John LeCarré

Prolific English novelist John le Carré ( David John Moore Cornwell), was Born 19th October 1931. His formal schooling began at St Andrew’s Preparatory School, near Pangbourne, Berkshire, then continued at Sherborne School. From 1948 to 1949, he studied foreign languages at the University of Bern in Switzerland. In 1950 he joined the Intelligence Corps of the British Army garrisoned in Austria, working as a German language interrogator of people who crossed the Iron Curtain to the West.In 1952, he returned to England to study at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he worked covertly for the British Security Service, MI5, spying upon far-left groups for information about possible Soviet agents.in 1954, Cornwell quit Oxford to teach at a boys’ preparatory school; however, a year later, he returned to Oxford and graduated, in 1956, with a First Class Honours Bachelor of Arts degree. He then taught French and German at Eton College for two years, afterwards becoming an MI5 officer in 1958; he ran agents, conducted interrogations, tapped telephone lines, and effected break-ins.

While he was an active MI5 officer, Cornwell began writing his first novel “Call for the Dead” (1961), Moreover, Lord Clanmorris was one of two inspirations – Vivian H. H. Green being the other – for George Smiley, the spymaster of the Circus.In 1960, Cornwell transferred to MI6, the foreign-intelligence service, and worked under Second Secretary’ cover in the British Embassy at Bonn; he later was transferred to Hamburg as a political consul. There, he wrote the detective story A Murder of Quality (1962) and espionage thriller The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), as ‘John le Carré’ which became an international best-seller & established him as an important writer of espionage fiction and remains one of his best known works.Following the novel’s success, Cornwell left the service in 1964 to work full-time as a novelist, as his intelligence officer career was ended by the betrayal of British agents’ covers to the KGB by Kim Philby, a British double agent (of the Cambridge Five). Le Carré depicts and analyses Philby as the upper-class traitor, code-named Gerald by the KGB, the mole George Smiley hunts in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974). Credited by his pen name, Cornwell also appears as an extra in the 2011 film version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, among the guests at the Christmas party seen in several flashback scenes

In 1964 le Carré won the Somerset Maugham Award, established to enable British writers younger than thirty-five to enrich their writing by spending time abroad.In 1990, he received the Helmerich Award which is presented annually by the Tulsa Library Trust. In 2008, The Times ranked Le Carré 22nd on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″. In 2011, he won the Goethe Medal, a yearly prize given by the Goethe Institute.In 1998, he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Bath, and In 2012, he was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa by the University of Oxford. Many of Le Carre’s novels have also been adapted for screen and television including Tinker,Tailer,soldier,spy, A Delicate Truth and A Most Wanted Man.

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Jonathan Swift

Satirist, essayist, poet and cleric Jonathan Swift sadly passed away on 19 October 1745 (aged 77), shortly after having a stroke. He was born 30 November 1667. He is remembered for works such as Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier’s Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift’s family had several interesting literary connections: His grandmother, Elizabeth (Dryden) Swift, was the niece of Sir Erasmus Dryden, grandfather of the poet John Dryden. The same grandmother’s aunt, Katherine (Throckmorton) Dryden, was a first cousin of Elizabeth, wife of Sir Walter Raleigh. His great-great grandmother, Margaret (Godwin) Swift, was the sister of Francis Godwin, author of The Man in the Moone which influenced parts of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. His uncle, Thomas Swift, married a daughter of the poet and playwright Sir William Davenant, a godson of William Shakespeare. He is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. Swift originally published all of his works under pseudonyms – such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, MB Drapier – or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of two styles of satire: the Horatian and Juvenalian styles.

In February 1702, Swift received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity College, Dublin. He then traveled to England and returned to Ireland in October, accompanied by Esther Johnson and his friend Rebecca Dingley, another member of William Temple’s household. During his visits to England in these years Swift published A Tale of a Tub and The Battle of the Books (1704) and began to gain a reputation as a writer. This led to close, lifelong friendships with Alexander Pope, John Gay, and John Arbuthnot, forming the core of the Martinus Scriblerus Club. Swift also went to London many times & was recruited by The Tory Party to support their cause as editor of The Examiner. In 1711, Swift published the political pamphlet “The Conduct of the Allies & became part of the inner circle of the Tory government, and often acted as mediator between Henry St John (Viscount Bolingbroke) the secretary of state for foreign affairs (1710–15) and Robert Harley (Earl of Oxford) lord treasurer and prime minister (1711–14).

