Jul. 2, 2000

I Will Make You Brooches

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Broadcast Date: SUNDAY: July 2, 2000

Poem: "I Will Make You Brooches" by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894).

On this day in 1961, Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway, author of A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man And the Sea, shot himself to death in his home in Ketchum, Idaho. At 7 o’clock that Sunday morning, he rose, went to the kitchen for the key to the basement storeroom, went down to the basement, unlocked the storeroom, selected a 12-gauge shotgun he had bought at Abercrombie & Fitch, pushed 2 shells into the chambers, walked upstairs to the foyer, turned the gun against his own head and fired both barrels. (Hemingway’s doctor father had shot himself to death; Ernest, not quite 29 at the time, was given the gun by his mother).

On this day, in 1941, Noel Coward’s comedy Blithe Spirit had its premiere at the Piccadilly Theater in London. The play works a clever conflict between polite, upper-class drawing room characters and the spirit world. Two wives—one living, one dead—do battle with the same hapless husband.

It’s the birthday of artist and feminist Judy Chicago (Gerowitz), born in Chicago (1939). Her best-known work, "The Dinner Party"—a multi-media symbolic history of women in Western Civilization—was completed in 1979.

It’s the birthday of English novelist Francis Wyndham, born in London, (1924). He wrote The Other Garden, a slim coming-of-age memoir of wartime England; and a story collection, Out of War (1974), which depicts the effects World War Two had on those left at home in Great Britain. He said, "I'm interested in compression, and also in suggestion. Very often, the less you say, the more you suggest. I think all good fiction suggests. People often tell me my things are too short. But I can't help that. Some of my favorite writers are like that, and that's the kind of writer I want to be."

It’s the birthday of Polish poet and Nobel Prize winner Wislawa Szymborska, born near Poznan, Poland (1923). She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. The first collection of her work to appear in English translation was Sounds, Feelings, Thoughts: Seventy Poems (1981).

It’s the birthday of novelist Hermann Hesse, born in Calw, Germany (1877) author of Siddhartha (1922), Steppenwolf (1927), Narcissus and Goldmund (1930), and other books. He gained popularity among younger readers during the 1950s and 1960s, peaking in the 1970s, when his work sold well over six million copies in English translation. He won the Nobel Prize in for Literature in 1946.

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