Tag Archives: Literary Feuds & Friendships

“He Was Dull in a New Way”

On this date in 1775, Samuel Johnson makes the following assessment of poet Thomas Gray: “Sir, he was dull in company, dull in his closet, dull every where. He was dull in a new way, and that made people think … Continue reading

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“The Most Obnoxious Person Almost in England”

On this date in 1728, the Beggar’s Opera author John Gay writes to Jonathan Swift: “For writing in the cause of Virtue, and against the fashionable vices, I am lookt upon at present as the most obnoxious person almost in … Continue reading

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Miss Brontё Regrets

On this date in 1839, Charlotte Brontë writes this refusal to Reverend Henry Nussey’s marriage proposal: “I am not the serious, grave, cool-hearted individual you suppose; you would think me romantic and eccentric.”

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Wodehouse Wary of Wealthy Host’s Seating Arrangements

On this date in 1931, P.G. Wodehouse writes the following about his weeklong stay at San Simeon, home of William Randolph Hearst: “I sat on [Marion Davies’] right the first night, then found myself being edged further and further away … Continue reading

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Gides Ghost Gibes Claudel

Nobel Laureate André Gide died on this date in 1951. Several days letter, a telegram bearing his signature appeared on a bulletin board at the Sorbonne. It read “Hell doesn’t exist. Better notify Claudel.” Paul Claudel, who was a Catholic … Continue reading

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Parker Poo-Poos Pooh

On this date in 1928, Dorothy Parker, writing under the pseudonym “Constant Reader,” writes the following review of A.A. Milne’s The House on Pooh Corner: “And it is that word ‘hummy,’ my darlings, that marks the first place in The … Continue reading

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Thomas Love Peacock Was Born on This Date

Novelist Thomas Love Peacock was born on this date in 1785. He satirized his famous friends Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Nightmare Abbey. 

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Christopher Robin Slams Pooh

On this date in 1920, A.A. Milne’s son Christopher Robin was born. Milne modeled the human hero of his Winnie-the-Pooh books on his son. Obviously, this wasn’t an entirely comfortable fact for Christopher Robin; as an adult, he claimed, “The … Continue reading

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Nicolson Gives Auden Mad Props

Diplomat Sir Harold Nicolson writes the following after attending a reading by poet W. H. Auden: “I go to bed feeling terribly Edwardian and back-number, and yet, thank God, delighted that people like Wystan Auden should actually exist.”

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Flaubert Busts De Maupassant

On this date in 1878, French novelist Gustave Flaubert busts his protégé, Guy de Maupassant: “You must–do you hear me, young man?–you MUST work more than you are doing.”

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