October 16 in Literature: Oscar Wilde is Born

The most significant events in the history of books on the 16th of October

1758: Noah Webster is born. A lexicographer best known for compiling Webster’s Dictionary, the first great dictionary of American English, Webster was also T. S. Eliot‘s great-uncle.

1847: Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre is published by Smith, Elder & Co. in London, under the pen name ‘Currer Bell’. We have some interesting facts about the Brontë siblings here. Our favourite is Charlotte’s connection to the Wild West…

1854: Oscar Wilde is born Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde. He is probably better known for his personality than his works, and above all is perhaps best known for his quip at customs when he arrived in America in 1882. Asked if he had anything to declare, Wilde replied, ‘Only my genius.’ Or did he? There is some doubt as to whether he ever uttered this famous line. Check out some of Wilde’s best lines here and some of Wilde’s funniest anecdotes here.

1888: Eugene O’Neill is born. J. D. Salinger once dated the playwright’s daughter Oona, but she left him for Charlie Wilde3Chaplin – whom she would later marry. Oona Chaplin, who played Talisa in Game of Thrones, is the great granddaughter of Eugene O’Neill.

1927: Günter Grass is born. He won the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature. Grass died in April 2015.

1950: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is published. The first of the seven Narnia novels to be published, it is chronologically the second book in the series (The Magician’s Nephew, published later, is a prequel). We have some interesting facts about the Chronicles of Narnia author, C. S. Lewis, here.

2012: Hilary Mantel wins her second Booker Prize for Bring Up the Bodies, becoming the first woman to win the award twice.

And finally… As it’s World Food Day, here are some of our favourite quotations from writers about food:

Give me a flagon of red wine, a book of verses, a loaf of bread, and a little idleness. – Omar Khayyám

Poetry is the achievement of the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits. – Carl Sandburg

A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it. – Danielle Steel

Image: Oscar Wilde (author: anonymous), Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

4 thoughts on “October 16 in Literature: Oscar Wilde is Born”

  1. Well, I would take issue with the ‘better known for his personality than his works’ re Oscar, as at least ONE of his works, the perfect The Importance of Being Earnest must be one of the best known comedy plays, a sure crowd pleaser, guaranteed to get audiences, whether the production is sparkling and brilliantly performed or – not quite! Add filmed versions, TV versions, radio versions, audio books into the mix……….and, a large part of Wilde’s high profile ‘fall’ was the fact that 3 of his plays were sparklingly drawing audiences in at the time. He is the theatrical comedy writer that pretty well any writer of comedies is going to be compared to. Add into that mix, Dorian Gray, and a collection of stories for children eg The Selfish Giant, which have had various media adaptations, and that’s a LOT of mainstream popularity. Okay, De Profundis and The Ballad of Reading Gaol may not be known that much outside lit-ficcy readers, but I do believe the works,(at least some of them) as well as the man, are extremely well known


Leave a Reply

Discover more from Interesting Literature

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading