Feb. 26, 2000

Fulbright Scholars

by Ted Hughes

Broadcast Date: SATURDAY: February 26, 2000

Poem: "Fulbright Scholars" by Ted Hughes, from Birthday Letters (FSG).

It's the birthday of novelist and Romantic poet Victor Hugo, born in Besancon, France (1802). Although known abroad mainly for his melodramatic novels, such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831) and Les Miserables (1862), in France, where he is still studied by all schoolchildren, he is known more for his plays and his collections of poetry.

On this day in 1848 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles published The Communist Manifesto, in London, in it's original German version.

It's the birthday of Cartoonist Rudolf Dirks, born in Heide, Germany (1877), who created the Katz enjammer Kids cartoon strip. He was one of the first cartoonists to use the dialogue balloon.

It's the birthday of writer Jean Vercors (the pen name of Marcel Bruller), born in Paris (1902). He published his patriotic novella, The Silence of the Sea (1941), in occupied Paris shortly after the Nazis invaded. It helped to boost French morale and foster a literary resistance movement.

In 1951 on this day, James Jones' novel From Here to Eternity was published in New York. One of the best selling novels of all time, it tells the story of an Army private, Robert E. Lee Prewitt, who dies in Hawaii, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

On this day in 1956, at a party in Cambridge, England, Fulbright scholar Sylvia Plath met English Poet Ted Hughes, whom she would marry later that same year. "[He was] the one man in the room who was as big as his poems, huge… I screamed in myself, thinking, Oh, to give myself crashing, fighting, to you." Less than seven years after meeting him at that party, she killed herself, in London, in 1963, several weeks after The Bell Jar came out. Hughes edited her posthumous publications; in 1981 her Collected Poems won a Pulitzer Prize.

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