Apr. 2, 1999

A Guardian Tanya

by Thomas Carper

Broadcast Date: FRIDAY: April 2, 1999

Poem: "A Guardian Tanya," by Thomas Carper, from Fiddle Lane (Johns Hopkins University Press).

Today is GOOD FRIDAY, the day Christians observe as the day when Jesus Christ was crucified.

It's the birthday today of the man who sculpted and built the Statue of Liberty, FRÉDÉRIC-AUGUSTE BARTHOLDI, born in Alsace, France in 1834. He began sculpting the statue in 1870, raised the money for it in France, and oversaw the construction—it was first exhibited in Paris and then dismantled and shipped to New York. The whole project took him 20 years in total from conception to the statue's dedication in 1886.

It was on this day in 1513 that the Spanish explorer JUAN PONCE DE LEON DISCOVERED FLORIDA, landing just north of the site where St. Augustine is now located, and named the place "La Florida" because of its beautiful flora.

It's the birthday today, 1805, of HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN, born in Odense near Copenhagen, Denmark, the creator of many fairy tales and stories—such as "The Ugly Duckling," "The Princess and the Pea," "The Little Mermaid," and "The Emperor's New Clothes." He always knew he would be famous, but thought it would be as a playwright or novelist—he became internationally known in 1835 with his novel The Improviser, and it was in that year that his first little volume of stories came out. He called them "trifles" at first and it took him over eight years to realize that he should focus on writing them. In all he wrote over 150 tales.

It's the birthday in 1725, of Giovanni Giacomo Casanova de Seingalt, born in Venice. He spent most of his life afterwards criss-crossing Europe, going to city to city and using his charms and wit to get admitted to fashionable society. He was acquainted with Mozart and Voltaire, and for a time was a favorite at the court of Louis XV in France. He eventually finished his life an unhappy librarian for a count in Bohemia, where he consoled himself by writing his memoirs—12 volumes in all—and it was from these that he gained his reputation as a seducer of women.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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