May 30: Leo Tolstoy intercedes on behalf of Maxim Gorky and gets the author, arrested on charges of printing revolutionary literature, released from prison.

May 31: Poet Walt Whitman is born in West Hills, Long Island on this day in 1819.

June 1: Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus stories, writes to editor William Dean Howells, who was recruiting American and British authors to write for a newspaper syndicate, on this day: “You know, of course, so far as literary art is concerned, I am poverty-stricken; and you know too that my style and methods will cause you to pull your hair.”

June 2: The Comte Donatien-Alphonse-Francois de Sade, better known as the Marquis de Sade, is born in Paris on this day in 1730. Twenty-three years later, at the age of 23, by order of the king, he is committed.

June 3: T.S. Eliot responds to a fan, Groucho Marx, in a letter on this day in 1964 saying Marx’s appreciation “has greatly enhanced my credit line in the neighbourhood, and particularly with the greengrocer across the street.”

June 4: Columbus, GA native Carson McCullers (sadly, didn’t get a chance to get to Columbus during last month’s visit to Georgia) publishes The Heart is a Lonely Hunter to critical acclaim. Much is made of her age: she was just 23.

June 5: Stephen Crane dies of tuberculosis at the age of 28 on this day in 1900. He contracted the illness, which was compounded by malarial fever, while covering the Spanish-American War in Cuba.

June 6: Jeremy Benthan writer of Utilatarian ethics and founder of the Westminster Review dies in London at the age of 44 in 1832. His skeleton is dressed and seated and preserved at University College which he also founded.

June 7: Malcolm Lowry’s shack on a beach in North Vancouver, British Columbia burns to the ground and with it, his fourth draft of Under the Volcano on this day in 1945.

June 8: Fyodor Dostoyevsky, in the middle of writing The Brothers Karamazov addressed the Moscow Society of Lovers of Russian Literature at a celebration of of Aleksandr Pushkin’s birthday on this day in 1880.

June 9: Charles Dickens, 58, dies on this day in 1870 and is buried in Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey. Queen Victoria writes in her diary on June 11: “He had a large loving mind and the strongest sympathy with the poorer classes.” The 200th celebration of his birth is set for next year.

June 10: Artist and author Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) is born in Brooklyn, N.Y. On this day in 1928.


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