After the death of Queen Anne in 1714 and accession of George I, the Tory leaders were tried for treason for conducting secret negotiations with France so Swift returned to Ireland, where he began to support of Irish causes, producing some of his most memorable works: Proposal for Universal Use of Irish Manufacture (1720), Drapier’s Letters (1724), and A Modest Proposal (1729), earning him the status of an Irish patriot. He began writing Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, first a surgeon, and then a captain of several ships, better known as Gulliver’s Travels.

In 1726 he visited London, staying with his old friends Alexander Pope, John Arbuthnot and John Gay, who helped him arrange for the anonymous publication of Gulliver’s Travels in 1726 It was immediately successful and was translated into. French, German, and Dutch.Swift returned to England one more time in 1727 but The visit was cut short when Swift received word that Esther Johnson was dying and rushed back home to be with her. On 28 January 1728, Esther Johnson died. Sadly After this, Death became a frequent feature in Swift’s life. In 1731 he wrote Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift. Sadly by 1738 Swift began to show signs of illness, and in 1742 he may have suffered a stroke, losing the ability to speak. Following his death he was buried in his own cathedral by Esther Johnson’s side, in accordance with his wishes. The bulk of his fortune (twelve thousand pounds) was left to found a hospital for the mentally ill, which opened in 1757. There have also been many film Animation and Television adaptations made of of the novel. including the 1939 version, a Hallmark version starring Ted Danson as Lemuel Gulliver, and the most recent one starring Jack Black.

Philip Pullman

English novelist Philip Pullman CBE, FRSL was born 19 October 1946. He is the author of several best-selling books, most notably the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, The Ruby in the Smoke and the fictionalised biography of Jesus, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. In the 1950′s After his Father’s tragic Death in an Air Accident, His mother remarried and moved to Australia, where Pullman’s discovered comic books including Superman and Batman. Around 1957 Pullman also discovered John Milton’s Paradise Lost, which would become a major influence for His Dark Materials.After returning to England From, Pullman attended Exeter College, Oxford, from 1963, receiving a Third class BA in 1968. He also discovered William Blake’s illustrations around 1970, which would later influence him greatlyIn 1970 he began teaching middle school children ages 9 to 13 at Bishop Kirk Middle School in Summertown, North Oxford and writing school plays. His first published work was The Haunted Storm, which joint-won the New English Library’s Young Writer’s Award in 1972. Galatea, an adult fantasy-fiction novel, followed in 1978, but it was his school plays which inspired his first children’s book, Count Karlstein, in 1982.

He stopped teaching around the publication of The Ruby in the Smoke (1986), his second children’s book, whose Victorian setting is indicative of Pullman’s interest in that era. Pullman also taught part-time at Westminster College, Oxford, between 1988 and 1996, continuing to write children’s stories.Around 1993 He began writing the trilogy His Dark Materials, and Volume I, Northern Lights was published in 1995 (entitled The Golden Compass in the U.S., 1996). The next two novels in the trilogy, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, soon followed. Northern Lights won the Carnegie Medal for children’s fiction in the UK in 1995. The Amber Spyglass was awarded both 2001 Whitbread Prize for best children’s book and the Whitbread Book of the Year prize in January 2002, For the 70th anniversary of the Medal it was named one of the top ten winning works by a panel, composing the ballot for a public election of the all-time favourite and became the first children’s book to receive that award. Northern Lights was also named the all-time “Carnegie of Carnegies” on 21 June 2007. The series was also placed third in the BBC’s Big Read poll, and also won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

On 23 November 2007, Pullman was made an honorary professor at Bangor University and In June 2008, he became a Fellow supporting the MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes Universitys and In 2008, The Times also named Pullman one of the “50 greatest British writers since 1945″. Pullman later wrote two companion pieces to the trilogy, entitled Lyra’s Oxford, and Once Upon a Time in the North. A third companion piece Pullman refers to as the “green book” will expand upon his character Will. He has plans for one more, the as-yet-unpublished The Book of Dust. This book is not a continuation of the trilogy but will include characters and events from His Dark Materials, he is also writing “The Adventures of John Blake”, a story for the British children’s comic The DFC, with artist John Aggs. The Golden Compass was also adapted as a film starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman, and the Ruby in the Smoke was adapted into a Television Drama starring Billie Piper.

