Robert Crais

The American crime fiction author, Robert Crais was born June 20 1953, in Independence, Louisiana. He was adopted and raised as an only child. He attended Louisiana State University and studied mechanical engineering. He later moved to Hollywood in 1976 and began a career writing scripts for television shows such as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, Quincy, Miami Vice and L.A. Law.

Crais started writing detective fiction, this was inspired by the novels of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, Robert B. Parker and John Steinbeck. He was also nominated for an Emmy award. Following the death of his father in 1985,  he published his first novel, The Monkey’s Raincoat, which won the 1988 Anthony Award for “Best First Novel” and the 1988 Mystery Readers International Macavity Award for “Best Paperback Original”.

In 2006 Crais was awarded the Ross Macdonald Literary Award and in 2010 the Private Eye Writers of America’s (PWA) Lifetime Achievement Award The Eye. In 2014 he is scheduled to receive the Mystery Writers of America’s (MWA) Grand Master Award.his novels include: The Monkey’s Raincoat, Demolition Angel, Hostage, Suspect, and The Two-Minute Rule, all of Crais’ books feature Cole and Pike, with The Watchman (2007), The First Rule (2010) and The Sentry (2011) centering on Joe Pike. The 2012 Detctive Novel Taken is the fifteenth in a series of linked novels centering on the character Elvis Cole and the 2005 film, Hostage, was also an adaptation of one of his books.

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Jaws

The film Jaws was released 20 June 1975 it was inspired by the novel by Peter Benchley who was himself inspired by reports of several great white sharks caught in the 1960s off Long Island and Block Island by the Montauk charterboat captain Frank Mundus. Steven Spielberg initially found many of the characters unsympathetic and wanted the shark to win. Book critics such as Michael A. Rogers of Rolling Stone shared the sentiment however the book struck a chord with readers. Benchley also co-wrote the screenplay with Carl Gottlieb (along with the uncredited Howard Sackler and John Milius, who provided the first draft of a monologue about the USS Indianapolis) for the Spielberg film released in 1975. Benchley made a cameo appearance as a news reporter on the beach. The film, starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss, was released in the summer season, with editing by Verna Fields, score by John Williams and directed by Steven Spielberg who was credited with infusing the film with such an air of understated menace that he was hailed as the heir apparent to “Master of Suspense” Alfred Hitchcock. Jaws became the first film to gross over $100 million in United States and grossed over $470 million worldwide.

The film takes place in Amity Island, Where the grisly remains of a young woman who went swimming in the ocean are discovered. The medical examiner rules the death a shark attack which leads Police Chief Martin Brody to close the beaches. However Mayor Larry Vaughn overrules him, fearing it will ruin the town’s summer economy. The coroner now concurs with the mayor’s theory that the girl was killed in a boating accident. Brody reluctantly accepts their conclusion until another fatal shark attack occurs shortly after. A bounty is then placed on the shark, resulting in an amateur shark-hunting frenzy. Local professional shark hunter Quint offers his services for $10,000. Meanwhile, consulting oceanographer Matt Hooper examines the first victim’s remains and confirms the death was from a shark attack.

When local fishermen catch a large tiger shark, the mayor proclaims the beaches safe. However no human remains are found inside it. Hooper and Brody find a half-sunken vessel while searching the night waters in Hooper’s boat. Underwater, Hooper retrieves a sizable great white shark’s tooth embedded in the submerged hull. He drops it after finding a partial corpse. Vaughn discounts Brody and Hooper’s claims that a huge great white shark is responsible and refuses to close the beaches, for the Fourth of July weekend, when tourists pack the beaches.

Following a juvenile prank, the real shark enters a nearby estuary, killing a boater and Brody finally convinces a devastated Vaughn to hire Quint. Quint, Brody, and Hooper set out on Quint’s boat, the Orca, to hunt the shark. While Brody lays down a chum line, Quint waits for an opportunity to hook the shark which suddenly appears before disappearing beneath the waves. However the Great White returns later and damages the boat which starts sinking so they make for shore but the engine gives up. So Hooper dons scuba gear and enters the water in a shark-proof cage, intending to lethally inject the shark with strychnine using a hypodermic spear. However The shark demolishes the cage before attacking the boat directly, killing Quint. Trapped on the sinking vessel, Brody is left to deal with the shark himself.

