Jul. 27, 1999
The British Reading Room
Poem: "The British Reading Room," by Louis MacNeice, from Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice (Faber and Faber).
It's the birthday in France, 1870, of Hilaire Belloc, born to a French father and English mother. Educated at Oxford, he became a journalist in London; after being the literary editor of the Morning Post, he founded the magazine Eyewitness. Author of many travel books, biographies, and novels, Belloc also served briefly as a member of Parliament. He is best known for the light verse he wrote, collected in A Bad Child's Book of Beasts and Verses and Sonnets and later Cautionary Tales, in which Belloc wrote about Henry King, who chewed bits of string and was early cut off in dreadful agonies.
It's the birthday in Lexington, Kentucky, 1916 of ELIZABETH HARDWICK, who started out in the mid 1940s as a novelist, but is best known for her essays which started to run in the Partisan Review and the New York Review of Books in the early 1960s. Her essays have been collected under the titles: A View of My Own, Seduction and Betrayal, and American Fictions.
On July 27, 1946, GERTRUDE STEIN, the avant-garde American writer, died in Paris with her longtime companion, Alice B. Toklas, by her bedside.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®