Tag: author birthdays

5 Facts about the Wild Life of Colette

This January, in 1873, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, known as her pen name Colette, was born. Colette was known for her scandalous love life, her prolific career that includes eighty works (Gigi being her most famous work), and just generally doing whatever she wanted. Here are some facts about her amazing life to celebrate her 148th birthday.

 

1.  Her first husband took credit for her early works

Image courtesy of History Extra

In 1893, Colette married Henry Gauthier-Villars, pen named Willy and moved to Paris. Willy was a writer, critic, and publisher, and introduced her to a Parisian society of artists and writers. While she was sick, Willy suggested to Colette that she write stories about her childhood with even more scandalous details. Colette did, and this became her Claudine series. Willy then published the books under his own name. The couple seperated and officially divorced in 1910.

 

2. She Worked as a Music Hall Performer

Image courtesy of complete france

After divorcing her husband, Colette was left practically penniless. She found herself work in music halls across France, training as a dancer and a mime. She wrote about this in her novel The Vagabond, “What else could I do? Needlework, typing, streetwalking? Music hall is a profession for those who never learned one.” While performing in music halls, Colette continued to write fiction and struggled financially.

 

3. She was Bisexual 

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Colette’s love life has always caused scandal. While her three marriages and divorces (along with her affair with her teenage stepson) were fodder for gossip, it was her romantic relationships with other women that truly caused people to raise their eyebrows. Her most famous affair was with the niece of Napoleon the III, Mathilde “Missy” de Morny. They were together from 1906 to 1910, and were open about it until 1907, when they shared an onstage kiss that almost caused people to riot. Missy was also a controversial figure, exclusively wearing male clothes in a time where it was illegal for women to wear trousers in Paris.

 

4. She was a journalist

Image courtesy of The Guardian

Colette may have been known for her novels and short stories, but she was also a journalist and reported on the first world war, and topics not often talked about in her day such as sexuality, eating disorders, and domestic violence.

 

5. She was given a state funeral 

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Colette’s health was poor her entire life, but in her later years she was ill with arthritis and rarely left her house. Her husband Maurice cared for her. She died on August 3rd, 1954 at the age of 81. She was the first woman in France to have recieved the honor of a state funeral.

Featured image courtesy of complete france

10 Quotes to Celebrate Jacob Grimm’s Birthday

Jacob Grimm, half of the literary duo ‘The Brothers Grimm,’ was born on January 4th, 1785. He is best known for his work on Grimm’s Fairy Tales, but was also a philologist and jurist and discovered Grimm’s law of linguistics along with being the author and co-author of works such as Deutsches Wörterbuch and Deutsche Mythologie.

In honor of what would be his 236th birthday, here are some of the folklorist’s best quotes.

Image Via Amazon

“The true poet, is like a man who’s happy anywhere, in endless measure, if he’s allowed to look at leaves and grass, to see the sun rise and set.”
~ Jacob Grimm

“Then her envious heart had peace, as much as an envious heart can have.”
~ Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales

“You are mine, and I am yours, and no one in the world can alter that.”
~ Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales

Image Via Pinterest

“I’m Death, and I make sure that everyone is equal.”
~ Jacob Grimm

“How often when we are comfortable, we begin to long for something new! ”
~ Jacob Grimm

“Love is like death, it must come to us all, but to each his own unique way and time, sometimes it will be avoided, but never can it be cheated, and never will it be forgotten.”
~ Jacob Grimm

“The Frog Prince” Image Via Pinterest

“Don’t trust somebody who can’t trust you”
~ Jacob Grimm

“Evil is also not anything small or close to home, and not the worst; otherwise one could grow accustomed to it.”
~ Jacob Grimm

Image Via Pinterest

“In olden times, when wishing still helped…”
~ Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales

“My love for her is so great, that if all the leaves on all the trees were tongues, they could not declare it.”
~ Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales

image

Happy Birthday, Hans Christian Andersen!

