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Hans Christian Andersen (1805 – 1875)

April 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Author Information 

Hans Christian AndersenHans Christian Andersen was born on April 2 in 1805.  He died on August 4, 1875.  His fairy tales, such as The Little Mermaid and  The Little Match Girl, have inspired movies, plays and ballets.

Here are five quick facts about the author that you may not know:

1 – He was born in Odense, Denmark.  His father was a shoemaker and his mother worked as a washerwoman.

2 – Andersen’s father set the stage for his son’s love of literature by reading him Arabian Nights.

3 – Hans Christian Anderson was not lucky in love.  Jenny Lind, the opera singer, was the most famous of his unrequited loves.

4 – In the spring of 1872, Andersen fell out of his bed and was injured.  He never fully recovered. Soon after he started to have signs of liver cancer.  He died on August 4, 1875 in a house near Copenhagen.

5 – An early fairy tale by Andersen called The Tallow Candle was discovered in a Danish archive in October 2012. The story, written in the 1820s, was about a candle who did not feel appreciated. Its existence was unknown for close to two centuries.

Andersen’s fairy tales include:

  • The Angel
  • The Bell
  • The Emperor’s New Clothes
  • The Fir-Tree
  • The Galoshes of Fortune
  • The Happy Family
  • The Ice-Maiden
  • It’s Quite True!
  • The Little Match Girl
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Little Tuck
  • The Most Incredible Thing
  • The Nightingale
  • The Old House
  • The Princess and the Pea
  • The Red Shoes
  • Sandman
  • The Shadow
  • The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep
  • The Snow Queen
  • The Steadfast Tin Soldier
  • The Story of a Mother
  • The Swineherd
  • Thumbelina
  • The Tinderbox
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • The Wild Swans

Lucy Maud Montgomery 1874 – 1942

November 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, was born on November 30th 1874.

Montgomery’s life seems like a dark version of Anne’s adventures.  Clara Montgomery, Lucy’s mother, died when Lucy was just 21 months old.  Lucy was raised by her maternal Grandparents who were very strict.

Montgomery had many suitors, but in the end married Ewen Macdonald, a Presbyterian minister.  It was not a story-book life.  One of their children was stillborn.  Montgomery struggled with the demanding roles of mother and and clergyman’s wife.  There were lawsuits with publishers.  Additionally, Montgomery’s husband suffered from mental illness.  It may have all been too much for for her.

Lucy Maud Montgomery died in 1942.  At the time it was reported that she’d passed from heart failure.  In 2008 her granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler,  revealed that Montgomery may have taken her own life.   The evidence was a  note found on Montgomery’s bedside the day that she died.

This copy is unfinished and never will be. It is in a terrible state because I made it when I had begun to suffer my terrible breakdown of 1940. It must end here. If any publishers wish to publish extracts from it under the terms of my will they must stop here. The tenth volume can never be copied and must not be made public during my lifetime. Parts of it are too terrible and would hurt people. I have lost my mind by spells and I do not dare think what I may do in those spells. May God forgive me and I hope everyone else will forgive me even if they cannot understand. My position is too awful to endure and nobody realizes it. What an end to a life in which I tried always to do my best.

Some people believe that the note was part of a journal entry and that Montgomery did not commit suicide.  The fact is that we’ll never for sure what happened.  All that is certain is that we owe Lucy Maud Montgomery a debt of gratitude for the joy that she’s brought into all our lives.

“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?” ~  Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Books in the Anne of Green Gables Series

Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Avonlea
Anne of the Island
Anne of Windy Poplars
Anne’s House of Dreams
Anne of Ingleside
Rainbow Valley
Rilla of Ingleside
The Blythes Are Quoted

Books in the Emily Trilogy

Emily of New Moon
Emily Climbs
Emily’s Quest

Pat of Silver Bush Books

Pat of Silver Bush
Mistress Pat

The Story Girl Books

The Story Girl
The Golden Road

Other Books

Kilmeny of the Orchard
The Blue Castle
Magic for Marigold
A Tangled Web
Jane of Lantern Hill

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Lucy Maud Montgomery, you’ll enjoy Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings.

Five Interesting Facts about Bram Stoker (1847 – 1912)

November 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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Bram Stoker 1906Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula,  was born on November 8, 1847 and died on April 20, 1912.  Here are five quick facts about the author that you may not know:

1 – Although we may think of Stoker as being English, he was actually born in Clontarf, Ireland.  (Clontarf is a suburb of Dublin.)