The film spawned three sequels, two video games, Jaws in 1987 and Jaws Unleashed in 2006 and was also adapted into a theme park attraction at Universal Studios Florida (in Orlando, Florida and Hollywood), and two musicals: JAWS The Musical!, which premiered in the summer of 2004 at the Minnesota Fringe Festival; and Giant Killer Shark: The Musical, which premiered in the summer of 2006 at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

J. M. Barrie

Best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan, The Scottish author and dramatist, Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM sadly died 19 June 1937 after contracting Pneumonia. He was born 9 May 1860 in Kirriemuir, he was the child of a family of small-town weavers. At the age of 8, Barrie was sent to The Glasgow Academy, Scotland, in the care of his eldest siblings Alexander and Mary Ann, who taught at the school. When he was 10 he returned home and continued his education at the Forfar Academy. At 14, he left home for Dumfries Academy, again under the watch of Alexander and Mary Ann. He became a voracious reader, and was fond of Penny Dreadfuls, and the works of Robert Michael Ballantyne and James Fenimore Cooper.

At Dumfries he and his friends spent time in the garden of Moat Brae house, playing pirates “in a sort of Odyssey that was long afterwards to become the play of Peter Pan”.They formed a drama club, producing his first play Bandelero the Bandit, which provoked a minor controversy following a scathing moral denunciation from a clergyman on the school’s governing board. Barrie wished to follow a career as an author, but was dissuaded by his family who wanted him to have a profession such as the ministry. With advice from Alec, he was able to work out a compromise: he was to attend a university, but would study literature. He enrolled at the University of Edinburgh, where he wrote drama reviews for the Edinburgh Evening Courant. He graduated and obtained a M.A. on 21 April 1882.

He worked for a year and a half as a staff journalist on the Nottingham Journal following a job advertisement found by his sister in The Scotsman, then returned to Kirriemuir, using his mother’s stories about the town (which he renamed “Thrums”) for a piece submitted to the newspaper St. James’s Gazette in London. The editor ‘liked that Scotch thing’, so Barrie wrote a series of them, which served as the basis for his first novels: Auld Licht Idylls (1888), A Window in Thrums (1890), and The Little Minister, which eventually established Barrie as a successful writer. After the success of the “Auld Lichts”, he printed Better Dead (1888) privately and at his own expense, and it failed to sell. His two “Tommy” novels, Sentimental Tommy (1896) and Tommy and Grizel (1900), were about a boy and young man who clings to childish fantasy, with an unhappy ending.

Barrie began writing for the theatre, beginning with a biography of Richard Savage and written by both Barrie and H.B. Marriott Watson, this was followed by Ibsen’s Ghost (or Toole Up-to-Date) (1891), a parody of Henrik Ibsen’s dramas Hedda Gabler and Ghosts. His third play, Walker, London (1892), helped him be introduced to a young actress named Mary Ansell. He proposed to her and they were married on 9 July 1894. Barrie bought her a Saint Bernard puppy, who would play a part in the novel The Little White Bird (or Adventures in Kensington Gardens). He also gave Ansell’s given name to many characters in his novels. He then wrote Jane Annie, a failed comic opera for Richard D’Oyly Carte (1893), which he begged his friend Arthur Conan Doyle to revise and finish for him. In 1901 and 1902 he had back-to-back successes: Quality Street, about a responsible ‘old maid’ who poses as her own flirtatious niece to win the attention of a former suitor returned from the war; and The Admirable Crichton, a critically acclaimed social commentary with elaborate staging, about an aristocratic household shipwrecked on a desert island, in which the butler naturally rises to leadership over his lord and ladies for the duration of their time away from civilisation.

Peter Pan first appeared in his novel The Little White Bird, in 1902, and later in Barrie’s more famous and enduring work, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, a “fairy play” about an ageless boy and an ordinary girl named Wendy who have adventures in the fantasy setting of Neverland. This was inspired by the Llewelyn Davis Boys whom he met in London who suggested a baby boy who has magical adventures in Kensington Gardens (included in The Little White Bird). It had its first stage performance on 27 December 1904. It has been performed innumerable times since then, and was developed by Barrie into the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy. It has since been adapted into feature films, musicals, and more. The Bloomsbury scenes show the societal constraints of late Victorian and Edwardian middle-class domestic reality, contrasted with Neverland, a world where morality is ambivalent. George Bernard Shaw’s description of the play as “ostensibly a holiday entertainment for children but really a play for grown-up people”, suggests deeper social metaphors at work in Peter Pan.

Following Peter Pan Barrie had many more successes on the stage including The Twelve Pound Look which concerns a wife divorcing a peer and gaining an independent income. Other plays, such as Mary Rose and a subplot in Dear Brutus, revisit the idea of the ageless child. Later plays included What Every Woman Knows (1908). His final play was The Boy David (1936), which dramatised the Biblical story of King Saul and the young David. Like the role of Peter Pan, that of David was played by a woman, Elisabeth Bergner, for whom Barrie wrote the play.

Barrie had many Friends including Novelist George Meredith, fellow Scot Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived in Samoa at the time, George Bernard Shaw who was his neighbour in London for several years, . H. G. Wells was also a friend of many years, and Barrie met Thomas Hardy through Hugh Clifford while he was staying in London. Although Barrie continued to write, Peter Pan quickly overshadowed his previous work and became his best-known work, and is credited with popularising the name Wendy, which was very uncommon previously. Barrie unofficially adopted the Davies boys following the deaths of their parents and was made a baronet by George V in 1913, and a member of the Order of Merit in 1922.

Barrie is buried at Kirriemuir next to his parents and two of his siblings. He left the bulk of his estate (excluding the Peter Pan works, which he had previously given to Great Ormond Street Hospital in April 1929) to his secretary Cynthia Asquith. His birthplace at 4 Brechin Road is maintained as a museum by the National Trust for Scotland. However, Ormond Street Hospital, continues to benefit from the somewhat complex arrangement.

Stan Laurel

English comic actor, writer and film director Stan Laurel was born 16 June 1890 he is most famous for his role in the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy alongside his comedy partner Oliver Hardy with whom he appeared in 107 short films, feature films and cameo roles. Laurel began his career in the British music hall, from where he took a number of his standard comic devices: the bowler hat, the deep comic gravity, and the nonsensical understatement. His performances polished his skills at pantomime and music hall sketches. Laurel was a member of “Fred Karno’s Army,” where he was Charlie Chaplin’s understudy.The two arrived in the US on the same ship from Britain with the Karno troupe. Laurel went into films in the US, with his acting career stretching between 1917 and 1951, and from “silents” to “talkies.” It included a starring role in the film The Music Box (1932).

Laurel signed with the Hal Roach studio, where he began directing films, including a 1926 production called Yes, Yes, Nanette. He intended to work primarily as a writer and director, but fate stepped in. In 1927, Oliver Hardy, another member of the Hal Roach Studios Comedy All Star players, was injured in a kitchen mishap, and Laurel was asked to return to acting. Laurel and Hardy began sharing the screen in Slipping Wives, Duck Soup (1927) and With Love and Hisses. The two became friends and their comic chemistry soon became obvious. Roach Studios’ supervising director Leo McCarey noticed the audience reaction to them and began teaming them, leading to the creation of the Laurel and Hardy series later that year.

Together, the two men began producing a huge body of short films, including The Battle of the Century, Should Married Men Go Home?, Two Tars, Be Big!, Big Business, and many others. Laurel and Hardy successfully made the transition to talking films with the short Unaccustomed As We Are in 1929. They also appeared in their first feature in one of the revue sequences of The Hollywood Revue of 1929, and the following year they appeared as the comic relief in a lavish all-colour (in Technicolor) musical feature, The Rogue Song. In 1931, their first starring feature, Pardon Us was released. They continued to make both features and shorts until 1935, including their 1932 three-reeler The Music Box, which won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject.

In 1941, Laurel and Hardy signed a contract at 20th Century Fox to make ten films over five months. During the war years, their work became more standardised and less successful, though The Bullfighters, and Jitterbugs did receive some praise. Laurel discovered he had diabetes, so he encouraged Hardy to make two films without him. In 1946, he divorced Virginia Ruth Rogers and married Ida Kitaeva Raphael. In 1947, Laurel returned to England when he and Hardy went on a six-week tour of the United Kingdom, and the duo were mobbed wherever they went. Laurel’s homecoming to Ulverston took place in May, and the duo were greeted by thousands of fans outside the Coronation Hall.

The tour included a Royal Command Performance for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in London and they spent the next seven years touring the UK and Europe. In 1950, Laurel and Hardy were invited to France to make a feature film. The film, a Franco-Italian co-production titled Atoll K, was a disaster. (The film was titled Utopia in the US and Robinson Crusoeland in the UK.) Both stars were noticeably ill during the filming. Upon returning to the US they spent most of their time recovering. In 1952, Laurel and Hardy toured Europe successfully, and they returned in 1953 for another tour of the continent. During this tour, Laurel fell ill and was unable to perform for several weeks. In May 1954, Hardy had a heart attack and cancelled the tour. In 1955, they were planning to do a television series, Laurel and Hardy’s Fabulous Fables, based on children’s stories. The plans were delayed after Laurel suffered a stroke on 25 April, from which he recovered. But as he was planning to get back to work, his partner Hardy had a massive stroke on 14 September 1956, which resulted in his being unable to return to acting.

