Four Days of Literary Milestones, Anniversaries, Centenaries and Events
- Charlotte Brontë, Earth Day, Passover, Shakespeare, World Book Day, Easter Rising -
posted 21 Apr 2016, 00:53
A number of important milestones, anniversaries, centenaries and events fall together within a short period of just the next few days. While in some cases, it may appear merely coincidental, from a literary perspective and taken together, it could be regarded as a confluence of events, carrying with it a certain symmetry that has an almost poetic air.
Today, Thursday 21 April, marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë. The eldest of the 19th century literary sisters whose body of work remains enduringly popular, just as it was in its day. Charlotte is perhaps best remembered for her novel, Jane Eyre, published in 1847.
While the literary legacy of Charlotte, Emily and Anne may forever be associated with the Yorkshire countryside, where they grew up, they were in fact relative newcomers to that area, being born of an Irish father and a Cornish mother. The Brontë family's ancestral connections with Co. Down remains a source of great pride in the area. Charlotte herself is known to have visited Ireland: she honeymooned in Banagher, Co. Offaly and it has even been said that she spoke with an Irish accent!
Another example of an Irish-Cornish cross pollination that has borne literary fruit can be found in Trevor Simpson's best-selling, Diary of a Cornish Fisherman. As an account of life in a Cornish fishing village from the period 1962-1967 (before the author relocated to the south-east coast of Ireland, where he lives today), it contains a unique and fascinating insight into that time and place, with plenty of humour, anecdotes and fishing lore thrown in for good measure.
Only time will tell if it will achieve quite literary status accorded to the Brontë sisters but it has garnered quite a following since first publication in 2014. The author is currently working on an eagerly-awaited follow up memoir, dealing with his time in Ireland. For now, Diary of a Cornish Fisherman: Newquay 1962-1967 will have to suffice the reader. It is available to buy online, in print and e-book editions.
Friday, 22 April marks Earth Day, an event celebrated annually and observed throughout the world since 1970. This year, it even coincides with a full moon: a lunar phase that occurs when the Moon is completely illuminated as seen from the Earth.
The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox by Rose Morris is a children's book of illustrated verse that was published late last year to great acclaim. It is a book that carries an important ecological message. To celebrate Earth Day and the launch of the e-book edition of this globe-trotting, action-packed adventure tale, we are making the Kindle edition free to download over the next five days. Visit Amazon to download your free copy to your Kindle device or app. The print edition is also available to buy online. RRP €9.99 plus P&P.
Friday also marks the commencement of Passover, the Jewish festival that commemorates the story of the Exodus, as described in the Hebrew Bible in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt, some 3300 years ago. Fast forward a few thousand years and we find that in 1714, the Irish philosopher and man of letters, John Toland (1670-1722), publishes a landmark work in the movement for emancipation of the Jewish people, advocating full citizenship and railing against anti-Semitic prejudices of the day - "a dog will run at a stone, when he dares not attack the man that threw it."
Reasons for Naturalizing the Jews in Great Britain and Ireland continues to be studied today by scholars of various disciplines. It has been re-published, along with other works by and about John Toland, in print and e-book editions.
Another important literary milestones falls on Saturday, 23 April, with the 400th anniversary of the death of one of the most recognisable names in English and indeed, world literature. William Shakespeare breathed his last on this day in 1616. He was born in 1564, quite possibly on the same day. While his exact date of birth is not recorded, there is strong reason to believe that he died on his birthday. As if to further drive home the significance surrounding this date, the birth/death of England's national poet also coincides with St. Geroge's Day, the feast day of England's patron saint.
World Book and Copyright Day also falls on Saturday and this not coincidental. It was inaugurated by UNESCO, in 1995 and the date was chosen in recognition of the anniversaries that fall on this day. "It is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo."
Last but by no means least, Sunday 24 April marks the 100 anniversary of the Easter Rising and the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. In case you thought that this centenary had already passed, while the event is traditionally celebrated over the Easter period that gave the rising its name, Easter, of course, is a moveable feast. In 1916, Easter Monday fell on this date, making it the date for the actual centenary. Often referred to (and occasionally dismissed) as a 'Poets' rebellion', it was an event of immense importance for Irish people but one that also had worldwide ramifications, which did not go unnoticed at the time. Then as now, literary men and women were to the fore in the events that unfolded and which deserve to be studied, remembered and discussed.
We join with all who recognise the significance of these events, not just in celebrating them but also drawing inspiration as we go forward, setting new milestones and standards in literary endeavour and achievement. At The Manuscript Publisher, we provide services and support to authors, writers, independent publishers who continue in these proud traditions. Visit our website or contact us any time for free, no-obligation consultation and advice.
- Visit our Online Bookshop for books and titles representing some of the best in Irish and independent publishing. We also stock DVDs (coming soon) and Greeting Cards for All Occasions.
- Visit Amazon between now and Monday, 25 April to avail of the free promotion of the Kindle edition of The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox by Rose Morris.
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