March 14: On this day in 1826, Sir Walter Scott compares his novels with Jane Austen’s and finds  himself wanting. “The exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting…is denied to me.”

March 15: Lord Byron, a snob, writes in his journal on this day in 1820 that John Keats is a “tadpole of the Lakes” deriding him for being the unequal of Lakist poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge who lived in Lake country in Northern England.

March 16: Swedish author Selma Lagerloff, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in 1909 for Literature, dies in Varmland on this day in 1940. Her home Mårbacka at Sunne in Värmland, Sweden has been restored as a museum. Her family lost the estate but she used her prize money to buy back the whole estate.

March 17: Painter Kate Greenaway, who illustrated the Mother Goose books depicting a tranquil country life of Victorian England is born in London on this day in 1846.

March 18: Pulitzer Prize winner John Updike, who once wrote “A book is beautiful in its relation to the human hand, to the human eye, to the human brain, and to the human spirit,” is born on this day in 1932 in Shillington, PA.

March 19: A publicity stunt gone awry meant Honore de Balzac’s play, Les Ressources de Quinola,  which opens on this day in 1842, plays to an empty house. He had tried to generate buzz by circulating the rumour that tickets were nearly sold out. The public believed it and stayed home.

March 20: Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published on this day in 1852, nine years before the start of the Civil war. It provokes a wave a hatred against slavery and prompts the publication of 30 books defending slavery. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is also notable for being the first novel to sell a million copies.


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