November 26 in Literary History: Lewis Carroll Sends Alice Liddell His Book

The most significant events in the history of books on the 26th of November

1607: King Lear is entered on the Stationers’ Register. The ‘booke called Mr. William Shakespeare his historye of King Lear’ was entered on the Stationers’ Register by Nathaniel Butter and John Busby.

1607: Also on this day, 26 November 1607, John Harvard is born. Harvard University is named after him. Harvard spent only one year of his life in America, and died of tuberculosis aged just 30. Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of ‘Thaw’ by Edward Thomas

A short introduction to the poem ‘Thaw’ by Edward Thomas (1878-1917)

‘Thaw’ is one of the shortest poems Edward Thomas wrote, and he was a master of the short poem. In a brief flurry of poetic creativity between late 1914 and his death in 1917, Thomas produced some of the finest poems of the early twentieth century. Here is ‘Thaw’, along with a brief analysis of its language and imagery.

Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flowers of grass,
What we below could not see, Winter pass. Read the rest of this entry

November 25 in Literary History: The Mousetrap Opens in London

The most significant events in the history of books on the 25th of November

1562: Lope de Vega is born. A towering figure of Spanish Renaissance literature, he was a hugely prolific poet and playwright. Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, called Vega, his contemporary, a ‘monster of nature’, which sounds much like the seventeenth-century view of William Shakespeare as a writer endowed with natural gifts rather than one whose craft had been studiously learned. But Vega outdid even Shakespeare for his sheer volume of work. Shakespeare left behind 154 sonnets; Vega wrote over 3,000. Shakespeare wrote, or collaborated on, around forty plays. But around 1,800 plays have been attributed to Lope de Vega (of which 426 survive). Read the rest of this entry

Vasko Popa’s Poetry and the Endless Circle of Creation

Luna Gradinšćak discusses the work of Serbian poet Vasko Popa (1922-1991)


Blue and golden
Last brim of perception
Last apple of the sun

How far does your sight reach

Can you hear the night’s cavalry
La illaha illalah Read the rest of this entry

November 24 in Literary History: Black Beauty is Published

The most significant events in the history of books on the 24th of November

1394: Charles of Orléans, Duke of Orléans and accomplished poet, is born. He wrote poems in both French and English, largely as a result of the 24 years he spent imprisoned in English castles, following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. It was an exciting time in English poetry, with Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, John Gower, and the author of Pearl and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight having helped to create a canon of great English poetry in the late fourteenth century. The first English king to use English at his royal court was Henry IV, who usurped the throne in 1399, when Charles of Orléans was five. Read the rest of this entry


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