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The Late November Author Birthday Cavalcade!!!

SIX! Yes, there are 6 authors with birthdays on the 29th and 30th of November! So what am I waiting for???

C.S. Lewis

November 29, 1898 – November 22, 1963

Most Famous Work: The Chronicles of Narnia series

Fun Facts (thanks, Wikipedia):

  • He was born in Belfast, Ireland
  • His full name is Clive Staples Lewis, but his friends and family called him Jack. Why Jack, you ask? “At the age of four, shortly after his dog Jacksie was killed by a car, Lewis announced that his name was now Jacksie. At first he would answer to no other name, but later accepted Jack, the name by which he was known to friends and family for the rest of his life.”
  • “As a boy, Lewis had a fascination with anthropomorphic animals, falling in love with Beatrix Potter’s stories and often writing and illustrating his own animal stories. He and his brother Warnie together created the world of Boxen, inhabited and run by animals.” Foreshadowing of things to come in Narnia!
  • “As a teenager, he was wonderstruck by the songs and legends of what he called Northernness, the ancient literature of Scandinavia preserved in the Icelandic sagas. These legends intensified an inner longing he later called ‘joy’.”
  • Though raised in the church, he became an atheist as a teenager and remained that way for a good chunk of his life. Yet, with some encouragement from J. R. R. Tolkien he began to reexamine Christianity, and eventually came to faith again, penning many well-known Christian theology books
  • “Media coverage of his death was minimal, as he died on 22 November 1963 – the same day that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the same day another famous author, Aldous Huxley, died.”

As he’s one of my favorites, you can read more about him in my entry on him and Tolkien, and the one on The Inklings!

Madeleine L’Engle

November 29, 1918 – September 6, 2007

Most Famous Work: A Wrinkle in Time

Fun Facts (thanks, Wikipedia):

  • “L’Engle wrote her first story at age five, and began keeping a journal at age eight...A shy, clumsy child, she was branded as stupid by some of her teachers. Unable to please them, she retreated into her own world of books and writing.” Sad childhood, but it translated into some beautiful stories.
  • “[A Wrinkle in Time was] completed…by 1960, but more than two dozen publishers rejected the story before Farrar, Straus and Giroux finally published it in 1962.”

Louisa May Alcott

November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888

Most Famous Work: Little Women

Fun Facts (thanks, Wikipedia):

  • “Alcott’s early education included lessons from the naturalist Henry David Thoreau. She received the majority of her schooling from her father. She received some instruction also from writers and educators such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Fuller, who were all family friends.”
  • Meg, Jo, Beth & Amy, the sisters in Little Women were based off stories of her life with her four sisters, with Jo based on Louisa herself.
  • “As an adult, Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist. In 1847, the family housed a fugitive slave for one week.”
  • “Alcott died of a stroke in Boston, on March 6, 1888, at age 55, two days after visiting her father’s deathbed. Her last words were ‘Is it not meningitis?’ ” (more unusual last words here.)

Lucy Maud Montgomery

November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942

Most Famous Work: Anne of Green Gables

Fun Facts (thanks, Wikipedia):

  • Her mother passed away when she was only 21 months old, and overwhelmed with grief, her father sent her off to live with her maternal grandparents, who raised her strictly and severely. “Despite having relations nearby, much of her childhood was spent alone. Montgomery credits this time of her life, in which she created many imaginary friends and worlds to cope with her loneliness, as what developed her creative mind.”
  • “Despite the fact that Montgomery published over twenty books, “she never felt she achieved her one ‘great’ book.” Her readership, however, has always found her characters and stories to be among the best in fiction. Mark Twain said Montgomery’s Anne was ‘the dearest and most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice.’ “
  • “During her lifetime, Montgomery published 20 novels, over 500 short stories, an autobiography, and a book of poetry. Aware of her fame, by 1920 Montgomery began editing and recopying her journals, presenting her life as she wanted it remembered. In doing so certain episodes were changed or omitted.”

Jonathan Swift

November 30, 1667 – October 19, 1745

Most Famous Works: Gulliver’s Travels and A Modest Proposal

Fun Facts (thanks, Wikipedia):

  • Swift originally published all of his works under pseudonyms—such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier—or anonymously.
  • In February 1702, Swift received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity College, Dublin (I’ve visited there, and I didn’t know this!)
  • Gullivers Travels reflects Swift’s view on politics of the time, which he depicts in certain actions of various characters and governments
  • I (Christina) read A Modest Proposal in high school English lit. It’s a well-known satire he wrote in 1729, suggesting that the Irish engage in baby cannibalism to solve starvation and population increase problems at the same time. o_O

Mark Twain

November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910

Most Famous Works: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Fun Facts (thanks, Wikipedia):

  • Mark Twain was just his pen name. He was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens
  • As a child he was a printer’s apprentice and when he was a teenager he was a typesetter for a local newspaper
  • He started training as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi. “While training, [he] convinced his younger brother Henry to work with him. Henry was killed on June 21, 1858, when the steamboat on which he was working, the Pennsylvania, exploded. Twain had foreseen this death in a dream a month earlier, which inspired his interest in parapsychology…Twain was guilt-stricken and held himself responsible for the rest of his life.”
  • His nextdoor neighbor in Hartford, CT was Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Ernest Hemmingway once said in an essay, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

Happy Birthday to all, and to all a good December 1st!

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