In 1961, Stan Laurel was given a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award for his pioneering work in comedy. He had achieved his lifelong dream as a comedian and had been involved in nearly 190 films. He lived his final years in a small flat in the Oceana Apartments in Santa Monica, California. Jerry Lewis was among the numerous comedians to visit Laurel, who offered suggestions for Lewis’s production of The Bellboy (1960). Lewis paid tribute to Laurel by naming his main character Stanley in the film, and having Bill Richmond play a version of Laurel as well.Dick Van Dyke told a similar story. When he was just starting his career, he looked up Laurel’s phone number, called him, and then visited him at his home. Van Dyke played Laurel on “The Sam Pomerantz Scandals” episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Laurel was a heavy smoker until suddenly quitting around 1960. In January 1965, he underwent a series of x-rays for an infection on the roof of his mouth.He died on 23 February 1965, aged 74, four days after suffering a heart attack on 19 February Just minutes away from death, Laurel told his nurse he would not mind going skiing right at that very moment. Somewhat taken aback, the nurse replied that she was not aware that he was a skier. “I’m not,” said Laurel, “I’d rather be doing that than this!” A few minutes later the nurse looked in on him again and found that he had died quietly in his armchair. Silent screen comedian Buster Keaton also died of lung cancer one year later in February 1966. Dick Van Dyke, friend, protege and occasional impressionist of Laurel during his later years, gave the eulogy, reading A Prayer for Clowns. Laurel was cremated, and his ashes were interred in Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery.

Adam West

Most famous for playing Batman in the 1960 Television show, the American actor Adam West sadly passed away 9 June 2017. Adam West (William West Anderson) was born September 19, 1928 West in Walla Walla, Washington. His father was a farmer; his mother was an opera singer and concert pianist who was forced to abandon her own Hollywood dreams to care for her family. Following her example, West stated to his father as a youth that he intended after school to go to Hollywood. He moved to Seattle when he was 15 with his mother following his parents’ divorce. West attended Walla Walla High School during his freshman and sophomore years, and later enrolled in Lakeside School in Seattle. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in literature and a minor in psychology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, where he was a member of the Gamma Zeta Chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He also participated on the speech and debate team. Drafted into the United States Army, he served as an announcer on American Forces Network television. After his discharge, he worked as a milkman before moving to Hawaii to pursue television.

While in Hawaii, West was picked for a role as the sidekick on a children’s show called El Kini Popo Show, which featured a chimp. West later took over as star of the show. In 1959, West moved with his wife and two children to Hollywood, where he took the stage name Adam West. He appeared in the film The Young Philadelphians with Paul Newman, and guest-starred in a number of television Westerns Including Sugarfoot, Colt .45, and Lawman, in which West played the role of Doc Holliday, the frontier dentist and gunfighter. He portrayed Wild Bill Hickok in the episode “Westbound Stage” of the 1960 Western series Overland Trail, with William Bendix and Doug McClure. He guest-starred on the crime drama Johnny Midnight, as police sergeant Steve Nelson and also starred in the crime drama, The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor. He made a few guest appearances on the sitcom, The Real McCoys. In 1961, West appeared as a young, ambitious deputy who foolishly confronts a gunfighter named Clay Jackson, portrayed by Jock Mahoney, in the episode “The Man from Kansas” in the series Laramie and made two guest appearances on Perry Mason in 1961 first as small-town journalist Dan Southern in “The Case of the Barefaced Witness” then as folk singer Pete Norland in “The Case of the Bogus Books”. West starred in the Outer Limits episode “The Invisible Enemy” and made a brief appearance in the film Soldier in the Rain starring Jackie Gleason and Steve McQueen. He also starred as Major Dan McCready, the ill-fated mission commander of ‘Mars Gravity Probe 1’ in the 1964 film Robinson Crusoe on Mars. He also appeared in the comedy Western The Outlaws Is Coming in 1965, the last feature film starring The Three Stooges. He played Christopher Rolf in the episode “Stopover” in The Rifleman,

In 1965 Producer William Dozier cast West as Bruce Wayne and his crime fighting superhero alter ego, Batman, in the television series Batman, which ran from 1966 to 1968; and included afeature-length film version. In his Batman character, West appeared in a public service announcement where he encouraged schoolchildren to heed then-President Lyndon B. Johnson’s call for them to buy U.S. Savings stamps, a children’s version of U.S. Savings bonds, to support the Vietnam War. In 1970, West was offered the role of James Bond by Cubby Broccoli for the film Diamonds Are Forever.

After Batman finished Adam West’s first post-Caped Crusader role was in the film The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969) as a cynical tough guy named Johnny Cain. West also made personal appearances as Batman. However In 1974, when Ward and Craig reprised their Batman roles for a TV public-service announcement about equal pay for women, West was absent. Instead, Dick Gautier filled in as Batman. He also made a memorable appearance in the Memphis, Tennessee-based United States Wrestling Association to engage in a war of words with Jerry “The King” Lawler while wearing the cowl and a track suit. West subsequently appeared in the theatrical films The Marriage of a Young Stockbrocker (1971), The Curse of the Moon Child (1972), The Specialist (1975), Hooper (as himself; 1978), The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (1980) and One Dark Night (1983 and appeared in such television films as The Eyes of Charles Sand (1972), Poor Devil (1973), Nevada Smith (1975), For the Love of It (1980) and I Take These Men (1983). He also did guest shots on the television series Maverick, Diagnosis: Murder, Love, American Style, Bonanza, The Big Valley, Night Gallery, Alias Smith and Jones, Mannix, Emergency!, Alice, Police Woman, Operation Petticoat, The American Girls, Vega$, Big Shamus Little Shamus, Laverne & Shirley, Bewitched, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Hart to Hart, Zorro, The King of Queens and George Lopez. West also made several guest appearances as himself on Family Feud and In 1986, West starred in the comedy police series titled The Last Precinct.

