February 1: The Corsair, Lord Byron’s poem about the heroic pirate captain Conrad, is published on this day in 1814. It is the height of Byron’s fame and 10,000 copies sell on the first day.

February 2: At age 34, Mark Twain marries Olivia Langdon in Elmira, NY on this day in 1870 after a lengthy courtship and later move to Hartford, Connecticut.

February 3: The Sage of Baltimore, H.L. Mencken is the subject of a motion passed on this day in 1931 by the Arkansas state legislature which calls for the state to pray for his soul. This is Arkansas’ response after Mencken refers to it as the “state of moronia’ in a column and following the state’s failed attempts to get Mencken expelled from the U.S.

February 4: In a competition among themselves on this day  in 1818, poets Leigh Hunt, Keats and Shelley vie to come up with the best verse about the Nile. The winner is here.

February 5: A frail and thin 74-year-old Isek Dinesen on a visit to New York in 1959 told her hosts that the four Americans she most wanted to meet were Ernest Hemingway, Carson McCullers, Marilyn Monroe and E.E. Cummings. Hearing that, McCullers invited Dinesen to lunch at her home in Nyack, NY on this day where she had also invited Marilyn Monroe and Monroe’s then husband playwright Arthur Miller.

February 6: Fyodor Dostoyevsky marries Marya Dmitrievna on this day in 1857 in Siberia. Seven years later, she will die of consumption.


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