Today is the birthday of Hans Cristian Andersen, the famous Danish writer who is best remembered for his fairytales. Happy birthday, Andersen! If Andersen were alive, he would be turning 215 years old! Through the years, he has remained known as a prolific writer of plays, novels, poems, and more. Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark and was an only child. His father considered himself related to nobility, but these speculations have since been questioned. His father was the one who introduced him to literature, but he died during Andersen’s childhood. He was left with his mother, an illiterate washerwoman, and her new husband. Andersen went on to receive a rudimentary education but soon moved into a working apprenticeship to support himself. He moved to Copenhagen where he became an actor until his voice’s pitch lowered, and he was no longer wanted. When a fellow actor told him he considered him a poet, Andersen took it seriously and began to pursue writing.

The Complete Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen - Complete Collection (Illustrated and Annotated) (Literary Classics Collection Book 18) by [Andersen, Hans Christian]
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Soon, Andersen was beginning his journey in writing that would grant him long-lasting success. This success, of course, wasn’t immediate. His first stories were met with some recognition, but it wasn’t until 1833 that he received a grant to travel across Europe. Yet, even then, the quality of his fairytales was not recognized. His first attempts were re-tellings of tales that he had heard as a child. His original works were first released in 1835, but they were met with poor sales. He persisted throughout the next ten years and experienced a breakthrough in 1845 when his work, “The Little Mermaid,” was translated. Andersen’s work after this was eagerly received. He would continue to publish fairytales until his death.

 

Hans Christian Andersen is one of the reasons our literary world is able to be filled with such wonder. Without his persistence throughout his career, many of our childhood tales would evaporate; true magic, more real than that of any fairytale, would have never been able to shine its light on readers for centuries.

Enjoying Bookstr? Get more by joining our email list!

Bookstr is community supported. If you enjoy Bookstr’s articles, quizzes, graphics and videos, please join our Patreon to support our writers and creators or donate to our Paypal and help Bookstr to keep supporting the book loving community.
Become a Patron!

 

116 Years of Dr. Seuss

Whether you learned about environmentalism for the first time with The Lorax or enjoyed a day in with The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss has impacted children for generations. From the publication of his first children’s book And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street in 1937, it was clear that Dr. Seuss was going to be a mainstay in children’s literature. Seuss’ birthday is one of the biggest birthday celebrations in schools and libraries across the country. For those who are out of school, these lesser-known Dr. Seuss facts are not likely to be celebrated at the kids section of your local library.

 

Why Seuss Added the Doctor

See the source image

image via all that’s interesting

By now, most people know that Dr. Seuss was a pen name for Theodore Seuss Giesel. Giesel began using the name Seuss while he was in college, but didn’t add the doctor until later. His father had always wanted him to be a medical doctor, but Seuss clearly knew that wouldn’t happen. Rather than let his father down completely, Dr. Seuss became one of the most famous doctors of the past hundred years, whether or not he practiced medicine.

Dr. Seuss’ Dad might be even more interesting

See the source image

image via HarperCollins uk

Even though Giesel’s father wanted him to become a man of medicine, he had his own unique career path. Giesel’s father was a professional beer brewmaster and was also a competitive marksman. Because of Prohibition, Seuss’ father had to change career paths pretty quickly. Maybe this is why he wanted his son to be in a more steady profession.

 

Political Statements in Doctor Seuss (or not)

See the source image

image via Ez learning

Lots of Dr. Seuss books are clearly political, from the environmental messages in The Lorax to the anti-fascist antics of Yertle the Turtle.  The famous line “a person’s a person, no matter how small” from Horton Hears a Who! has been used to support some controversial political causes.  Although this line was originally intended to help young readers understand that all people are important, the quote was used by a variety of pro-life groups to support their views. Dr. Seuss never made any statements about his stance of pro-life vs pro-choice, but he did threaten to sue one anti-abortion group for using the phrase on their letterhead. Seuss and his wife Audrey have both expressed that they don’t appreciate when famous Seuss quotes are taken out of context to support causes that they were never intended to support.

