Jun. 30, 2000
Poem: "The Preacher" by Louis Jenkins from The Winter Road (to be published in August by Holy Cow Press).
On this day in 1936, Margaret Mitchellís novel Gone with the Wind was published. Within six months, a million copies had been sold 50,000 in one day alone. It went on to sell more copies than any other novel in American publishing history, with sales passing 12 million by 1965.
On this day in 1960, Alfred Hitchcockís film Psycho had its premiere in New York City. Antohony Perkins played Norman Bates; other stars were Janet Leigh and Vera Miles. Leigh picks the wrong place to spend the night: the Bates Motel, with its 12 cabins, all vacant, and 12 shower stalls.
Itís the birthday of poet, critic, and novelist Czeslaw Milosz, born in Lithuania in the Russian Empire (1911). Among the most respected figures in 20th-century Polish literature, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature (1980) for his descriptions of the devastation of Warsaw and the Holocaust of World War Two. He was active in the Resistance during the Nazi occupation of Poland, editing and writing underground material. Later he immigrated to the United States, and joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley. He became a naturalized American citizen (1970).
Itís the birthday of suspense novelist Winston (Mawdsley) Graham, born in Victoria Park, Manchester, England (1910). Many of his books are set in the coastal countryside of Cornwall, where he lived as a young man. Grahamís heroes are often amateur sleuths troubled by fears, moral dilemmas, and guilt. One of his best known thrillers is Marnie, a story told from the viewpoint of an unconventional heroine. Also known for his historical fiction, Graham wrote the series on Ross Poldark and his descendants, adapted for television by the BBC (1975).
On this day in 1857, Charles Dickens gave his first public readingfrom A Christmas Carolat the St. Martin Hall in London. He enjoyed demonstrating his oral and dramatic skills during these performances, and gave 471 such readings in his lifetime.
Itís the birthday of author John Gay, born in Barnstaple, Devon, England (1685) best known for The Beggarís Opera (1728), a story of thieves and highwaymen, first produced in London at the Lincolnís Inn Fields Theater. It ran for 62 performances, the longest dramatic run up to that time. When he died at 47, Gay was buried in Westminster Abbey, under a stone that bore one of Gay's own lines: "Life is a jest, and all things show it. I thought so once, and now I know it."
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