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1785 Apr
Elizabeth Marsh (b.1735), traveler and writer, died of breast cancer in Calcutta, India. In 1769 she had published “The Female Captive,” an account of her captivity in a Muslim court. In 2007 Linda Colley authored “The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History.”
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1785
The Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) authored “The 120 Days of Sodom.” It tells the story of four wealthy male libertines who resolve to experience the ultimate sexual gratification in orgies.
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1787
Peter Markoe (1752?-1792) authored “An Algerine Spy in Pennsylvania.” His satirical provocation helped to push the US Congress authorized a Navy and to dispatch Marines to subdue the pirates of Tripoli.
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1789
Rev. Gilbert White (1720-1793) authored “The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, in the County of Southampton.” One chapter was about a local tortoise named Timothy. In 2006 Verlyn Klinkenborg authored “Timothy; Or, Notes Of an Abject Reptile,” a look at the parson from the point of view of the tortoise.
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1791 May 16
James Boswell’s celebrated 2-volume work, "The Life of Samuel Johnson," was published. In 2001 Adam Sisman authored "Boswell’s Presumptuous Task," an account of how Boswell came to write the Johnson biography.
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1794 Nov 3
Thomas Paine was released from a Parisian jail with help from the American ambassador James Monroe. He had been arrested in 1893 for not endorsing the execution of Louis XVI and thus offending the Robespierre faction. While in prison Paine began writing his "The Age of Reason" (1794-1796).
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1795 May 19
James Boswell (54), friend and biographer of Samuel Johnson, died. His 1791 biography, the Life of Samuel Johnson,” changed the way biographies were written by its emphasis on character and careful research.
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1796
British writer Jane Austen (b.1775) began her novel “Pride and Prejudice.” Its initial title was “first Impressions.” It was finally published in 1830.
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1797 Jul 9
Edmund Burke (b.1729), Irish-born British statesman, parliament leader, died. His writing included “Reflections on the Revolution in France” (1790). In 2013 Jesse Norman authored “Edmund Burke: The First Conservative.” In 2014 David Bromwich authored “The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke: From the Sublime and Beautiful to American Independence.
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1797 Aug 30
Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) Shelley (d.1851), the creator of "Frankenstein," or the Modern Prometheus, was born in London. Her mother died days later.
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1797 Sep 10
Mary Wollstonecraft (b.1759), English writer, philosopher, advocate of women's rights and the spouse of journalist William Godwin, died of septicemia. This was several days after the birth of her daughter, who later as Mary Shelley authored Frankenstein.
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1797
Mrs. Gannett of Mass. (1760-1827), born as Deborah Sampson, authored her memoir. She had fought in the American Revolution as a man under the alias Robert Shurtleff. In 2004 Alfred F. Young authored "Masquerade: The Life and Times of Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier.”
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1797
Thomas Paine (1737-1809), English-American political activist, authored the pamphlet Agrarian Justice. Here he discussed the origins of property and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income.
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1798 Jun 4
Giovanni Jacopo Casanova (b.1725), fabled Italian seducer, adventurer, spy, librarian, died of prostate cancer in Dux, Bohemia. While at Dux he authored his memoirs: “History of My Life.” The standard English edition runs over 3,600 pages. In 2008 Ian Kelly authored “Casanova: Actor, Lover, Priest, Spy.”
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1798
Thomas Robert Malthus authored his “An Essay on the Principle of Population As it affects the future improvement of society with remarks on the speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and other writers.” His forecast for a population crash was based on the calculation that it was impossible to improve wheat yields as fast as people make babies. His 2nd edition in 1803 introduced the idea of moral restraint.
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1799 May 20
Honore de Balzac, French novelist, was born in Tours, France. He is considered the founder of the realistic school and wrote "The Human Comedy" and "Lost Illusions."
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1801
1806
Alexandre Dumas (d.1870) covered these years of French history in an 1869 serialized novel printed in the journal, "The Universal Monitor." In the 1980s Claude Schopp, a retired French lecturer, discovered the epic novel on microfilm. He got it published under the title "Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine," and in 2005 it became a top ten seller.
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1801
Francois Rene de Chateaubriand (1768-1848), French writer, authored his novel “Atala” following a trip to the US.
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1802
French author Chateaubriand authored “Rene” and introduced to the world the French youth whose existence embodied the mal du sičcle.
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1803 May 25
Ralph Waldo Emerson (d.1882), American essayist and philosopher, was born. A biography of Emerson that includes information about his friends was written in 1996 by Carlos Baker and titled: "Emerson Among the Eccentrics: A Group Portrait." It includes such people as: the transcendental visionary Bronson Alcott, essayist Henry David Thoreau, mad poet Jones Very, activist Margaret Fuller, poet Ellery Channing. Other people included are Hawthorne, Melville, Theodore Parker, and the family of Henry James. "Money often costs too much."
