Nov. 8, 2000

Sonnet 73: That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold

by William Shakespeare

Broadcast date: WEDNESDAY 8 November 2000

Poem: "Sonnet 73" by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold,
When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day,
A after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death bed, whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.

On this day in 1929, The Museum of Modern Art opened in New York City. The Museum was founded in the summer of 1929 by three private citizens, Lillie P. Bliss, Mary Quinn Sullivan, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, who were determined to make modern and contemporary art available to the public. Starting with an initial gift of eight prints and one drawing, it was the first museum to devote its programs and collection entirely to the modern movement.

It's the birthday of German film director, novelist and playwright, Peter Weiss, born in Nowawes, near Berlin, Germany (1916). He was forced to flee Nazi Germany with his family in 1934. They settled temporarily in London, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia before adopting Sweden as their new homeland when Weiss was 23. He established an international reputation with the production (at Berlin's Schiller Theater) of The Persecution and Assassination of Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (1964), known more simply as Marat/Sade. The press called him as "the new Brecht."

It’s the birthday of novelist Margaret Mitchell, born in Atlanta, Georgia (1900)--author of Gone With the Wind (1936 Pulitzer Prize). A Jazz Age beauty and daughter of the president of the Atlanta Historical Society, she grew up hearing tales of the Confederacy. Before writing her one novel, she was a reporter for the Atlanta Journal for 6 years, then spent 10 years researching and writing her panoramic tale of the Civil War and Reconstruction, told from the Southern point of view. For many years, Gone with the Wind remained the greatest publishing success ever, selling a record 1,383,000 copies its first year (50,000 in a single day). The movie came out in 1939.

On this date in 1900, Theodore Dreiser’s first novel, Sister Carrie, was published by Doubleday, Page & Company, regarded as the first great novel of America’s naturalistic movement. At the turn of the century, the book was a scandal. Not only does Carrie, a small-town girl loose in the big city, use her looks and feminine wiles to become a Broadway star; she destroys George Hurstwood, the married man who runs off with her, in the process. Buckling to public outrage, the publisher yanked it from bookstores after just 456 copies had sold.

It’s the birthday of journalist and activist Dorothy Day, born in Brooklyn (1897). After converting to Catholicism, she helped found the Catholic Worker Party and edited its paper, the Catholic Worker (1933).

It’s the birthday of horror writer (Abraham) Bram Stoker, born in Clontarf, Ireland (1847), author of the gothic classic Dracula (1897). Although bedridden in early childhood -- he couldn’t stand or walk until he was 7 -- Stoker pushed himself to become a star athlete, and eventually played football for the University of Dublin. After 10 years as a civil servant, he met the actor Sir Henry Irving, then worked as his manager, writing 50 letters a day and accompanying him on American tours. Stoker turned to writing fiction in his forties, and was 50 when he introduced Count Dracula, the villain from Transylvania, who lures innocent victims so he may feed himself on their blood. The story is told through journals kept by Jonathan Harker, whose fiancée (and then wife) is adored by Count Dracula.

It's the birthday of astronomer and mathematician Edmund Halley, born in London (1656), who observed the great comet of 1682, which is now named for him. He wrote in his Synopsis of Comet Astronomy: "I may venture to foretell that this Comet will return again in the year 1758." It did, and he became the first scientist to determine the comet's frequency. There have been 28 recorded appearances of Halley's comet since 240 BC, and the average time between appearances is 76 years, so each generation has its chance to see it.

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




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