November 28 in Literary History: William Blake Born

The most significant events in the history of books on the 28th of November

1582: William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway pay a £40 bond for their marriage licence.

1628: John Bunyan is born. He wrote much of his defining work, The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678), while imprisoned in Bedford Jail. As well as the famous allegory of The Pilgrim’s Progress – which, as well as arguably being an early English novel, also gave us the name of another classic novel, Vanity Fair – Bunyan also wrote a sort of spiritual memoir, Grace Abounding (1666), and The Life and Death of Mr Badman (1680), a sort of follow-up book to The Pilgrim’s Progress.

1757: William Blake is born. This Romantic poet and visionary wrote the words for the hymn ‘Jerusalem’ and was also a rather accomplished artist too.

Irving1820: Friedrich Engels is born. He is best remembered for co-authoring The Communist Manifesto with Karl Marx.

1859: Washington Irving dies. As we reveal in our panoply of Washington Irving facts, Irving gave us Rip van Winkle, Sleepy Hollow, and even the word ‘knickers’. As if all that wasn’t enough, he helped to inspire Dickens’s reinvention of Christmas – most famously exemplified by Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, of course.

1904: Nancy Mitford is born. One of the ‘Bright Young Things’ of the 1920s, Mitford was, of course, one of the Mitford sisters. She wrote a number of novels (the most famous of which is Love in a Cold Climate, published in 1949), as well as biographies of Voltaire and Frederick the Great.

1968: Enid Blyton dies. Her books are thought to have sold more than 600 million copies. Titles of Enid Blyton stories include ‘Mr Pink-Whistle Interferes’, ‘A Rubbalong Tale’, and ‘Noddy Loses His Clothes’.

Image: Painting of American author Washington Irving by Gilbert Stuart Newton, 1820, public domain.

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