Last week brought us three literary birthdays, two literary deaths, and even two literary holidays. Read more about this week in literary history.

From Clampitt to Sartre: Last Week in Literature
Photo by Natalia Y on Unsplash
From Clampitt to Sartre: Last Week in Literature
Photo by Natalia Y on Unsplash

Last Week in Literature

June 15 – Amy Clampitt’s Birthday

Last week started off with the literary birthday of Amy Clampitt. Clampitt was born on June 15, 1920 in New Providence, Iowa. She is known as one of the most well-appraised and talented poets in America. Check out this reading of Clampitt’s poem, Nothing Stays Put:

This talent earned Clampitt literary awards such as the 1992 MacArthur Fellowship. Over her lifetime, Clampitt published 10 poetry collection books. Some of her poem collections include The Kingfisher, Multitudes, Multitudes, and Westward.

June 16 – Bloomsday

This week also brings us the first literary holiday of the week. Bloomsday is a holiday, usually observed in Dublin, that celebrates the life of writer James Joyce and his novel, Ulysses. The holiday is named after the novel’s main character, Leopold Bloom.

The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring.

This holiday is celebrated on June 16 for an important reason. The events of Ulysses take place on June 16. This was a date chosen by Joyce, because it was the date which he had his first date with his eventual wife, Nora Barnacle.

June 17 – Joseph Addison Dies

Our first literary death of the week- this day marks the death of Joseph Addison. This British essayist, poet, playwright, and politician died on June 17, 1719. Addison’s literary prowess has made him a significant figure of British 18th century literature. Check out this Addison quote that is just perfect for Father’s Day:

Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition, but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.

Addison co-founded The Spectator magazine along with long-time friend, Richard Steele. Some of Addison’s most famous literary works are Cato, A Tragedy, a play about the last days and death of Roman senator, Marcus Porcius Cato.

June 18 – Jose Saramago Dies

The second literary death of the week-Jose Saramago died on June 18, 2010. Saramago was a Portuguese writer who wrote 31 works over his lifetime. Check out this thought-provoking quote by Saramago:

The difficult thing isn’t living with other people, it’s understanding them.

Such was the literary talent of Saramago that he even earned the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature. Some of Saramago’s most popular literary works include Blindness, Skylight, and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis.

June 19 – Juneteenth

June 19 is a holiday that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States 1865. June 19, 1865 was the date in which Major General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston, Texas, to read the news of the ending of the institution of slavery. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was established in 1863, its enforcement was not actually achieved until after the Civil War.

Historical events such as Juneteenth are significant for the Black community and the literature it offers the rest of the world. It’s through Black literature that we not only learn about the current state of racial affairs in the U.S., but also of the history that precedes it.

June 20 – Anna Laetitia Barbauld’s Birthday

This offers us the second literary birthday of the week. Anna Laetitia Barbauld was born on June 20, 1743 at Kibworth Harcourt, England. This British poet, essayist, and author published more than 25 literary works over her lifetime.

The dead of midnight is the noon of thought.

Barbauld was a talented writer whose literary works varied by genres such as socio-political essays and poems, and children’s books. Some of these works include Corsica: An Ode, Civic Sermons to the People, and The Arts of Life.

June 21 – Jean-Paul Sartre’s Birthday

The week ends with the literary birthday of Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre was born on June 21, 1905, in Paris, France. Beyond being a philosopher and political activist, Sartre was also a writer and literary critic.

Sartre wrote numerous literary works such as plays, screenplays, short-stories, novels, and essays during his lifetime. Some of the most popular of his literary works include Existentialism and Human Emotions, The Wall, and Anti-Semite and Jew.

Which day of Last Week in Literature did you find most interesting?