Fun_People Archive
4 Jul
LIT BITS V2 #183

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sun,  4 Jul 99 17:05:24 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: LIT BITS V2 #183

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649
Excerpted-from: LITERARY CALENDAR V2 #183

Today is Sunday, 4 July 1999; on this day,

223 years ago (1776),

	In the American colonies, The Declaration of Independence, written
     mainly by Thomas Jefferson, is proclaimed. Aside from the political
     significance of the document, it is "perhaps the most masterfully
     written state paper of Western civilization."

195 years ago (1804),

	Nathaniel Hawthorne is born in Salem Massachusetts, to a prominent
     but decaying family. One of his ancestors, a judge in the Salem
     witchcraft trials, becomes the model for the accursed founder of _The
     House of the Seven Gables_. Hawthorne will often wonder whether the
     decline of his family's fortune is a punishment for the sins of his
     "sable-cloaked steeple-crowned progenitors."

173 years ago (1826),

	On the only birthday either claimed to celebrate--the 50th
     anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. Declaration of
     Independence--its author, Thomas Jefferson, dies at Monticello the
     same day that his onetime political adversary John Adams dies in
     Quincy, Massachusetts.

154 years ago (1845),

	Henry David Thoreau begins his 26-month stay at Walden Pond: "I
     went to the woods because I wished to . . . see if I could not learn
     what it [life] had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover
     that I had not lived."

144 years ago (1855),

	Walt Whitman, 36, publishes _Leaves of Grass_ at his own expense.
     The book does not sell.

137 years ago (1862),

	On a picnic, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson tells the story of what
     happened to a girl named Alice after she fell down the rabbit hole.
     Ten-year-old Alice Liddell, the model for the heroine, insists that
     he write it down. He does so and adopts the pen name Lewis Carroll to
     publish _Alice's Adventures in Wonderland_.

68 years ago (1931),

	On his father's birthday James Joyce  and Nora Barnacle legalize
     their 26-year common-law marriage at the Kensington Registry Office
     in London. The event makes the front pages.

23 years ago (1976),

	Antoni Slonimski, Polish poet, translator, and newspaper columnist
     best known for his devotion to pacifism and social justice, dies in

18 years ago (1981),

	On the 155th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson's death, Dumas
     Malone, aged 89 and nearly blind, publishes _The Sage of Monticello_,
     the sixth and final volume of his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of

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