Did You Know . . . ?

The tales of Aladdin, The Seven Voyages of Sinbad, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves were not originally a part of The Arabian Nights.  They were added later by some unknown person.

_ _ _

The most famous translation of The Arabian Nights is that of the fascinating writer, polyglot, explorer, and adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821 – 1890).  His wife, Isabel, a very prudish woman, did not approve of many of his sexually explicit writings and translations, and burned all of his papers after his death.  The Devil Drives: A Life of Sir Richard Burton (1967) by Fawn M. Brodie is an excellent biography of Burton.

_ _ _

The manuscript for Ernest Hemingway’s memoir A Moveable Feast, in which he sometimes wrote unflatteringly about people he knew in Paris was stored in the basement of the Ritz Hotel in Paris and was not published until 1964 – three years after his death.

_ _ _

Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas had a French poodle named Basked.  Each morning Toklas would bathe the dog, comb its hair and brush its teeth with its own personal toothbrush.

_ _ _

According to the Guinness Book of World Records mystery novelist Agatha Christie is the best selling novelist in the world.  Her output (66 novels and 14 short story collections) have sold about 4 billion copies worldwide.

_ _ _

Doris Lessing, a cat lover who once wrote a collection of essays and short stories entitled Particularly Cats, once owned 40 Rhodesian Bush Cats at one time.

_ _ _

The Cat in the Hat (1957) by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) has sold over a million copies.  It only contains 220 different words and is a mere 1,702 words long.

_ _ _

The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s translation of Dante’s Inferno was published in 1867.  Though it is not highly regarded today, it was the first time an American had translated the work into English.

_ _ _

During the 1930s John Steinbeck, a native of Salinas, California, was given an assignment by the newspaper he was working for.  There were thousands of migrant workers in California, and he was told to research their situation and write a story about them.  The horrors that he saw eventually became his best known book, The Grapes of Wrath (1939).  Though the book won a Pulitzer Prize, Steinbeck became very unpopular with his fellow Californians.

_ _ _

Virginia Woolf and her husband, Leonard, founded Hogarth Press to publish their works as well as those of other writers including T. S. Eliot, Roger Fry, Katherine Mansfield, Vita Sackville-West, Edith Sitwell, Sigmund Freud, Robert Graves, Christopher Isherwood, and E. M. Forster.

_ _ _

The real name of British novelist, essayist, and short story writer Zadie Smith is Sadie Smith.  She changed her first name to Zadie when she was 14 years old.  She told the Guardian that she changed her name to Zadie “because it seemed right, exotic, different.”

_ _ _

Lysistrata, a famous play by Aristophanes was first performed in Athens in 411 BC.  In it Athens and Sparta are at war, and the wives of the warriors on both sides decide to withhold sex from their husbands until they end the war.  The war quickly ends.

_ _ _

Washington Irving is considered to be the first American to make his living as an author.

_ _ _

Playwright Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams was born in Columbus, Mississippi.  His father, Cornelius, was the descendent of pioneers in Tennessee, so Thomas adopted “Tennessee” as a stage name.

_ _ _

The verb “canter” which means to gallop gently is taken from the term “Canterbury gallop” which referred to the gentle pace at which pilgrims rode to Canterbury.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Books. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s