West often reprised his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne, first in the short-lived animated series, The New Adventures of Batman, and in other shows such as The Batman/ Tarzan Adventure Hour, Tarzan and the Super 7, Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. In 1979, West once again donned the Batsuit for the live-action TV special Legends of the Superheroes. In 1985, DC Comics named West as one of the honorees in the company’s 50th-anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great for his work on the Batman series. West was considered to play Thomas Wayne in Tim Burton’s Batman. Originally, he wanted to play Batman. So far neither West nor Burt Ward (Robin, from the TV series) has appeared in any of the modern Batman films. West made an appearance in a 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series portraying Simon Trent, a washed-up actor who used to play a superhero in a TV series called The Gray Ghost and who now has difficulty finding work.

West later had a recurring role as the voice of Mayor Grange in the WB animated series The Batman. And also voiced as Batman in the animated short film Batman: New Times. He co-starred with Mark Hamill, who vocally portrayed The Joker and had originally played the role on Batman: The Animated Series. West also voiced Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s father, in an episode of the cartoon series Batman: The Brave and the Bold. He also voiced Batman’s prototype robot “Protobot”. West appeared as himself in the film Drop Dead Gorgeous and in several TV series, including NewsRadio, Murphy Brown, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, The Ben Stiller Show, and The Drew Carey Sho He also portrayed “Dr. Wayne” in the 1990 Zorro episode “The Wizard”. In 1991, he starred in the pilot episode of Lookwell, playing a has-been TV action hero who falsely believes he can solve mysteries in real life. In 1994, West played a non-comedic role as the father of Peter Weller’s character in The New Age. He played a washed-up superhero named Galloping Gazelle in the Goosebumps TV series episode “Attack of the Mutant”. In 1994, West, with Jeff Rovin, wrote his autobiography, Back to the Batcave and also appeared as a guest in the animated talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast in an episode titled “Batmantis”, where he displayed his book. That episode was essentially a parody to his Batman TV series, where Zorak dressed himself as “Batmantis”, a praying mantis version of Batman.

In 1996, Adam West appeared in video cut scenes of the “Chaos Mystery” in the gambling simulation game Golden Nugget. In 2001, he played the super-villain Breathtaker in the TV series Black Scorpion. In 2003, West and Burt Ward starred in the TV movie Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, alongside Frank Gorshin, Julie Newmar, and Lee Meriwether. In 2005, West appeared in the show The King of Queens. West appears in the 2006 video for California band STEFY’s song “Chelsea” as “Judge Adam West”, presiding over the courtroom scene. In 2007, Adam West played an attorney for Benny on the show George Lopez, and starred as “The Boss” in the movie comedy Sexina: Popstar PI. In 2009, West played himself in the episode “Apollo, Apollo” of 30 Rock. In 2010, a Golden Palm Star was dedicated to him on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars And West also received the 2,468th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6764 Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Guinness Museum in Hollywood, California. He appeared in Pioneers of Television in the episode “Superheroes” and was the subject of the documentary Starring Adam West. West is among the interview subjects in Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a three-hour documentary narrated by Liev Schreiber.

Adam West has also done voice-over work for many cartoons including the American cartoon series Futurama (10.9, and American Dad and voiced himself, and the 1960s version of Batman, in the video game Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. In 2016, West guest-starred as himself on the 200th episode of The Big Bang Theory. West has also voiced The Simpsons, Futurama, Rugrats, The Critic, Histeria!, Kim Possible, Johnny Bravo, and even in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series called “Beware the Gray Ghost”, and has appeared onThe Fairly OddParents numerous timeS. Since 2000, West has made regular appearances on the animated series Family Guy, portraying Mayor Adam West, the lunatic mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island. He portrayed Uncle Art in the Disney Animation film Meet the Robinsons, and voicing the young Mermaid Man (along with Burt Ward, who voiced the young Barnacle Boy) in The SpongeBob SquarePants episode “Back to the Past” asThe Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy characters are sea parodies of both Batman and Robin, respectively. West also voiced General Carrington in the video game XIII, and has voiced other video games such as Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, Chicken Little: Ace in Action, Scooby Doo! Unmasked, and Goosebumps: Attack of the Mutant.

