Mar. 22, 2000

Ode: Intimations of Immortality (excerpt)

by William Wordsworth

Broadcast Date: WEDNESDAY: March 22, 2000

Poem: "Ode: Intimations of Immortality," by William Wordsworth.

It's the birthday of mime MARCEL MARCEAU, born in Strasburg, France (1923), who managed, in the second half of the 20th century, almost single-handedly to revive the ancient art of pantomime. He was active in the Resistance during World War Two, and later founded his own mime troupe (1948). He became the world's best known mime and his best-known character was and remains his sad, white-faced 'Bip,' in sailor pants and striped jacket. Marceau also devised the mime-drama Don Juan (1964) and the mime-ballet Candide (1971).

It's the birthday of novelist NICHOLAS MONSARRAT, born in Liverpool (1910). From 1940 until 1946 he served in the Royal Navy, chiefly on harrowing Atlantic convoy runs experience he put to good use in his best-selling novel H.M. Corvette (1942), which came out during the war. But he remains best known for another wartime sea saga, The Cruel Sea (1951), about life on board a small ship in wartime.

It's the birthday of western writer LOUIS L'AMOUR, born in Jamestown, North Dakota (1908). He left school at 15 to travel the world, exploring much of the American West and working for a while as a miner. He also traveled to East Africa, and worked as an elephant handler, a lumberjack, a boxer, a cattle-skinner, and a migrant farm worker. In his thirties, L'Amour began turning out novels that depicted his version of life on the western frontier. In 1953, his novel Hondo was a terrific success — it sold well and then was made into a John Wayne movie. He churned out 7 or 8 books a year all through the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. His 100 books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide.

It's the birthday of French-Canadian writer GABRIELLE ROY, born in St. Boniface, Manitoba (1909). The first of her many French-language novels was Bonheur d'occasion (translated as The Tin Flute, 1945). Her novels are noted for their tender portrayals of the tumultuous, heart-rending lives of the working-class poor. Some of her other novels include Street Riches (1955) and Children of My Heart (1977).

It's the birthday of illustrator RANDOLPH CALDECOTT, born in Chester, England (1846), a pioneer in what was then a new field, picture books for children. His first success with a children's book his illustrated version of Washington Irving's Old Christmas (1876), was followed by The House that Jack Built (1878). From that point on, he illustrated two colored picture books a year. The Caldecott Medal, for the illustrator of the best American picture book for children, was named for him.

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