Dec. 1: On this day in 1886, Rex Stout, one of the greatest-named authors who created one of the greatest named detectives Nero Wolfe, is born in Noblesville, Indiana.

Dec. 2: In a letter to a friend Oskar Pollak on this date in 1902, Franz Kafka wrote that Prague will not let go. “This little mother has claws. So one of us must either conform or…”

Dec. 3: In 1857 on this date, in a part of Poland then under Russian rule, Joseph Conrad (Josef Korzeniowski) is born. In 1894, 16 years after a tumultuous love-hate relationship with the sea and a career as a sea merchant, he decides to become a writer.

Dec. 4: W. Somerset Maugham sets sail on this day for Pago Pago. On the voyage he meet a character he will fictionalize later as Sadie Thomas, a prostitute who gets entangled with a missionary.

Dec. 5: Christina Rossetti born, the youngest of four children to the wild and artistic family that includes her brother Dante Gabriel, on this day in 1830.

Dec. 6: The man behind The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran, born in Lebanon on this day in 1883. At the age of 12, Gibran and his mother and siblings move to New York City and then Boston’s South End where a large Lebanese community had settled.

Dec. 7: Nebraska author Willa Cather born on this day in 1873. The town where she was raised, Red Cloud, has nearly 10,000 visitors every year to see her childhood home.

Dec. 8: Thomas De Quincey, author of Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, dies in Lasswade near Edinburgh on this day in 1859 at the age of 74.


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