Baroness Emmuska (Emma) Orczy, the author of The Scarlet Pimpernel, was born on September 23, 1865. Her parents were the composer Baron Felix Orczy de Orczi and Countess Emma Wass von Szentegyed und Czege.
And interesting fact about Baroness Orczy is that in World War One she founded England’s Active Service League. Members pledged, “to persuade every man I know to offer his services to the country, and I also pledge myself never to be seen in public with any man who, being in every way fit and free for service, has refused to respond to his country’s call.”
While the organization fell short of its goal of enlisting 100,000 women, 20,000 women joined the cause.
Yesterday NPR interviewed Salman Rushdie about his new memoir, Joseph Anton. In the book Rushdie talks about the experience of living in hiding after a fatwa was issued calling for the death of the author and anyone associated with the book’s publication.
Where does the title come from? In the interview Rushdie states:
“The police asked me to come up with a pseudonym, partly because I needed to rent properties and so on, and obviously couldn’t do it in my own name,” he says. “And I was asked to make it not an Indian name. And so, deprived of one nationality, I retreated into literature — which is, you could say, my other country — and chose this name from the first names of Conrad and Chekhov: Joseph Conrad, Anton Chekhov equals Joseph Anton.”
The interview is fascinating. Rushdie draws parallels between his situation and Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds. Not only that, he suggests that his experience might have been a sort of foretelling of the 9/11 attacks.
Moby Dick Big Read is an innovative website. Every day the site features a chapter of Moby Dick read by a different celebrity. The chapters are accompanied by images from the world of complementary art. Fun!! The site started releasing just this week so head on over today.
Agatha Christie was born on September 15, 1890 and passed away on January 12, 1976. She’s popular today for her mystery novels featuring detectives like Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. What you may not know is that she wrote six novels using the pen name of Mary Westmacott.
The Westmacott novels are typically classified as romance novels. Are they really romance novels though? Judge for yourself as you read the descriptions below.
Absent in the Spring: Stranded between trains, Joan Scudamore finds herself reflecting upon her life, her family, and finally coming to grips with the uncomfortable truths about her life.
Giant’s Bread: The story of Vernon Deyre, a composer and pianist whose obsession with art wreaks havoc with the two very different women in his life.
The Rose and the Yew Tree: In one of the finest explorations of the human heart, the compelling story of a deep and abiding love, the conflicts it encompasses, and the price that must be paid.
A Daughter’s Daughter: A daughter’s opposition to her mother’s plan to remarry threatens to destroy their relationship
Unfinished Portrait: Bereft of three people she has held most dear, Cecilla must decide if she has the strength to come to terms with the past.
The Burden: The burden of one sister’s love for her younger sister–whom she’s sworn to protect–has a dramatic effect on both their lives.
One of my Twitter followers alerted me to upcoming publication of this book. The Great Charles Dickens Scandal by Professor Michael Slater addresses Dickens’ affair with Ellen Ternan.
Charles Dickens was regarded as a pillar of respectability in Victorian Britain, but in 1858 this image was nearly shattered. With the break-up of his marriage that year, rumours about a scandalous relationship he may have conducted with young actress Ellen “Nelly” Ternan flourished. For the remaining twelve years of his life, Dickens struggled to quash the gossip. After his death, surviving family members did the same. But when the author’s last living son died in 1934, there was no one to discourage rampant speculation. Dramatic revelations seemed to come from every corner – over Nellie’s role as Dickens’ mistress, the financial help he gave her, their clandestine meetings, their coded messages, and even his fathering of an illegitimate child with her. This book presents the most complete account of the scandal and ensuing coverup ever published. Drawing on the author’s letters and other archival sources not previously available, Dickens scholar Michael Slater investigates what Dickens did or may have done, then traces the way the scandal was elaborated over succeeding generations. Slater shows how various writers concocted outlandish yet plausible theories while newspapers and book publishers vied for sensational revelations. With its tale of intrigue and a cast of well-known figures from Thackeray and Shaw to Orwell and Edmund Wilson, this engaging book will delight not only Dickens fans but also readers who appreciate tales of mystery, cover-up, and clever detection.
If you have a quote from classic literature that you’d like to add to the LitQuotes site, check out our quotation submission page. In the meantime here’s a sample of today’s new quotes:
“There is such a thing as looking through a person’s eyes into the heart, and learning more of the height, and breadth, and depth of another’s soul in one hour than it might take you a lifetime to discover, if he or she were not disposed to reveal it, or if you had not the sense to understand it.” ~ The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
Two serendipitous things happened recently. I tweeted the following quote today and got a lot of retweets. I’ve also been noticing a lot of quote photos on Facebook. I took it as a sign to make the first LitQuotes quote photo.