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1935
Stefan Zweig (1881-1942), Austrian novelist, wrote the libretto for the opera Die Schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman) with music by Richard Strauss. It was banned by the Nazis and Zweig was driven into exile.
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1935
Carl Von Ossietzky (1889-1938), German pacifist and anti-fascist writer, won the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize. Ossietzky was awarded a Nobel Prize while in a Nazi concentration camp. On May 4, 1938, succumbed to tuberculosis and from the after-effects of the abuse he suffered in the concentration camps.
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1935
British novelist C.S. Forester wrote his novel "The African Queen", later adapted by Hollywood in the 1951 movie of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.
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1935
Sinclair Lewis authored his novel “It Can’t Happen Here,” a semi-satirical political novel as fascism rose in Germany and Italy. The novel describes the rise of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a populist United States Senator who is elected to the presidency after promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and traditional values.
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1936 Jan 18
Author Rudyard Kipling (70) died in Burwash, England. His work included "Plain Tales from the Hills," "Barrack-Room Ballads," and the novel "Kim." In 2000 Harry Ricketts authored the biography "Rudyard Kipling: A Life." In 2009 Charles Allen authored “Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling 1865-1900.”
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1936 May 22
M. Scott Peck (d.2005), psychiatrist and author of “The Road Less Traveled” (1978), was born in New York.
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1936 Jun 12
Karl Kraus (b.1874), Austrian writer and journalist, died. He was known as a satirist, essayist, aphorist, playwright and poet.
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1936
James Lees-Milne (1908-1997), British architectural historian, was appointed the National Trust’s first Country Houses secretary. He began publishing his diaries in the 1970s.
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1936
Agatha Christie authored her novel “Murder in Mesopotamia.” During the 1930s she accompanied her husband Max Mallowan, British archeologist, on excavations in southern Iraq and later wrote an account of their work titled “Come Tell Me How You Live” (1946).
Links: Iraq, Britain, Writer, Books, Archeology     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1936
Israel Joshua Singer (b.1893), the older brother of Isaac Bashevis Singer, authored his novel “The Brothers Ashkenazi.” It was later considered to be the best Russian novel written in Yiddish.
Links: USA, Writer, Jews, Books     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1936
At its peak the WPA Federal Writers' Project employed nearly 6,700 people. In 1972 Jerre Mangione authored “The Dream and the Deal,” an account of the project. In 2009 David A. Taylor authored “Soul of a People: The WPA Federal Writers' Project Uncovers Depression America.”
Links: Labor, Writer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1936
John Dos Passos authored the “The Big Money,” the third volume of his “U.S.A.” trilogy.
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1936
Samuel Morris Steward (1909-1993) authored his novel “Angels on the Bough,” a depiction of a girl of easy virtue among Columbus, Ohio, bohemians. It got him fired from the State College of Washington.
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1936
Graham Green (1904-1991), English writer, authored “Journey Without Maps,” a travel account about a 350-mile, 4-week walk through the interior of Liberia and Sierra Leone in 1935.
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1936
George Orwell wrote the novel "Keep the Aspidistra Flying." The 1998 film "A Merry War" was based on the novel.
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1936
F. Scott Fitzgerald authored an essay in Esquire titled “The Crack Up.” Here he said that the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.
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1937
George Bernanos, French writer, authored “The Diary of a Country Priest.”
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1937
J.B. Priestley (1894-1984), English novelist and playwright, authored his play “Time and the Conways.” It illustrated J. W. Dunne's Theory Of Time through the experience of a moneyed Yorkshire family, the Conways, over a period of roughly 20 years from 1919 to 1937.
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1937
George Orwell (1903-1950) authored “The Road to Wigan Pier.” The first half of this work documents his sociological investigations of Lancashire and Yorkshire in the industrial north of England before World War II. The second half is a long essay of his upbringing, and the development of his political conscience.
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1937
Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950), British philosopher and science fiction writer, authored “Star Maker.”
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1938 Mar 1
Gabriele d’Annunzio, Italian poet, writer and political leader, died. In 2013 Lucy Hughes-Hallett authored “The Pike: Gabriele d’Annunzio: Poet Seducer and Preacher of War.”
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1938 May 4
Carl Von Ossietzky (b.1889), German pacifist, anti-fascist writer and 1935 Nobel Peace Prize winner, succumbed to tuberculosis and from the after-effects of the abuse he suffered in the concentration camps.
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1938 Jun 25
Mary Hallock Foote (b1847), author and illustrator, died. Her 3 Leadville novels established her as a Western writer. On 2003 Darlis A. Miller authored “Mary Hallock Foote: Author-Illustrator of the American West.
