February 14: Publishers Jane Heap and Margaret Anderson, the editors of the Little Review, an influential literary magazine specializing in UK, American and Irish authors, were charged on this day in 1921 for publishing an excerpt from James Joyce’s Ulysses. They pay a fine of $50 each a week later.

February 15: The rivalry between playwright Lillian Hellman and novelist Mary McCarthy, long simmering for three decades after the two clashed during a poetry seminar at Sarah Lawrence College, reach a zenith when Hellman filed a $2.2 million suit against McCarthy for libel on this day in 1980. Hellman died before the suit came to trial.

February 16: “The curfew tolls the knell of parting day” begins Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” which was published on this day in 1751. The poem had its origins almost a decade ago as Gray contemplated the death of his friend poet Ricard West.

February 17: At age 58, in 1856, author Heinrich Heine dies in Paris and leaves his estate to his wife under one condition that she remarry. He explains in his will that he makes this provision so “there will be at least one man to regret my death.”

February 18: The Pilgrim’s Progress is published on this date in 1678. Author John Bunyan wrote the first part while in prison for preaching without a licence.

February 19: In 1927, Carson McCullers, born Lula Carson Smith, who published The Heart is a Lonely Hunter at age 23, is born in Columbus, Ga.

February 20: Dylan Thomas arrives in NYC in 1950 for his first series of poetry reading.

February 21: The first issue of The New Yorker, founded and edited by Harold Ross and proudly proclaiming not to be a magazine for “the old lady in Dubuque” is published on this day in 1925.


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