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1803 Sep 28
Prosper Merimee (d.1870), archeologist and playwright (Carmen-1845), was born in Paris, France.
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1804 Jul 1
George Sand (Amandine-Aurore Lucille Dupin de Francueil, d.1876), French novelist, was born in Paris. She wrote some 80 novels that included “Consuelo” (1842) and “La Comtesse de Rudolstadt” (1843). In 1975 Curtis Cate published the biography: "George Sand." "I would rather believe that God did not exist than believe that He was indifferent."
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1809 Jun 8
Thomas Paine (b.1737), British born political essayist, died in poverty and obscurity in NYC at age 72. His revolutionary essays included “Common Sense” (1776), "The Rights of Man" (1991/1792) and "The Age of Reason" (1794-1796), which he started while imprisoned in France. His body was exhumed in 1819 by William Cobbett, shipped to England, and kept in an attic trunk till Cobbett died in 1835. Parts of his skeleton were later said to be sold at auction. In 2006 Craig Nelson authored “Thomas Paine” and Harvey J. Kaye authored “Thomas Paine and the Promise of America.”
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1809 Nov 27
Frances Anne "Fanny" Kemble (d.1893), Shakespearian actress and writer, was born in London, England.
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1809 Nov 27
Frances Anne "Fanny" Kemble (d.1893), Shakespearian actress, writer and anti-slavery activist, was born in London, England. Her work included "Journal of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation.
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1810 Aug 29
Juan Bautista Alberdi (d,1884), Argentine politician, writer, was born.
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1811
The book "Sense and Sensibility," by Jane Austen (1775-1817), was published. It appeared anonymously as “written by a lady.”
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1812 Mar 25
(OS) Alexander Herzen (d.1870), Russian author, was born. "Life has taught me to think, but thinking has not taught me how to live."
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1813
1820
The classic Vietnamese love poem "The Tale of Kieu" was written by Nguyen Du (1766-1820). It was based on an earlier Chinese novel entitled "The story of Kim-Van-Kieu ", written by an author under the pen-name of "Thanh-Tam Tai-Nhan" in the 16th or the early 17th century.
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1815 Aug
The merchant ship Commerce, under Capt. James Riley (1877-1939) of Connecticut, wrecked off the northwest coast of Africa. He survived captivity under Muslim slave traders and endured a lengthy trek across the Sahara. He later authored “Sufferings in Africa” (1817) and "An authentic Narrative of the Loss of the American Brig Commerce" (1818). In 2004 Dean King authored "Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival."
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1815
The novel "Emma," by English writer Jane Austen (1774-1817), was published.
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1816 Dec 10
The estranged wife of poet Percy Shelley committed suicide by drowning in London’s Hyde Park. 20 days later Percy married Mary Godwin, author of “Frankenstein” (1818).
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1816
Lord Byron and guests gathered at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva, Switz. It was here that Byron challenged his guests to write a ghost story. This led Mary Shelley to produce Frankenstein in 1818 and John Polidori to create his short story “The Vampyre” (1819).
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1817 Jul 14
Madame de Stael (51), writer and daughter of former French finance minister Jacques Necker, died. She was intimate with Benjamin Constant and their intellectual collaboration made them one of the most important intellectual pairs of their time. In 2005 Maria Fairweather authored “Madame de Stael.” In 2008 Renee Winegarten authored the dual biography “Germaine de Stael & Benjamin Constant.”
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1817 Jul 18
Jane Austen (b.1775), English writer, died at age 41. In 1869 her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh published “A Memoir of Jane Austen.” Austen had introduced a new narrative style which moved deftly between the narrator’s voice and the character’s innermost thoughts.
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1817 Dec
The book “Northanger Abbey,” by English novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817), was published following her death in July. It was written around 1798-1799 and revised in 1803.
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1817
Thomas Love Peacock, a friend and neighbor of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, authored his comic novel “Melincourt.” A character in the novel was based on Shelley.
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1818 Jan 1
The novel "Frankenstein" by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) was published anonymously. It was an attack on industrialization. The work stemmed from a contest in 1816 at Byron’s Villa Diodati in Geneva, between Byron, Shelley and Mary to produce a ghost story. In 1998 Joan Kane Nichols published "Mary Shelley: Frankenstein’s Creator." In 2006 Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler authored “The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein.” In 2007 Susan Tyler Hitchcock authored “Frankenstein: A Cultural History.”
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1818 Apr
Dr. John William Polidori published “The Vampyre,” a novel based on an unpublished story fragment by Lord Byron. Polidori was Byron’s personal physician.