In October 2009, he became a patron of the Palestine Festival of Literature, and continues to deliver talks and writes occasionally for The Guardian. He was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours list in 2004. He also co-judged the prestigious Christopher Tower Poetry Prize (awarded by Oxford University) in 2005 with Gillian Clarke. Pullman also began lecturing at a seminar in English at his alma mater, Exeter College, Oxford, in 2004, the same year that he was elected President of the Blake Society. In 2004 Pullman also guest-edited The Mays Anthology, a collection of new writing from students at the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge. In 2005 Pullman won the biggest prize in children’s literature, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from the Swedish Arts Council, recognising his career contribution to “children’s and young adult literature in the broadest sense”. The first volume of Pullman’s new trilogy The Book of Dust “La Belle Sauvage” was published on 19 October 2017. The as-yet-unnamed second title in “The Book of Dust” will include a character named after Nur Huda el-Wahabi, a 16-year-old victim of London’s tragic Grenfell Tower fire.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Considered to be a classic of American Literature, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, was fiirst published as The Whale by Richard Bentley of London On 18 October 1851. The story tells the adventures of wandering sailor Ishmael who finds work on a whaling ship . So On a cold, gloomy night in December, he arrives at the Spouter-Inn in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and ends up sharing a room with a, a heavily tattooed Polynesian harpooner named Queequeg. Over time the two become close friends and decide to sail together from Nantucket, Massachusetts, on an ill fated whaling voyage, aboard the Pequod, commanded by the illusive Captain Ahab, who is nowhere to be seen. The two friends encounter a mysterious man named Elijah on the dock after they sign their papers who hints that Ahab could be trouble. Then Ishmael spots dark figures in the mist, apparently boarding the Pequod shortly before it sets sail on Christmas Morning. The ship’s officers direct the early voyage while Ahab stays in his cabin. The chief mate is, Starbuck, a serious, sincere Quaker and fine leader; second mate is Stubb, happy-go-lucky and cheerful and always smoking his pipe; the third mate is Flask, short and stout but thoroughly reliable. Some time after sailing, Ahab finally appears on the quarter-deck one morning, an imposing, frightening figure whose haunted visage sends shivers over the narrator. One of his legs is missing from the knee down and has been replaced by a prosthesis fashioned from a sperm whale’s jawbone.

After gathering the crewmen together, with a rousing speech Ahab secures their support for his single, secret purpose for this voyage: hunting down and killing Moby Dick, an old, very large sperm whale, with a snow-white hump and mottled skin, that crippled Ahab on his last whaling voyage and destroyed Ahab’s ship, driving Ahab to take revenge. Only Starbuck shows any sign of resistance to the charismatic but monomaniacal captain. . Eventually even Starbuck acquiesces to Ahab’s will, though harboring serious misgivings. Ahab meanwhile, has secretly brought along his own boat crew, including a mysterious harpooneer named Fedallah (also referred to as ‘the Parsee’), an inscrutable figure with a sinister influence over Ahab, who predicts bad things will occur during the voyage.

After entering the Pacific Ocean. Queequeg becomes deathly ill and requests that a coffin be built for him by the ship’s carpenter. Just as everyone has given up hope word is heard from other whalers of Moby Dick. The jolly Captain Boomer of the Samuel Enderby has lost an arm to the whale, and is stunned at Ahab’s burning need for revenge. Next they meet the Rachel, which has seen Moby Dick very recently and has lost many crew as a result of the encounter, but Ahab is resolute in his quest. They then meet another vessel ‘Delight” who have had a crew member killed by Moby Dick.

