letter he wrote:

“How much sadness there is in life. The right thing is to work.”

He moved to a small town north of Paris and painted feverishly until some kind of insanity overtook him.

Two days before he died, he wrote:

“I feel a failure. That’s it as far as I’m concerned — I feel that this is the destiny that I accept, that will never change.”

writersalmanac.publicradio.org

(Source: tennanti)

February 25, 2014
It’s the birthday of George Harrison, born in Liverpool, England, in 1943.
He was the youngest of the Beatles and he joined the band when he was only 14. In the early days, he was crowded out of the limelight by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and he was only granted two tracks on an album.

When the band split in 1970, he finally recorded and released songs that had been unused - he had enough material for the triple album, All Things Must Pass .His memoir, I Me Mine (also the title of a Beatles’ song he wrote), was published in 1980, and is dedicated “to gardeners everywhere.” George became know more for his guitar playing, interest in spirituality and support of causes, most famously evidenced by his Concert for Bangladesh.
He died of cancer in 2001.

It’s the birthday of George Harrison, born in Liverpool, England, in 1943.

He was the youngest of the Beatles and he joined the band when he was only 14. In the early days, he was crowded out of the limelight by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and he was only granted two tracks on an album.

When the band split in 1970, he finally recorded and released songs that had been unused - he had enough material for the triple album, All Things Must Pass .

His memoir, I Me Mine (also the title of a Beatles’ song he wrote), was published in 1980, and is dedicated “to gardeners everywhere.” George became know more for his guitar playing, interest in spirituality and support of causes, most famously evidenced by his Concert for Bangladesh.

He died of cancer in 2001.

January 28, 2014
"Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it."

Colette(born Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette), author of more than 50 novels, the best known being Gigi. When she died in 1954 at 81 years old, she was the first woman in the history of France to be given a state funeral — 6,000 people filed by her casket and covered it in flowers.

8:20am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Zv4pby15i8LWV
  
Filed under: colette gigi author birthday 
January 25, 2014
It’s the birthday of Virginia Woolf, born Virginia Stephen in London, England (1882).
After the death of both her parents, she moved with her siblings into the unfashionable — and cheap — neighborhood of Bloomsbury, which soon became the literary and intellectual center of England.
Woolf’s brother hosted evening meetings that came to include D.H. Lawrence, T.S. Eliot, Aldous Huxley, and others.

Woolf suffered most of her life from bouts of depression, and one doctor prescribed long walks as a remedy. It was on these walks that she conceived of many of her novels, including Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927). These novels employed a new brand of stream of consciousness, distinct from James Joyce and others.
via http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org

It’s the birthday of Virginia Woolf, born Virginia Stephen in London, England (1882).

After the death of both her parents, she moved with her siblings into the unfashionable — and cheap — neighborhood of Bloomsbury, which soon became the literary and intellectual center of England.

Woolf’s brother hosted evening meetings that came to include D.H. Lawrence, T.S. Eliot, Aldous Huxley, and others.

Woolf suffered most of her life from bouts of depression, and one doctor prescribed long walks as a remedy. It was on these walks that she conceived of many of her novels, including Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927). These novels employed a new brand of stream of consciousness, distinct from James Joyce and others.

via http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org

(Source: jamesbeaudreau)

January 25, 2014
To the LighthouseToday, her birthday, but I remember sadness -
stones in her overcoat, into the river,writing “that…View Post

To the Lighthouse

Today, her birthday, but I remember sadness -
stones in her overcoat, into the river,
writing “that…

View Post

January 19, 2014
Poe http://wp.me/s4ctFT-poeView Post

Poe http://wp.me/s4ctFT-poe

View Post

December 30, 2013
"I always prefer to believe the best of everybody. It saves so much trouble."

—  December 30 is the birthday of (Joseph) Rudyard Kipling, born in Bombay, India in 1865. He is best known for his books Kim (1901) and The Jungle Book (1894).

December 16, 2013
"A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of."

Jane Austen

whose birthday is today, 12/16, born in the village of Steventon, Hampshire, England in 1775, the seventh of eight children and the second daughter.

Her first published work was Sense and Sensibility, in 1811. She was widely read in her lifetime  (Pride and Prejudice; Emma; Persuasion) but published all her books as “A Lady,” rather than giving her name.

Her health began to decline in 1816, and she died in 1817, possibly of Addison’s disease, lymphoma, or — as has recently been suggested — arsenic poisoning.

Five decades later, her nephew published A Memoir of Jane Austen (1869), which generated widespread interest in his aunt and led to the reprinting of her novels. It touched off a sort of mania for Jane Austen in the 1880s, known as “Austenolatry.” But it wasn’t until the 1940s — more than 100 years after she died — that Austen’s work became the focus of substantial academic scholarship.

8:25pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Zv4pby11QuibS
  
Filed under: jane austen birthday 
November 28, 2013
"The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself."

Today is the birthday of someone who never celebrated Thanksgiving. Poet and artist WILLIAM BLAKE was born in London in 1757).

He started seeing visions when he was a young boy — God in the window, angels in trees.

He apprenticed to an engraver, and spent his life as a little-known printmaker and poet.

Blake set up an exhibition of his art in his brother’s shop and called it “Poetical and Historical Inventions.” He left the show up for a year, but not many people attended, and not a single piece of art was sold.


Though famous today, he died in poverty in 1827, at the age of 69. In the 30 years after publishing his Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience, fewer than 20 copies had sold.

An 1863 book, Life of William Blake was published  quoted many of Blake’s poems, and included his illustrations and was hugely popular, and for the first time, Blake was considered a major English poet.

November 9, 2013
"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."

Carl Sagan



Born November 9, 1934, this birthday boy, astronomer, astrophysicist, and author attributes his success in the sciences to the fact that his parents introduced him “simultaneously to skepticism and to wonder.”

He was born in Brooklyn, 79 years ago today.

October 27, 2013
"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

When Dylan Thomas went on his fourth reading tour of the United States in 1953, he was deep into his alcoholism. He was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning just as the tour began and told his doctor, “I’ve had 18 straight whiskeys. I think that’s the record.”

He died a few days later. One of his last poems is “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” - a poem in the villanelle form about the death of his father.

Dylan Marlais Thomas was born on October 27, 1914, in South Wales at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in Swansea.

The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas: The Original Edition

full poem and audio of Thomas’ dramatic reading style

October 20, 2013
It was so thoughtful of Google to change the Doodle on its home page for my birthday today!
Okay, they do it for any Google+ user on their birthday, but still…

It was so thoughtful of Google to change the Doodle on its home page for my birthday today!

Okay, they do it for any Google+ user on their birthday, but still…

October 20, 2013
"one last bee buzzing
on this birthday afternoon -
we can feel autumn"

— KR

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