Charles Dickens

Renowned Victorian novelist Charles Dickens sadly died at Gad’s Hill Place, on 9 June 1870. He was born 7 February 1812 in Landport, Portsea. He moved to Norfolk Street, Bloomsbury then to Chatham, Kent. He spent his early years outdoors and reading voraciously. He received a private education at William Giles’s School, in Chatham. In 1822 the Dickens family moved from Kent to Camden Town, in London. Unfortunately his His Father John Dickens continually lived beyond his means and the Dickens family, apart from Charles, were imprisoned in the Marshalsea debtor’s prison in Southwark, London in 1824.Charles himself was boarded with family friend Elizabeth Roylance in Camden Town. whom Dickens later immortalised, “with a few alterations and embellishments”, as “Mrs. Pipchin”, in Dombey and Son. Later, he also lived in the house of an insolvent-court agent who was a good-natured, kind old gentleman, with a quiet old wife”; who he had a very innocent grown-up son; these inspired the Garland family in The Old Curiosity Shop. Dickens left school and began working ten-hour days at Warren’s Blacking Warehouse, on Hungerford Stairs, near Charing Cross railway station, pasting labels on blacking. The terrible working conditions made a deep impression on Dickens and influenced his writing and kindled his interest in socio-economic reforms and improving labour conditions,

Whilst in Marshalsea, John Dickens’s paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Dickens, died and bequeathed him the sum of £450 and Dickens was released from prison. Under the Insolvent Debtors Act, After paying his creditors, he and his family left Marshalsea for the home of Mrs. Roylance and Charles attended the Wellington House Academy in North London, although his mother did not immediately remove him from the boot-blacking factory which soured their relationship. Righteous anger stemming from his own situation and the conditions under which working-class people lived, became major themes of his works. This unhappy period in his youth features in his favourite, and most autobiographical, novel, David Copperfield. From 1827 until 1828 Dickens worked at the law office of Ellis and Blackmore, attorneys, of Holborn Court, Gray’s Inn, as a junior clerk. He then became a freelance reporter. reporting legal proceedings. This experience informed works such as Nicholas Nickleby, Dombey and Son, and Bleak House. In 1833 Dickens’s first story, A Dinner at Poplar Walk was published in the London periodical, Monthly Magazine. In 1834 he becoming a political journalist, reporting on parliamentary debate covering election campaigns for the Morning Chronicle.

His journalism, in the form of sketches in periodicals, formed his first collection of pieces Sketches by Boz, published in 1836. his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, was also published in March 1836. Dickens became editor of Bentley’s Miscellany and also wrote Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop and, Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty as part of the Master Humphrey’s Clock series. In 1836, he married Catherine Thomson Hogarth the daughter of George Hogarth, editor of the Evening Chronicle. Dickens and his family lived in London for two years. Dickens’s younger brother Frederick and Catherine’s 17-year-old sister Mary also moved in with them. Sadly Mary died in 1837 and her death is fictionalised as the death of Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop. In 1842, Dickens and his wife travelled to the United States and Canada and supported the abolition of slavery. In 1851 Dickens moved into Tavistock House where he wrote Bleak House, Hard Times and Little Dorrit.

In 1856 he moved to Gad’s Hill Place in Higham, Kent. In 1857, Dickens hired professional actresses for the play The Frozen Deep, which he and his protégé Wilkie Collins had written. Dickens, was very philanthropic and in 1858 he was approached by his friend Charles West, who founded Great Ormond Street Hospital, to help during a major financial crisis.So In 1858, Dickens spoke at the hospital’s first annual festival dinner at Freemasons’ Hall and later gave a public reading of A Christmas Carol at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church hall. The events raised enough money to enable the hospital to purchase the neighbouring house, No. 48 Great Ormond Street, increasing the bed capacity from 20 to 75. In 1858 Dickens began a series of public readings in London followed by a tour of England, Scotland and Wales. He then wrote The novelsA Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. He also worked as the the publisher, editor & major contributor to, the journals Household Words and All the Year Round. Dickens also became interested in the paranormal was one of the early members of The Ghost Club. Arctic Exploration also featured in Dickens’s writing The heroic friendship between explorers John Franklin and John Richardson gave Dickens the idea for A Tale of Two Cities, The Wreck of the Golden Mary and the play The Frozen Deep.

