Jul. 15, 2000

Jack the Giant Killer

by James Whitcomb Riley

Broadcast date: SATURDAY, 15 July 2000

"Jack the Giant Killer," by James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916).

It's the birthday of painter Rembrandt van Rijn, born in, Holland (1606)-- Amsterdam's leading portrait painter. He was renowned for his use of light and shadow and his ability to bring out the character of his subjects. In "The Night Watch," a huge group portrait representing a number of militiamen, the models paid to be included, those in front paying a higher rate than the dim figures behind.

It's the birthday of Christmas poet Clement Clarke Moore, born in New York City (1779). A respected Hebrew scholar, he is known to us for his holiday ballad, "'Twas the night before Christmas," written for his own children in 1822.

It's the birthday of Thomas Bullfinch, born in Newton, Massachusetts (1796). He worked as a clerk in the Merchants' Bank of Boston, a job he held his whole life. It was a good job: it didn't strain his energy, and left him enough time to study his main interests--history and literature--and write his scholarly works. The Age of Fable (1855) was the one that brought him lasting fame. It came to be known as Bullfinch's Mythology--a retelling of the myths of the world.

It's the birthday of lyricist Dorothy Fields, born in Allenhurst, New Jersey (1905)-- who wrote over 400 songs, including "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby," "I'm in the Mood for Love," and "On the Sunny Side of the Street."

It's the birthday of adventure writer (Ralph) Hammond Innes, born in Horsham, Sussex (1913). He wrote The Wreck of the 'Mary Deare' (1956), a book so successful he named his 10-ton yacht for it.

It's the birthday of novelist Dame Iris Murdoch, born in Dublin (1919), writer of many comic and macabre novels, including A Severed Head (1961), The Black Prince (1973), The Sea, The Sea (1978-Booker Award), and The Message to the Planet (1989).

It's the birthday of playwright and director Ann Jellicoe, born in Yorkshire, England (1927). She wrote The Sport of My Mad Mother (1958), The Knack (1961), and other plays.

It's the birthday of philosopher/linguist Jacques Derrida, born in el Biar, Algeria (1930)-a leading light of deconstructionism.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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