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1818 Oct 28
Ivan Turgenev (d.1883), Russian novelist, poet, playwright (Fathers & Sons), was born. [Old Style date]
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1818 Nov 9
Ivan Turgenev, Russian author, was born. His work includes "Fathers and Sons" and "A Month in the Country." [New Style date]
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1819 Nov 22
George Eliot (d.1880), English writer, was born as Mary Ann Evans. Her books included “Adam Bede,” “Silas Marner” and “Middlemarch.” She was driven out of England with her companion, G.H. Lewes, for a while for not being married. Her books tore away the curtain of Victorian life and revealed its bitter small-mindedness for anyone to see. "The happiest women, like the happiest nations, have no history."
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1820
Nguyen Du (b.1766), author of “The Tale of Kieu,” died. His Vietnamese epic tells the story of woman who sells herself into prostitution to pay off her father’s debt.
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1824 Jan 8
William Wilkie Collins, English novelist (Woman in White), was born.
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1825
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), French lawyer and professor, invented the genre of food writing with his book “The Physiology of Taste.”
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1828
Rene Auguste Caillie of France reached Timbuktu disguised as a Muslim trader. In 1830 he published an account of his journey.
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1829
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) published his first literary work: “A Walking Tour from Holmen’s Canal to the Eastern Point of Amager.”
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1829
William Cobbett, British writer, authored “The Emigrant’s Guide,” offering advice on settling in the New World.
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1830 Sep 18
William Hazlitt (b.1778), in his time England’s finest essayist, died. "A nickname is the heaviest stone that the devil can throw at a man." In 2008 Duncan Wu authored “William Hazlitt: The First Modern Man.”
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1830 Dec 8
Henri-Benjamin Constant de Rebecque (b.1767), Swiss-born thinker, writer and French politician, died. He was intimate with Anne Louise Germaine de Staël and their intellectual collaboration made them one of the most important intellectual pairs of their time. In 2008 Renee Winegarten authored the dual biography “Germaine de Stael & Benjamin Constant.”
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1830
Stendhal (1783-1842), the nom de plume of French author Henri Beyle, authored “The Red and the Black,” the story of a peasant who reaches for upward mobility through the favors of two mistresses.
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1831 Nov 8
Edward R.L. Bulwer-Lytton (d.1891), English writer, was born.
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1832 Feb 22
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (b.1749), poet, (Faust, Egmont) died in Weimar, Germany. Goethe had served as minister of mines under Bismarck. He completed "Faust" just before his death: "When Ideas fail, words come in handy." In 1988 Kenneth Weisinger authored "The Classical Facade: A Non-Classical Reading of Goethe's Criticism." In 2006 John Armstrong authored “Love, Life, Goethe: How to Be Happy in an Imperfect World.”
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1832 Sep 21
Sir Walter Scott (b.1771), Scottish novelist who wrote "Ivanhoe" and "Rob Roy," died at Abbotsford near Melrose in the Scottish Borders. Scott was later credited with inventing the genre of historical fiction.
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1832 Sep 21
Sir Walter Scott (b.1771), Scottish poet and novelist, died at Abbotsford near Melrose in the Scottish Borders. His novels included "Ivanhoe" and "Rob Roy." Scott was later credited with inventing the genre of historical fiction. In 2010 Stuart Kelley authored “Scott-land: The Man Who Invented a Nation.”
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1832 Nov 29
Louisa May Alcott (d.1888), American author who wrote "Little Women," was born in Germantown, Pa. Under the pen name A.M. Barnard she wrote stories of violence and revenge that included "Pauline’s Passion and Punishment." "It takes people a long time to learn the difference between talent and genius, especially ambitious young men and women."
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1834 Dec 27
Charles Lamb (b.1775), English critic, poet, essayist, died. "No one ever regarded the first of January with indifference. It is the nativity of our common Adam."
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1834
Frederick Marryat authored the novel “Jacob Faithfully.” The term Shiver My Timbers!, an expletive denoting surprise or disbelief, was first seen in this book. It alluded to a ship's striking a rock or shoal so hard that her timbers shiver. In 1881, Robert Louis Stevenson found the term to be the perfect exclamation for the irascible Long John Silver: "So! Shiver me timbers, here's Jim Hawkins!" This stereotypical expletive became extremely popular with writers of sea yarns and Hollywood swashbucklers.
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1835 Apr 17
William Henry Ireland (b.1775)), English forger of Shakespeare’s works, died. He is less well-known as a poet, writer of gothic novels and histories.
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1835 Apr
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) published novel “Improvisatore,” an alternative version of his own life based on his travel experiences in Italy.
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