IN 1865, Dickens was involved in the Staplehurst rail crash. The first seven carriages of the train plunged off a cast iron bridge under repair. The only first-class carriage to remain on the track was the one in which Dickens was travelling. This inspired the short ghost story The Signal-Man in which the central character has a premonition of his own death in a rail crash and is based around several previous rail accidents, such as the Clayton Tunnel rail crash of 1861. The Staplehurst crash deeply traumatized Dickens, and his normally prolific writing shrank to completing Our Mutual Friend and starting the unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

In 1867 Dickens sailed to America and met Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his American publisher James Thomas Fields. His final appearance was at a banquet the American Press held in his honour at Delmonico’s on 18 April and boarded his ship to return to Britain shortly after. Between 1868 and 1869, Dickens gave a series of “farewell readings” in England, Scotland, and Ireland, until he collapsed on 22 April 1869, at Preston in Lancashire showing symptoms of a stroke. Dickens began work on his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. After, he witnessed an elderly pusher known as “Opium Sal in an Opium Den in Shadwell, who subsequently featured in his mystery novel. On 2 May, he made his last public appearance at a Royal Academy Banquet in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales, paying a special tribute to his friend, illustrator Daniel Maclise.

Sadly On 8 June 1870, Dickens suffered another stroke at his home, after a full day’s work on Edwin Drood, and he died the following day five years to the day after the Staplehurst rail crash 9 June 1865.  Contrary to his wish to be buried at Rochester Cathedral “in an inexpensive, unostentatious, and strictly private manner,” he was laid to rest in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey. A printed epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads

“To the Memory of Charles Dickens (England’s most popular author) who died at his residence, Higham, near Rochester, Kent, 9 June 1870, aged 58 years. He was a sympathizer with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England’s greatest writers is lost to the world.”

Five days after Dickens’s interment in the Abbey, Dean Arthur Penrhyn Stanley also delivered a memorial eulegy. Dickens’s will stipulated that no memorial be erected to honour him. The only life-size bronze statue of Dickens, cast in 1891 by Francis Edwin Elwell, is located in Clark Park in the Spruce Hill neighbourhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. The couch on which he died is preserved at the Dickens Birthplace Museum in Portsmouth. However Dickens’ novels remain popular and have been adapted for stage, screen and Television numerous times

E.M.Forster OM CH

English novelist E. M. Forster OM, CH sadly passed away on 7th June 1970. He was Born 1st January 1879 at 6 Melcombe Place, Dorset Square, London NW1. In 1883, Forster and his mother moved to Rooksnest, near Stevenage, Hertfordshire.  He attended Tonbridge School in Kent, as a day boy. The theatre at the school has been named in his honour. He also attendeD King’s College, Cambridge, between 1897 and 1901, where he became a member of a discussion society known as the Apostles (formally named the Cambridge Conversazione Society) to discuss philosophical and moral questions Many of its members went on to constitute what came to be known as the Bloomsbury Group, of which Forster was a peripheral member in the 1910s and 1920s. There is a famous recreation of Forster’s Cambridge at the beginning of The Longest Journey. The Schlegel sisters of Howards End are based to some degree on Vanessa and Virginia Stephen.

 After leaving university, he travelled in continental Europe with his mother. They moved to Weybridge, Surrey where he wrote all six of his novels. In 1914, he visited Egypt, Germany and India with the classicist Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson. During the First World War, he was a conscientious objector, and volunteered for the International Red Cross, and served in Alexandria, Egypt. Forster spent a second spell in India in the early 1920s as the private secretary to Tukojirao III, the Maharajah of Dewas. The Hill of Devi is his non-fictional account of this period. After returning to London from India, he completed the last novel of his to be published during his lifetime, A Passage to India (1924), for which he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. He also edited Eliza Fay’s (1756–1816) letters from India, in an edition first published in 1925. Forster’ short stories, essays and librettis were ironic and well-plotted and examined class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. Forster had a humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy. His 1908 novel, A Room with a View, is his most optimistic work, while A Passage to India (1924) brought him his greatest success.

The novel Howard’s End tells a story of social and familial relations in turn-of-the-century England and is generally considered to be Forster’s masterpiece. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Howards End 38th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. The book is about three families in England at the beginning of the 20th century: the Wilcoxes, rich capitalists with a fortune made in the Colonies; the half-German Schlegel siblings (Margaret, Tibby, and Helen), who have much in common with the real-life Bloomsbury Group; and the Basts, a struggling couple in the lower-middle class. The Schlegel sisters try to help the poor Basts and try to make the Wilcoxes less prejudiced. The Schlegels frequently encounter the Wilcoxes. The youngest, Helen, is attracted to the younger Wilcox brother, Paul. The eldest, Margaret, becomes friends with Paul’s mother, Ruth Wilcox. Ruth’s most prized personal possession is her family house at Howards End. She wishes that Margaret could live there, as her own husband and children do not value the house and its rich history, So Ruth, who is terminally ill, bequeaths the cottage to Margaret causing great consternation among the Wilcoxes. So Mrs Wilcox’s widowed husband, Henry, and his children decide not to tell Margaret about her inheritance.

