Important Literary Dates
From births, deaths, marriages and inventions, this month we look back at historical, interesting and important literary dates that have occurred in November.
Author day – A day to celebrate all authors and the work they create, the perfect important literary date to support your favourite author and buy their book.
1960 – Thirty years after his passing DH Lawrence is declared not guilty in a trial at the Old Bailey for his novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928). In 1960 this book was finally published in English but charges of obscenity were brought against the author’s estate and publisher Penguin Books. The novel was banned in Australia until 1965.
1793 – French playwright, journalist and feminist Olympe de Gouges is guillotined. A passionate political activist, through her plays Olympe (born Marie Gouze) championed causes such as road improvement, divorce, maternity hospitals, abolitionism, and the rights of orphaned children and unmarried mothers. She sided politically with the Girondins but after their fall she was arrested, sentenced in a mock trial and executed at age 45.
Waiting for Barbarians Day, based on the title of a book by South African writer J.M. Coetzee (now an Australian citizen) and a poem by Constantine P. Cavafy. See other titles by J.M. Coetzee on pages 18 and 59 of Dialogue.
1499 – The Catholicon is published. A tri-lingual dictionary in Breton, French and Latin, it was written in 1464 by priest Jehan Lagadeuc in Tréguie. Containing six-thousand entries, it is the first dictionary recorded in both Breton and French.
1996 – The film The English Patient, based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje, opens in Los Angeles. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche and Kristin Scott Thomas, the film went on to win Best Picture at the 1997 Academy Awards. Find The English Patient [B1370] on page 23 of Dialogue.
1942 – Helen Garner was born in Geelong, VIC. One of Australia’s most accomplished novelists, screenwriters and journalists, Garner’s works can be found on pages 16, 23, 43, 59, 63, 67 and 71 of Dialogue.
1900 – Margaret Mitchell was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Her romantic novel Gone with the Wind about the American Civil War topped the best seller lists when first published, and has been translated into 30 languages, with over 30 million copies printed. Gone with the Wind won a Pulitzer prize in 1937 and was Mitchell’s only published novel.
2004 – Stieg Larsson dies. The Swedish journalist wrote three crime novels, published posthumously in 2005. This Millennium Trilogy is credited with sparking the Nordic Noir craze in the West, a genre that remains popular today. You can find the first instalment of the Millennium Trilogy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [B2067] on page 67 of Dialogue.
2008 – The Slap [B2034] is published, the sixth novel from Australian author Christos Tsiolkas. It was adapted into a mini-series in Australia, and the US, and is one of four of Tsiolkas’s works that has been adapted for the screen. His seventh novel Barracuda [B2202] is available on page 5 of Dialogue.
1821 – Bicentenary of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s birthday. The Russian writer’s masterful body of work includes Crime and Punishment, cited by many as one of the greatest achievements in literature.
1880 – Best-selling American novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ by soldier and lawyer Lew Wallace (1827 – 1905) is published. It remained at the top of the US best-sellers list until 1935 when it was surpassed by Gone with the Wind. The 1959 film adaptation is considered one of the greatest films ever made and went on to win 11 Academy Awards.
1850 – Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. His best known works Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are still widely read and discussed today.
1851 – Moby-Dick, an epic novel by Herman Melville, is published in the USA. Its opening line “Call me Ishmael” is one of the most widely recognised openings in fiction, but the book was a commercial failure during Melville’s lifetime.
I Love to Write Day. All great authors have to start somewhere, and a love of writing is where it begins. From professionals to hobbyists, this day is one for all to celebrate their love of writing. You can find your passion for the craft with CAE’s range of writing and editing classes.
World Philosophy Day. Celebrate the thought leaders who introduce concepts of our world, culture, community and individuality. We have Consolations of Philosophy [B1635] (p. 17) Religion for Atheists [B2144] (p. 20) and Status Anxiety [B1845] (p. 21) by Alain de Botton in Dialogue. CAE also offers popular talks on Philosophy at our Melbourne campus and online.
1952 – Archaeologists report finding a 2,000-year-old mosaic floor at Circum, Cyprus, which depicts a scene from Homer’s Iliad. Dated to the 8th Century BC, The Iliad is considered to be one of the oldest texts in western civilisation, along with Homer’s other epic The Odyssey [B0335].
1939 – Margaret Atwood is born. The Canadian novelist, essayist and poet has more than 66 published works to her name. Atwood is also an inventor, debuting her LongPen in 2006 allowing users to write remotely in pen anywhere in the world via robotic hand. A multiple award-winning recipient, Atwood has also received honorary degrees from 25 Education institutions from around the world. Margaret’s Atwood’s work can be found on pages 6, 38, 40, 41, 42, 65 and 69 of Dialogue.
2007 – First Kindle e-reader released. The biggest technological disruption to the way literature is consumed in the 21st Century, e-readers became much copied. Up to 90 million Kindle units have been sold world-wide. Despite their popularity, e-readers have not taken over from the physical book industry, which continues to thrive.
1910 – Leo Tolstoy’s death. The Russian writer is considered one of the greatest of all time, and is the author of classics War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Tolstoy received nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906 and for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902, and 1909, but never won.
1694 – French philosopher and author born in Paris, named François-Marie Arouet, he adopts the pen name Voltaire, becoming well known internationally as an author of plays, poems, novels, essays, histories and scientific expositions. He wrote prolifically on the separation of Church and State, on freedom of speech and civil liberties.
1963 – Aldous Huxley dies. Huxley’s most famous work is the dystopian novel Brave New World (1932) but he wrote 50 books as well as numerous poems and essays. Brave New World [B2131] is available on page 36 of Dialogue.
1990 – Roald Dahl dies. Arguably one of the most famous children’s authors in the world, Dahl’s books have sold more than 250 Million copies worldwide. Favourite works of Dahl’s include James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, BFG and Fantastic Mr Fox have been adapted for stage and screen.
1961 – Arundhati Roy was born, Delhi-based author of The God of Small Things, which won the Man Booker prize in 1997 and went on to become the best-selling book by an non-expatriate author. The God of Small Things [B1559] is on page 45 of Dialogue.
1946 – Marc Brown was born. The American author, and illustrator is best known for creating children’s character Arthur, whose joyous quote was: “Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.”
1859 – The last instalment of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is published in literary periodical All the Year Round. Also published as a novel in 1859, it is one of Dickens’ best known works as well as one of the best-selling books of all time.
1895 – Alfred Nobel signs his last will and testament at the Swedish–Norwegian Club in Paris, dedicating his estate to found international prizes for excellence, later named in his honour after his death. This includes the Nobel Prize for literature.
1582 – William Shakespeare weds Anne Hathaway. Before becoming the literary genius we recognise today, 18-year-old Will married 26-year-old Hathaway in Stratford-on-Avon. He would have three children with her and a successful career in London.
1832 – Louisa May Alcott is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her most beloved book Little Women (1868) was based on her experiences growing up with her sisters and has been the inspiration for many stage, television and film adaptations.
1900 – Oscar Wilde’s death. Much quoted Irish author of the play The Importance of Being Earnest and his only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray became one of the most popular playwrights in London. Wilde courted controversy during his day, including his conviction that is recognised as one of the first celebrity trials. Well educated, he could speak French and German, and was also a poet and lecturer. Embedded in fashionable social circles, Wilde died tragically early at age 46 from meningitis. The Picture of Dorian Gray [B0112] can be found on page 39 of Dialogue.