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1938 Jul 21
Owen Wister (b.1860), novelist, died at his summer home in Rhode Island. His 1902 novel "The Virginian" inspired 5 films. He had earlier begun a novel set in his native Philadelphia but stopped work on it when his wife died during childbirth on Aug 24, 1913.
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1938 Oct 30
On a Sunday night Orson Welles and his troupe of actors in the Mercury Theater touched off mass panic with a CBS dramatic radio adaptation of the 1898 novel of Martian conquest, "The War of the Worlds" by H.G. Wells. In spite of pre-broadcast announcements that the production was fiction, about a million Americans readied their guns for battle, fled and prayed for deliverance from what they believed was a real threat. Orson Welles (left), roundly criticized for inciting the hysteria, apologized for the realistic nature of the radio play and explained that he never expected such a severe reaction. The War of the Worlds broadcast went on the air opposite radio's number-one program, The Charlie McCarthy Show, featuring ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy. Critic Alexander Woollcott telegraphed Welles, "This only goes to prove, my beamish boy, that the intelligent people were all listening to a dummy, and all the dummies were listening to you."
Links: USA, Writer, Radio, Books     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1938
Julien Gracq (1910-2007), French writer, published "Au chateau d'Argol" (The Castle of Argol). It was favorably reviewed by the Surrealist leader Andre Breton, who became a friend and a strong influence.
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1938
Daphne Du Maurier (1907-1989), English writer, authored her novel “Rebecca.”
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1938
Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), English writer, authored his novel “Scoop.”
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1938
Ted Geisel (1904-1991), aka Dr. Seuss, authored “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.”
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1939 Jul 21
Ambroise Vollard (b.1866), French art patron, author and publisher, died in a car crash. He wrote biographies on Cézanne, Degas, and Renoir. Many of his works, including pantings by Derain, Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso and Matisse, ended up in the hands of Erich Slomovic, a young Croatian Jew who had come to Paris in the mid-1930s and befriended the aging dealer. Slomovic was killed by the nazis in 1942. The art remained locked up in a Paris bank vault until it was found in 1979. In 2010 it was put up for auction.
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1939 Sep 23
Sigmund Freud (b.1856), founder of psychoanalysis, died in London. He had escaped from Vienna in 1938. His work “Moses and Monotheism” was published this year. Freud was nominated for the Nobel Medicine Prize for the first time in 1915 by US neurologist William Alanson White, and went on to be nominated for a Nobel a total of 13 times until 1938. In 1986 Frederick Crews, a skeptic on Freud's work, published "Skeptical Engagements." Crews also published "The memory wars: Freud's Legacy in dispute" and "Unauthorized Freud: Doubters Confront a Legend." Freud's last days were dramatized in 1999 by Terry Johnson in the play "Hysteria."
Links: Britain, Writer, Psychology, Psychiatry, Books     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1939
Dalton Trumbo (1905-1976), US writer, authored “Johnny Got His Gun.” It was made into a film in 1971.
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1939
Raymond Chandler introduced detective Philip Marlowe in the mystery novel "The Big Sleep."
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1939
W.H. Auden (1907-1973), Anglo-American poet, authored his poem “Epitaph on a Tyrant.”
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1940 Mar 10
Mikhail Bulgakov (b.1891), Russian author, died in Moscow. His novel “The Master and Margarita,” which satirized life under Stalin, was written between 1928 and the author’s death. It was not published until 1966-67 in the Russian journal Moskva, with some 60 pages cut.
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1940 Mar 16
Selma Lagerdorf (b.1858), Swedish Nobel prize winning novelist (1909), died.
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1940 Dec 22
Nathanael West (b.1902), [Weinstein], US writer (Cool Million), died in an auto accident at age 37. In 1962 Stanley Edgar Hyman authored “Nathanael West.” In 1970 Jay Martin authored the biography: "Nathanael West: The Art of His Life." In 2010 Marion Meade authored “Lonely Hearts: The Screwball world of Nathanael West and Eileen McKeney.”
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1940
Denis de Rougemont (1906-1985), Swiss writer who wrote in French, authored “Love in the Western World,” a sweeping history of 8 centuries of romantic passion.
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1940
Britain’s PM Winston Churchill sent a handful of young British officers to Washington, DC, to ingratiate themselves on the social scene and advance the British cause through good manners. They included Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming and David Ogilvy. In 2008 Jennet Conant authored “The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington.
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1940
John Steinbeck journeyed aboard the Western Flyer, a chartered 76-foot sardine boat, to the Sea of Cortez. He traveled with his wife and Edward "Doc" Ricketts, a marine biologist, who wrote "Between Pacific Tides," a classic field guide to the Pacific Coast intertidal zone. Steinbeck’s "Log from the Sea of Cortez" was published in (1951).
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1941 Feb 19
George Orwell published his essay “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius,” expressing his opinions on the situation in wartime Britain.