Seuss is Not the Only Pseudonym

See the source image

image via blogspot

In addition to publishing more than sixty books under the name Dr. Seuss, Giesel also published a number of books under the name Theo LeSieg. His famous book Ten Apples Up On Top was not originally a Dr. Seuss book because it was published under a Theo LeSieg, even though now the book bares the name Dr. Seuss. In 1975, Giesel even wrote a book called Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo! under the name Rosetta Stone.

 

Even Dr. Seuss Had His Fun!

See the source image

image via blogspot

While attending Dartmouth, Seuss was editor-in-chief of their humor magazine Jack-O-Lantern. Not unlike many other rowdy college students, Seuss and his friends were caught drinking in their dorm room one night, which got him kicked off the publication. Now, that might seem like a harsh punishment for a few beers, but Prohibition was still in effect when Seuss was in college. Giesel got his the best of them as he kept contributing to the publication under the name Seuss.

Work during World War II

image via brain pickings

Even if Giesel was too old to be drafted for the second world war, he certainly was working hard. In the early 1940s, he started as a cartoonist for PM, a magazine produced in New York. Giesel made over 400 cartoons for the newspaper, most of them propaganda. In 1942, he began working for the US Army in their documentary film division. One of the films he wrote, Your Job in Germany, was even directed by Frank Capra (the same guy who directed It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington).

 

Seuss’ More Salacious Side

See the source image

Image via random house

Dr. Seuss, ever the pessimist about the publishing industry, wanted to make sure that his editors were paying attention. Apparently, Seuss used to slip in dirty images or swear words into his first drafts to keep everyone on their toes. Giesel even published a book called The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts of America’s Barest Family, which featured many nude drawings to illustrate the text. After its initial failure, as Seuss’ fame grew it was republished in 1987.

Featured image via Crushing Krisis

 

Enjoying Bookstr? Get more by joining our email list!

Bookstr is community supported. If you enjoy Bookstr’s articles, quizzes, graphics and videos, please join our Patreon to support our writers and creators or donate to our Paypal and help Bookstr to keep supporting the book loving community.
Become a Patron!

 

Brooklyn Museum to Celebrate Toni Morrison on her 89th Birthday

Following her death on August 5, 2019, the world has felt the absence of literary legend Toni Morrison. Known for being a leading novelist in writing about the black experience in America, Morrison remains one of the most renowned American authors. On today, what would have been her eighty-ninth birthday, the Brooklyn Museum is dedicating an entire festival to the legendary author and celebrating her contributions to the literary world. 

 

image via eventbrite

 

 

Ohio-born Morrison earned her B.A. in English from Howard University and later her Masters in American Literature from Cornell University. In the late 1960s, she became the first black female editor in fiction at Random House. Her first novel The Bluest Eye was published in 1970 and remains one of her most celebrated works. Her third novel Song of Solomon, published in 1987, earned her the National Book Critics Circle award. She was also awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her novel Beloved in 1988. In 1993, Morrison became the first and only black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature for her collective body of work. In 2012, President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Toni Morrison died on August 5, 2019 in New York City due to complications of pneumonia. She was mourned by many and remembered for her great contributions to the literary world.

 

image via the New Yorker

 

In honor of what would have been her eighty-ninth birthday, the Brooklyn Museum is hosting a festival titled The Toni Morrison Festival: Alive at 89. The festival will take place today, February 18, from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Brooklyn Museum. This festival will not only highlight Morrison’s storied legacy, but also touch on the ongoing lack of diversity within literature, note festival founders Magogodi Makhene and Cleyvis Natera Tucker. The event will feature guests and performers such as Sandra Guzman, Tyehimba Jess, and Mitchell S. Jackson, among others. Event organizers say the festival seeks to “reimagine our literary history today by centering Toni Morrison as one of many diverse thinkers.” Tickets are available via Eventbrite, with the first 100 tickets free and following at ten dollars a ticket.

 

 

Featured Image via Vanity Fair

 


Bookstr is community supported. If you enjoy Bookstr’s articles, quizzes, graphics and videos, please join our Patreon to support our writers and creators or donate to our Paypal and help Bookstr to keep supporting the book loving community.
Become a Patron!