November 19 in Literary History: Thomas Shadwell Dies

The most significant events in the history of books on the 19th of November

1692: Thomas Shadwell dies. He had been appointed Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in 1689, after the Glorious Revolution had put William and Mary on the English throne. The Catholic Dryden found himself out of favour with the new monarchical double act, and he became – as well as the first official UK Poet Laureate – also the first Poet Laureate to be sacked. Dryden would outline his successor by eight years.

1887: Emma Lazarus dies. This New York poet was just 38 when she died, possibly from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her best-known poem is the 1883 sonnet ‘The New Colossus’, which can be read here. In 1903, the sonnet was engraved New Colossuson a bronze plaque and mounted on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

1899: Allen Tate is born. This American poet served as and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1943-44.

And finally – as it’s World Toilet Day, we’ll leave you with a few literature-related lavatorial facts…

Sir John Harington (1560-1612), poet and inventor of the flush toilet, was also the author of a 1596 book A New Discourse upon a Stale Subject, which talks about the ‘excrement’ poisoning England.

Evelyn Waugh died on the lavatory in 1966.

US author Henry Miller once claimed: ‘All my good reading, you might say, was done in the toilet.’

Image: Plaque of ‘The New Colossus’ poem by Emma Lazarus (‘Mother of Exiles’) in the museum inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty; by melanzane1013 in 2007; Wikimedia Commons.

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