The next day, the Pequod encounters Moby Dick, and Ahab gives the order to clobber him. Moby Dick on the other hand is having none of it and wreaks havoc causing widespread destruction, inadvertently drowning many people in the process, and it becomes clear that while Ahab is a vengeful whale-hunter, Moby Dick, while dangerous and fearless, is not motivated to hunt humans but by self preservation. So Starbuck exhorts Ahab one last time to desist, sadly though Ahab decides to ignore the voice of reason and continue with his ill-fated chase which predictably ends in tragedy for most of the crew of the Pequod who meet a watery fate…

Moby Dick has also been adapted for screen and television numerous times, most notably starring Gregory Peck and Patrick Stewart as Captain Ahab.

Oscar Wilde

Prolific Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde was Born 16 October 1854. He became one of London’s most popular playwrights during the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams and plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment which was followed by his early death.Wilde’s parents were successful Dublin intellectuals. Their son became fluent in French and German early in life. At university Wilde read Greats; he proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. He became known for his involvement in the rising philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin.

After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles. As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States and Canada on the new “English Renaissance in Art”, and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress, and glittering conversation, Wilde had become one of the most well-known personalities of his day.At the turn of the 1890s, he refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). Oscar Wilde then wrote Salome (1891) in French in Paris but it was refused a licence. Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, making him one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London.

At the height of his fame and success, while The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, prosecuted for libel, a charge carrying a penalty of up to two years in prison. Unfortunately The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years’ hard labour. In prison he wrote De Profundis (written in 1897 and published in 1905), a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. Upon his release he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. Amazingly despite the success of his novels, Wilde died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six on 30th November 1900. However. His novels continue to remain popular and have been adapted for Radio, Television and film numerous times.

Learn a word day/National Dictionary Day

Learn a word day and National Dictionary Day both take place annually on 16 October. National Dictionary Day celebrates the birth anniversary of American lexicographer, Noah Webster. Who was Born on October 16, 1758, and is best known for publishing An American Dictionary of the English Language, the precursor of the now famous and widely used Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

American lexicographer, English-language spelling reformer, political writer, editor, textbook pioneer and prolific author Noah Webster Jr. was born October 16, 1758 in West Hartford, Connecticut, Webster graduated from Yale College in 1778. He passed the bar examination after studying law under Oliver Ellsworth and others, but was unable to find work as a lawyer. He found some financial success by opening a private school and writing a series of educational books, including the “Blue-Backed Speller.”

In 1793, Alexander Hamilton recruited Webster who then moved to New York City and become an editor for a Federalist Party newspaper. He became a prolific author, publishing newspaper articles, political essays, and textbooks. He returned to Connecticut in 1798 and served in the Connecticut House of Representatives. Webster founded the Connecticut Society for the Abolition of Slavery in 1791 but later became somewhat disillusioned with the abolitionist movement.

In 1806, Webster published his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. The following year, he started working on an expanded and comprehensive dictionary, finally publishing it in 1828. He was very influential in popularizing certain spellings in the United States. He was also influential in establishing the Copyright Act of 1831, the first major statutory revision of U.S. copyright law. While working on a second volume of his dictionary. Webster was A strong supporter of the American Revolution and the ratification of the United States Constitution, Webster hoped his educational works would provide an intellectual foundation for American nationalism; ironically though by 1820 he became a critic of the society he helped create.

Webster died May 28 1843, and the rights to the dictionary were acquired by George and Charles Merriam. He has been called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education”. His blue-backed speller books taught five generations of American children how to spell and read. Webster’s name has become synonymous with “dictionary” in the United States, especially the modern Merriam-Webster dictionary that was first published in 1828 as An American Dictionary of the English Language.

