Authors Who Made History, Around the Globe

Usually the #authorstory post focusses on a single author for a subject. Today, I’m bringing you my brief exploratory notes of a range of authors/writers of varying genres and styles from ‘around the Globe’ and in no particular order(!)

Typically, I begin preparing to write by doing some reading research, often using the date as my starting point – i.e. presenting an author on their birth or death anniversary. Today, by the way, is the 403rd anniversary of the original Globe Theatre (established by Shakespeare et al) being destroyed by fire, started accidentally by a theatrical cannon during a performance of Henry V on 29 June 1613. If you’ve not read them yet, Rashmi wrote a great post about Shakespeare for a previous ‘Authors Who Made History’ post  and Wandering Soul  offered us some fantastic writing prompts for  400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth celebration (note to self to return to these).

29th June brought up an array of writers to explore whom were either born or died on this date – yet the only two already familiar to me were award-winning comic-book writer and illustrator, Don Rosa, (born 29 June, 1951 and best-known for his ‘Scrooge McDuck’ works) and best-selling author of historical/’junk fiction’, Irving Wallace (born 16 March, 1916; died 29th June, 1990). You can find a taster preview of Wallace’s novel ‘The Miracle’ to gain a flavour of his writing style if you’ve never read any of his work. Both these creators just happen to be American… so I was keen to fly round the world’s other potential subjects I might choose to write about today:

French-born aviator/writer/poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is perhaps most well-known for his story ‘The Little Prince’. He was born this day in 1900 and disappeared during an unarmed reconnaissance mission flight in July 1944. His biography is quite fascinating and I would have enjoyed researching his work a little further to write more than the limitations of my whistle-stop tour allow…

Famous for his free-adaptation of Daniel Defoe’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’ in a work titled ‘Robinson the Younger’ (translated) is 18th century German writer Joachim Heinrich Campe; today is the 270th anniversary of his birth (1746, died 1818). Campe is apparently a leading educator of his time writing several pedagogical texts for children and youth audiences; he was also a linguist and a prominent figure during the German Enlightenment.

I was quite taken with this quote from controversial Italian author(ess) Oriana Fallaci (b.1929, d.2006): ” … I have always looked on disobedience toward the oppressive as the only way to use the miracle of having been born.”

A number of authors born today are famous for their writings in their homeland countries and other parts of Europe, but little known in England and as yet many untranslated to English, have none the less caught my attention:

Zsigmond Móricz, (b.1879, d.1942) is listed as ‘a major Hungarian novelist and Social Realist’ drawing upon the experience of peasantry.

Polish-born dramatist/cartoon-writer Sławomir Mrożek (1930-2013) and the Turkish-born female writer Sevim Burak (193-1983) could also provide interesting reading and challenging research…

Perhaps you prefer reading poetry?

Giacomo Leopardi was an Italian poet born this day in 1798 (d.1837) and a selection of translated poems are available at the Gutenberg project. He was also an essayist and philosopher and cited as “…widely acknowledged to be one of the most radical and challenging thinkers of the 19th century.”

Popular  and influential poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning, born on 6 March 1806 in Durham, England, died on this day in 1861, in Florence, Italy. There are plentiful online resources freely available to encounter her writing, including several files archived at the Gutenberg Project.

Dermot Healy is a well-known contemporary Irish writer and poet, born in 1947 and died 29 June 2014. He received several awards for his writing. A few of Healy’s poems are available to read at PoemHunter – I particularly enjoyed ‘The No-Tree’.

Michael Madhusudan Dutt (also known as Dutta) was a popular Bengal poet and playwright who became famous for being ‘a pioneer of Bengali drama’. Born in 1824, he died this day in 1873. He was the first Bengali dramatist to construct his plays in the English style, is known as ‘the father of the Bengali sonnet’ and ‘a pioneer of Amitrakshar chhanda (blank verse)’. Dutt was heavily influenced by European literature and the works of Byron, Homer, Dante and others. I have yet to find English translations of his work, although they appear to exist but an academic essay  referring to Dutt’s poetry was enlightening (written by Md. Eftekhar Uddin).

Back to contemporary times with ‘cartoons’ and ‘comic’-style creators: Happy Birthday to popular Japanese Manga writer/artist, Yoko Kamio, (b.1966).

As you can see, if you arrived this far down the page, I made a few detours along the way of producing this melting-pot mixture (article). I hope you found something to enjoy and explore following on from my journey and perhaps you have something to reflect on or add in discussion?

One quick quote to close, from a favourite of mine, the famous author Douglas Adams,though nothing much to do with 29th June, but of whom I might have made the subject of this post, if only I could find a way to support any potential claim that he ‘made history’: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” (Source: I can’t remember but re-found at my search result with google here).

Thanks for reading 🙂

#authorstory #weekly