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1941 Aug 7
Rabindranath Tagore (b.1861), a Bengali polymath who reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, died in Calcutta.
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1941
Jorge Amado (1912-2001), Brazilian Communist novelist, was exiled to Argentina.
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1941
Margret E. Rey (1906-1996) and her husband Hans A. Rey (d.1977) published their first "Curious George" book with Houghton Miflin. Six more came out over 25 years. The Reys were German Jews and had escaped with the original manuscript out of Germany in 1940. A film version was produced in 2006.
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1941
Arthur Koestler (1905-1983), Hungarian novelist and essayist, authored “Darkness at Noon,” a story of life in Stalin’s Russia.
Links: Russia, Hungary, Writer, USSR, Books     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1941
Budd Schulberg authored the novel “What Makes Sammy Run,” a classic satire on a young man’s climb in Hollywood.
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1941
British writer Rebecca West, pen name for Cicely Isabel Fairfield (1892-1983), authored “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon,” on the history and culture of Yugoslavia.
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1941
James Hilton authored “Random Harvest.” It was turned into a 1942 film starring Ronald Colman and Greer Garson and directed by Mervyn LeRoy.
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1942 Feb 23
Stefan Zweig (b.1881), Austrian Jewish writer (Die Welt von Gestern), committed suicide with his wife in Brazil. Zweig's nostalgic but rather impersonal memoirs of the "Golden Age of Security", The World of Yesterday, was published posthumously in 1943. His last novel (The Ecstasy of Transformation) was published posthumously in Germany in 1982. In 2008 it was translated into English as “The Post-Office Girl.” In 2014 George Prochnik authored “The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World.”
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1942 Aug
Irene Nemirovsky (39), French-Jewish author, died at Auschwitz. She had recently authored "Suite Francaise" while waiting in rural France for what she knew was her imminent arrest and deportation. It is a powerful account of the effect on ordinary people of the military collapse of June 1940, the panicked flight from Paris and the arrival of the German army. It was finally published in France in 2004 and Nemirovsky was awarded a top French literary award. In 2006 Jonathan Weiss authored “Irene Nemirovsky: Her Life and Works.”
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1942 Nov 19
Bruno Schulz (b.1892), Polish writer and graphic artist, was shot dead by a German officer, a rival of Schulz’s German protector. In 1992 Theatre de Complicite created their play “The Street of Crocodiles” based on the life and work of Schulz.
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1942
Albert Camus (1913-1960), Algeria-born French writer, authored "The Stranger" and "The Myth of Sisyphus." He established himself as a spokesman for a philosophy of the absurd along with Jean-Paul Sartre.
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1943 Jan
Rutka Laskier (14) began a diary in Bedzin, Poland, shortly before she was deported to Auschwitz. The 60-page memoir ended in April and within a few months Rutka was dead. Her diary was made public in 2007.
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1943 Apr 30
Beatrice Potter Webb (b.1858), British socialist, reformer and writer, died. Her books included “My Apprenticeship” (1943).
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1943 Jul 9
American and British forces made an amphibious landing on Sicily. The 'man who never was' pulled off one of the greatest deceptions in military history--after his death. In April Britain’s Operation Mincemeat had landed the dead body of an itinerant Welsh laborer, Glyndwr Michael, disguised as a Major Martin, on the shore of Spain near Huelva. False papers on the body led the Germans to believe the allies would attack Greece and Sardinia rather than Sicily. The idea had been originally devised in 1939 as one of 51 submitted by Lt. Commander Ian Fleming. Operation Mincemeat was kept secret until 1953, the same year that “Casino Royale,” Fleming’s first James Bond novel was published.
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1943 Dec 22
Beatrix Potter (b.1866), English author, died. She first told the story of Peter Rabbit in the form of a "picture letter" to Noel Moore, the son of Potter's former governess in 1893. A 2nd illustrated letter the same month later became “The Tale of Jeremy Fisher.” The “Tale of Peter Rabbit” was published in 1901. At her death she bequeathed all her holdings, 14 farms and 4,000 acres of land, to the National Trust.
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1943
General Motors invited Peter Drucker (1909-2005), a young author, to study the company from the inside. His seminal study of General Motors: “The Concept of the Corporation” (1946) introduced the idea of decentralization as a principle of organization, in contrast to the practice of command and control in business.
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1943
Jean-Paul Sartre wrote his best play "The Flies." It was based on an ancient myth. “Being and Nothingness,” his most famous philosophical treatise, was also published this year.
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1944 Jan 6
Ida M. Tarbell (b.1857), teacher, author and muckraking journalist, died in Connecticut. She is best-known for her 1904 book “The History of the Standard Oil Company.”
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1944 Jun 6
Rose Cecil O’Neill (b.1874), illustrator, writer and creator of the Kewpie doll (1909), died.
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