Jame Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

The novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë was published October 16 1847. it takes place in the north of England, during the reign of George III (1760–1820). It features a character named Jane Eyre who spent her childhood at Gateshead Hall, with her maternal uncle’s family, the Reeds, Where she is emotionally and physically abused by her aunt and cousins. The nursemaid Bessie proves to be Jane’s only ally in the household, even though Bessie sometimes harshly scolds Jane. Excluded from the family activities, Jane is incredibly unhappy, with only a doll and books for comfort. One day, she has an altercation with her cousin John Reed and is locked in the red room where her uncle died; there, she faints from panic after she thinks she has seen his ghos

She is subsequently attended to by the kindly apothecary Mr. Lloyd to whom Jane reveals how unhappy she is living at Gateshead Hall. He recommends to Mrs. Reed that Jane should be sent to school. So she is sent to Lowood Institution, a harsh charity school for girls under the sinister Mr. Brocklehurst, where she befriends an older girl, Helen Burns and Miss Temple, the caring superintendent, who helps Jane’s self-defence against Brocklehurst’s accusations. The 80 pupils at Lowood are subjected to cold rooms, poor meals, and thin clothing. Many students fall ill when a typhus epidemic strikes, and Jane’s friend Helen dies. When Mr. Brocklehurst’s maltreatment of the students is discovered, several benefactors erect a new building and install a sympathetic management committee to moderate Mr. Brocklehurst’s harsh rule. Conditions at the school then improve dramatically.

After six years as a student and two as a teacher at Lowood, Jane leaves Lowood and advertises her services as a governess and receives one reply, from Alice Fairfax, housekeeper at Thornfield Hall. Jane takes the position, teaching Adèle Varens, a young French girl. Jane encounters Edward Rochester, master of Thornfield Hall and discovers that Adèle is his ward, left in his care when her mother abandoned her. Odd things start to happen at the house, such as a strange laugh, a mysterious fire in Mr. Rochester’s room (from which Jane saves Rochester), and an attack on a house guest named Mr. Mason. Then Jane learns that her aunt Mrs. Reed is calling for her, after suffering a stroke when her son John died, so Jane returns to Gateshead to attend to her dying aunt. The villainous Mrs. Reed gives Jane a letter from Jane’s paternal uncle, Mr. John Eyre, in which he asks for her to live with him and be his heir. Mrs. Reed admits to telling Mr. Eyre that Jane had died of fever at Lowood.

Back at Thornfield, Mr. Rochester is betrothed to the beautiful and talented, but snobbish and heartless, Blanche Ingram. However Jane reveals her feelings for him. Rochester learns that Jane is in love with him, so he proposes, however Jane is sceptical at first but eventually believes him and gladly agrees to marry him. As she prepares for her wedding, a strange woman sneaks into Jane’s room one night and rips her wedding veil in two. Mr. Rochester attributes the incident to Grace Poole, one of his servants. During the wedding ceremony, Mr. Mason and a lawyer declare that Mr. Rochester cannot marry because he is already married to Mr. Mason’s sister, Bertha. Mr. Rochester admits this is true but discovered that she was rapidly descending into congenital madness, so he locked her away in Thornfield, hiring Grace Poole as a nurse to look after her. When Grace got drunk, Rochester’s wife escaped and caused the mysterious events at Thornfield. Jane also discovers that her uncle, Mr. John Eyre, is a friend of Mr. Mason’s. Mr. Rochester asks Jane to go with him to the south of France, and live with him as husband and wife, even though they cannot be married. Refusing to go against her principles, and despite her love for him, Jane leaves Thornfield.

Jane leaves Thornfield. Tired and hungry She eventually arrives at the home of Diana and Mary Rivers, but is turned away by the housekeeper. She collapses on the doorstep. Luckily St. John Rivers, Diana, Mary’s brother and a clergyman, save her. After she recovers Jane gets a teaching position at a nearby village school. St. John learns Jane’s true identity and astounds her by telling her that her uncle, John Eyre, has died and left her his entire fortune of 20,000 pounds (equivalent to over £1.3 million in 2011 and reveals more about John Eyre. Jane, discover that she has more living family members, and Diana and Mary come back to live at Moor House. St. John then asks Jane to marry him and to go with him to India. Jane initially accepts going to India but suggests they travel as brother and sister instead. Jane then returns to Thornfield but discovers that tragedy has befallen Mr Rochester…