2 – He was a sickly child and was bedridden for much of his first seven years.   However Stoker thrived after that.  He grew to be over six feet tall.  His red hair plus athletic build lead a biographer to refer to Stoker as a “red-haired giant.”

3 – An early romantic interest of Oscar Wilde was Florence Balcombe.  She eventually became the wife of Bram Stoker.

4 – Stoker was a late bloomer in terms of his writing career.  He didn’t publish Dracula until he was fifty years old.

5 – Speaking of Dracula, in the 1980s the original manuscript of the novel was found in a barn in Pennsylvania.  It revealed that Stoker considered calling the novel THE UN-DEAD.  I don’t know about you, but I like Dracula better.

Quotations by Bram Stoker

Novels by Bram Stoker

  • The Primrose Path
  • The Snake’s Pass
  • The Watter’s Mou’
  • The Shoulder of Shasta
  • Dracula
  • Miss Betty
  • The Mystery of the Sea
  • The Jewel of Seven Stars
  • The Man (a.k.a. The Gates of Life)
  • Lady Athlyne
  • The Lady of the Shroud
  • The Lair of the White Worm (a.k.a. The Garden of Evil)

 

10 Interesting Facts About Oscar Wilde

October 23, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Author Information 

Oscar Wilde


What you Probably Know

Oscar Wilde was an Irish author, playwright and poet. He’s remembered for his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray as well was other works. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s.  He was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin.  He died on November 30, 1900 in Paris.

 What you May Not Know
  1. His full name was Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde.
  2. His father, William Wilde, was an acclaimed doctor.  He was knighted for his work as medical adviser for the Irish censuses.  William Wilde founded St. Mark’s Ophthalmic Hospital to treat the city’s poor.
  3. An early romantic interest of Oscar Wilde was Florence Balcombe.  She eventually became the wife of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.
  4. In 1882 Wilde began a lecture tour of North America. The subject was Aestheticism, a movement that celebrated beauty and art.   During the tour Wilde meet with some of the leading American literary figures of the day, including Henry Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Walt Whitman.
  5. Wilde  married Constance Lloyd on May 29, 1884.  The couple had two sons, Cyril and Vyvyan.
  6. In 1891 Wilde met Lord Alfred Douglas.   They became lovers.  Alfred’s father was  John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry.  The elder Douglas did not approve of his son’s relationship.  Feuding between John Douglas and Wilde eventually led to Wilde being convicted of “gross indecency” for homosexual acts.  Wilde was sentenced to  two years of hard labor.
  7. Despite Wilde’s preference for men and the social scandal caused by his trial and imprisonment, Wilde and his wife never divorced.  However Constance did change her and her sons’ last name to Holland.
  8. After his release from prison in 1897 Wilde left England and  moved to France.  He stayed there until his death.
  9. Wilde wrote plays and short stories, but only one novel.  His only novel is The Picture of Dorian Gray.
  10. Wilde died of meningitis on November 30, 1900. He was only 46 years old.

Novel by Oscar Wilde

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

Partial List of Short Stories by Oscar Wilde

  • Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories (1891) Including The Canterville Ghost first published in periodical form in 1887.

Partial List of Plays by Oscar Wilde

  • The Duchess of Padua (1883)
  • Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892)
  • A Woman of No Importance (1893)
  • An Ideal Husband (1895)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)

Quotes by Oscar Wilde

Baroness Emmuska Orczy

September 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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Baroness Emma OrczyBaroness 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.

Charles Dickens and Captain Murderer!

October 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Charles Dickens 

Charles Dickens Are you ready for a gruesome Halloween tale featuring Charles Dickens?  Then head on over to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s site to learn about Charles Dickens, the Supernatural and Captain Murderer.

While our partner site, Charles Dickens Info, touches on Captain Murder the article from HSP provides more chilling details of the vile villain.

The young woman who brought me acquainted with Captain Murderer had a fiendish enjoyment of my terrors, and used to begin, I remember – as a sort of introductory overture – by clawing the air with both hands, and uttering a long low hollow groan. So acutely did I suffer from this ceremony in combination with this infernal Captain, that I sometimes used to plead I thought I was hardly strong enough and old enough to hear the story again just yet. The Uncommercial Traveller – Nurse’s Stories by Charles Dickens

If you haven’t heard about The Uncommercial Traveler, here’s the scoop.  In 1859 Dickens founded a new journal called All the Year Round.  The Uncommercial Traveller articles by Dickens appeared in that journal.  Seventeen Uncommercial Traveller articles were printed in All the Year Round in 1860.  Dickens wrote eleven more articles between 1863 and 1865.  A few more were written between 1868 and 1869.

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