December 17 in Literary History: Ford Madox Ford Born

The most significant events in the history of books on the 17th of December

1273: Rumi dies. Rumi (1207-1273), born Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, was a Sufi mystic poet from Persia. Rumi was a Muslim follower of the Sufi faith, and he wrote numerous works of Sufi philosophy as well as his poetry. A special service involving whirling dervishes is held at his tomb in Turkey on 17 December every year. 

1685: Thomas Tickell is born. Born near Cockermouth (where William Wordsworth would be born 85 years later), Rumi poetTickell was a minor poet who brought out an English translation of Homer’s Iliad in the same year as Alexander Pope’s more famous translation.

1807: John Greenleaf Whittier is born. This American Quaker poet was a vocal opponent of slavery in the United States, and wrote the poem ‘The Brewing of Soma’, which has been turned into the hymn ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind’.

1873: Ford Madox Ford is born Ford Hermann Hueffer. He was briefly an associate of Ezra Pound and the poetry clubs that led to the formation of Imagism in the early years of the twentieth century, though he’s best remembered for his novels: The Good Soldier (1915; actually nothing to do with soldiers) and the Parade’s End quartet (1924-28; a lot to do with soldiers). He also co-wrote several novels with Joseph Conrad.

1957: Dorothy L. Sayers dies. One of the queens of detective fiction in the genre’s golden age, Sayers created Lord Peter Wimsey and also worked as an advertising copywriter.

Image: Collection of poems of Molavi (Rumi) with a preface of Ostad Jalal-al-din Homaii, 1980, Wikimedia Commons.

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