Not knowing about the inheritance, free-spirited Margaret becomes friends with Henry Wilcox and eventually marries him. However Henry’s elder son Charles and his wife try to keep Margaret from taking possession of Howards End.On Henry’s advice, Helen tells Leonard Bast to quit his respectable job as a clerk at an insurance company, because the company stands outside a protective group of companies and thus is vulnerable to failure. Bast then loses his tenuous hold on financial solvency. and Helen tries to help young Leonard Bast (perhaps in part out of guilt about having intervened in his life to begin with). Sadly it all goes terribly wrong when it is revealed that Bast’s wife had an affair with Henry in Cyprus ten years previously but he had then carelessly abandoned her.Margaret confronts Henry about his ill-treatment, and he is ashamed of the affair but unrepentant about his harsh treatment of her. In a moment of pity for the poor, doomed Leonard Bast, Helen has an affair with him. Finding herself pregnant, she leaves England to travel through Germany to conceal her condition, but eventually returns to England when she receives news of her Aunt Juley’s illness but refuses to meet with Margaret but is tricked into a meeting at Howards End Henry and Margaret plan an intervention with a doctor, thinking Helen’s evasive behavior is a sign of mental illness. When they come upon Helen at Howards End, they also discover the pregnancy.Margaret tries in vain to convince Henry to forgive Helen. Unaware of Helen’s presence Mr. Bast arrives at Howards End wishing to speak with Margaret, whereupon Henry’s son, Charles, attacks him, and accidentally kills him, Charles is charged with manslaughter and sent to jail for three years. The ensuing scandal and shock cause Henry to reevaluate his life…

Forster’s most successful novel A Passage to India, on the other hand is set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. The story revolves around Dr. Aziz, his British friend Mr. Cyril Fielding, Mrs. Moore, A young British schoolmistress, Adela Quested, and her elderly friend, Mrs. Moore,who visit the fictional city of Chandrapore, British India. Adela is to marry Mrs. Moore’s son, Ronny Heaslop, the city magistrate. Meanwhile, Dr. Aziz, a young Indian Muslim physician sees a strange Englishwoman at his favourite mosque, who turns out to be Mrs Moore, and the two chat and part as friends. Mrs Moore relates her experience at the mosque to Ronny Heaslop, her son. Adela, is intrigued, and attends a party held by Mr. Turton, the city tax collector, where she meets Cyril Fielding, headmaster of Chandrapore’s government-run college for Indians. Later on Fielding invites Adela and Mrs. Moore to a tea party with him and a Hindu-Brahmin professor named Narayan Godbole. On Adela’s request, he also extends his invitation to Dr. Aziz. At Fielding’s tea party, Fielding and Aziz become great friends and Aziz promises to take Mrs. Moore and Adela to see the Marabar Caves, a distant cave complex.

Aziz and the women begin to explore the caves. Unfortunately Mrs. Moore is overcome with claustrophobia. Later Aziz sees Adela speaking to another young Englishwoman, Miss Derek, who has arrived with Fielding. Fielding, Mrs. Moore, and Aziz return to Chandrapore on the train. When the train arrives At the train station, Dr. Aziz is arrested and charged with sexually assaulting Adela in a cave. She reports the alleged incident to the British authorities.The run-up to Aziz’s trial for attempted sexual assault releases the racial tensions between the British and the Indians. The only actual evidence the British have is the field glasses in the possession of Dr. Aziz. Despite this, the British colonists firmly believe that Aziz is guilty however Fielding proclaims his belief in Aziz’s innocence and the Indians, who consider the assault allegation a fraud aimed at ruining their community’s reputation, welcome him. Mrs. Moore is unexpectedly apathetic and irritable. Her experience in the cave seems to have ruined her faith in humanity. Although she curtly professes her belief in Aziz’s innocence, she does nothing to help him. Ronny, alarmed by his mother’s assertion that Aziz is innocent, decides to arrange for her return by ship to England before she can testify to this effect at the trial. Mrs. Moore dies during the voyage. Her absence from India becomes a major issue at the trial, where Aziz’s legal defenders assert that her testimony alone, had it been available, would have proven the accused’s innocence. This causes Adela herself to question Aziz’s guilt.

A Room with a View is about a young woman in the repressed culture of Edwardian era England. Set in Italy and England, the story is both a romance and a critique of English society at the beginning of the 20th century. Merchant-Ivory also produced an award-winning film adaptation in 1985 starring Helena Bonham-Carter, Denholm Elliot and Dame Maggie Smith. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked A Room with a View 79th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. A passage to India was selected as one of the 100 great works of English literature by the Modern Library and won the 1924 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Time magazine included the novel in its “100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005″. The novel is based on Forster’s experiences in India. E.M.Forster borrowed the book’s title from Walt Whitman’s poem Leaves of Grass.