Last week’s literary history brought us a bunch of literary birthdays and two literary deaths. Read more about this week in literary history.

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Last Week in Literature.
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Last Week in Literature

May 25 – Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Birthday

This week starts off with a major literature figure’s birthday. Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803.

Emerson was an essayist, poet and philosopher well known for his role in the Transcendentalist literary movement.

He also founded the literary magazine The Dial, which he co-edited with Margaret Fuller. Some of his most popular essays include Nature, Self-Reliance, and The American Scholar.

May 26 – Raymond Chandler Dies

The first of two literary deaths for this week, Raymond Chandler died on May 26, 1959.

Chandler was a screenwriter and novelist whose literary focus was on detective and crime fiction.

Over his lifetime, he completed 7 novels. His most popular works include Farewell, My Lovely, The Little Sister, The Long Goodbye.

May 27 – John Cheever’s Birthday

Our second literary birthday, John Cheever was born May 27, 1912.

He was a novelist and short story writer whose works earned him various awards, such as the Pulitzer Price for Fiction.

Some of his popular works include The Wapshot Chronicle, Bullet Park, and Falconer.

May 28 – Maya Angelou Dies

May 28 brings us a mid-week, sorrowful pause. Maya Angelou passed away May 28, 2014.

Angelou was a poet, civil rights activist, memoirist, and singer.

Didn’t know she was a singer? Check out this 1957 performance of Calypso Heat Wave:

Some of Angelou’s most popular poems include Caged Bird, Still I Rise, and The Mothering Blackness.

May 29 – G. K. Chesterton’s Birthday

Our third literary birthday of the week- G. K. Chesterton was born on May 29, 1874.

He is known as a writer, philosopher, and literary critic. In his lifetime, Chesterton wrote thousands of literary works such as essays, short stories, and books.

His most popular works include Heretics, The Man Who Was Thursday, and The Innocence of Father Brown.

May 30 – Countee Cullen’s Birthday

Another literary birthday, Countee Cullen was born May 30, 1903. He was an American poet, novelist, and playwright well known during the Harlem Renaissance.

Some of his most famous works are Threnody for a Brown Girl, Two Thoughts on Death, The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth.

May 31 – Walt Whitman’s Birthday

Today gives us the last literary birthday of the week. Walt Whitman was born May 31, 1819.

Whitman was an American poet and essayist known for his role in the transcendentalist and realist literary movements.

Some of his most famous works include the Leaves of Grass, The Half-Breed; A Tale of The Western Frontier, and Democratic Vistas.


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