Jun. 26, 2000

My Edward Hopper Eye, My Claude Monet

by Veronica Patterson

Broadcast Date: MONDAY: June 26, 2000

Poem: "My Edward Hopper Eye, My Claude Monet" by Veronica Patterson, from Swan, What Shores? (New York University Press).

It’s the birthday of novelist and poet Barbara Chase-Riboud, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1939)—who wrote about a slave and her relationship with President Thomas Jefferson in her best-selling novel, Sally Hemings (1979). Chase-Riboud’s findings reaffirmed the suspicion that Jefferson was Hemings’ lover and the father of her seven children.

It’s the birthday of suspense writer Thomas Boyle, born in East Stroudsburgh, Pennsylvania, (1939) author of thrillers about the modern urban experience. His novels include The Cold Stove League (1983) and Only the Dead Know Brooklyn (1985).

It’s the birthday of novelist Colin Wilson, born in Leicester, England (1931), best known for his book The Outsider (1956).

On this day in 1919, the Illustrated Daily News, the original pictorial tabloid newspaper, first rolled off the presses in New York. It is known today as the New York Daily News.

It’s the birthday of Pearl S. Buck, born in Hillsboro, West Virginia (1892). She was three months old when she moved with her missionary parents to China. She remained there until she was 16, then returned to the United States to attend college. She wrote over 85 books, plus hundreds of short stories, articles and nonfiction pieces, but she’s best known for her novel The Good Earth (1931). Among the most popular books of the 20th century, it won the Pulitzer Prize (1932) and then the Nobel Prize for Literature (1938). It made visible a side of China that is earthy, unromantic, timeless—and was, in its day, totally new to American readers.

On this day in 1483, King Richard the Third officially began his reign. Scholars argue about whether or not he was the hunchback portrayed in Shakespeare’s play—but there’s no doubting his ruthlessness. He came to power after persuading the lords and commoners of London that the marriage of his brother, Edward the 4th, had been invalid; that Edward’s children were illegitimate; and that he, therefore, was his brother's rightful successor. Just to be sure, he had his young nephews murdered in the Tower of London.

On this day, in 1284, the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Germany, lured 130 children of the town to oblivion, exacting revenge on town fathers who had refused to pay him his agreed-upon fee of 1,000 guilders for driving the rats and mice out of their city into the River Weser. The story is retold in Robert Browning’s 303-line narrative poem published in 1842.

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