Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Today in Literary History —> Today we remember French writer and aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who passed away in an avitation accident on this day in 1944. Best remembered for his Le Petit Prince, Saint-Exupéry became a laureate of several of France’s highest literary awards and also won the U.S. National Book Award. Today his Le Petit Prince is among the most translated books in the world.

Franz Kafka, the little girl and her doll

Based on an entry in Franz Kafka’s diary:

At 40, Franz Kafka (1883-1924), who never married and had no children, walked through the park in Berlin when he met a girl who was crying because she had lost her favourite doll. She and Kafka searched for the doll unsuccessfully.

Kafka told her to meet him there the next day and they would come back to look for her.

The next day, when they had not yet found the doll, Kafka gave the girl a letter “written” by the doll saying “please don’t cry. I took a trip to see the world. I will write to you about my adventures.”

Thus began a story which continued until the end of Kafka’s life.

During their meetings, Kafka read the letters of the doll carefully written with adventures and conversations that the girl found adorable.

Finally, Kafka brought back the doll (he bought one) that had returned to Berlin.

“It doesn’t look like my doll at all,” said the girl.

Kafka handed her another letter in which the doll wrote: “my travels have changed me.” the little girl hugged the new doll and brought the doll with her to her happy home.

A year later Kafka died.

Many years later, the now-adult girl found a letter inside the doll. In the tiny letter signed by Kafka it was written:

“Everything you love will probably be lost, but in the end, love will return in another way.”

Embrace the change. It’s inevitable for growth. Together we can shift pain into wonder and love, but it is up to us to consciously and intentionally create that connection.

Most Nobel Prize for Literature Winners

Q: What country has produced the most Nobel Prize for Literature winners?

A: France (15 received, 1 declined)

1. Patrick Modiano, Literature, 2014

2. J. M. G. Le Clézio, Literature, 2008

3. Gao Xingjian, born in China, Literature, 2000

4. Claude Simon, Literature, 1985

5. Jean-Paul Sartre, (declined the prize), Literature, 1964

6. Saint-John Perse, Literature, 1960

7. Albert Camus, born in French Algeria, Literature, 1957

8. François Mauriac, Literature, 1952

9. André Gide, Literature, 1947

10. Roger Martin du Gard, Literature, 1937

11. Ivan Bunin, born in Russia, Literature, 1933

12. Henri Bergson, Literature, 1927

13. Anatole France, Literature, 1921

14. Romain Rolland, Literature, 1915

15. Frédéric Mistral, Literature, 1904

16. Sully Prudhomme, Literature, 1901

Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Marry

On this day in 1816, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin wed. The pair had run away together in July 1814, but because Shelley was already married they were unable to marry for two years, until the death of Shelley’s wife. While living in Geneva, the Shelleys and their dear friend Lord Byron challenged each other to write a compelling ghost story. Only Mary Shelley finished hers and later published the story as Frankenstein.

#LiteraryHistory #Shelley

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Today in 1916 – “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” the first novel by James Joyce, was first published as a book by an American publishing house B. W. Huebschis after it had been serialized in The Egoist (1914–15).

A so-so copy of the first edition of that book will run you around $3800, but that’s not nearly as much as a first edition of Ulysses, which will cost you about $40,000 unsigned and $150,000 signed (only 1000 copies were printed).