Jun. 12, 1999

Song of the Wandering Aengus

by William Butler Yeats

Broadcast Date: SATURDAY: June 12, 1999

Poem: "Song of the Wandering Aengus," by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939).

It's the birthday of Anne Frank (in full, Annelies Marie Frank), born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany (1929). In 1942 she received a diary as a present on her 13th birthday, a month before she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in rooms behind her father's office in Amsterdam. They were discovered by the Nazis and sent to concentration camps, and Anne died at Bergen-Belsen of typhus, a month before the war ended. On November 7, 1942, she wrote in her diary, "So much comes into my head at night when I'm alone, or during the day when I'm obliged to put up with people I can't abide, or who invariably misinterpret my intentions. That's why I always wind up coming back to my diary—I start there and end there because Kitty's always patient. I promise her that, despite everything, I'll keep going, I'll find my own way and choke back my tears."

It's the birthday of English novelist and feminist campaigner Brigid Brophy, born in London (1929), author of Hackenfeller's Ape (1953), Flesh (1962) and Palace Without Chairs (1978).

It's the birthday of poet, illustrator and author Djuna Barnes (born Lydia Steptoe) born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York (1892)—an avant-garde writer legendary among Paris expatriates of the 1920s and 30s. She began as a reporter and illustrator for The Brooklyn Eagle in New York and is best known for her novel Nightwood (1936). After living in Paris and London from 1928 until the outbreak of war, she returned to America and lived out her remaining 41 years a virtual hermit in her one-room Greenwich Village apartment.

It's the birthday of author Johanna Spyri, born in Hirzel, Switzerland (1827). After marrying, she moved to Zurich, then missed her home village so badly she wrote about it. Heidi, published in 2 volumes (1880, 1881), tells the story of a girl who lives in the Alps with her grandfather, then is sent to live in a city, where she grows homesick. Finally she returns to her beloved meadows and goats.

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