Read more below about what historically happened in literature. Last week’s literary history brings us three birthdays, three deaths, and one publishing.

August 9 — Henry David Thoreau’s Walden was Published

Henry David Thoreau's Walden.
Henry David Thoreau’s Walden
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our literary publishing of the week is that of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, published on this day in 1854. Thoreau was an American essayist, poet, and philosopher, known for best for his work Walden. The book details Thoreau’s experience over two years, two months, and two days he spent in a cabin he built near Walden Pond.

August 10 — Writer Jorge Amado was Born

Brazilian writer Jorge Amado
Brazilian writer Jorge Amado (pictured on the left)
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our first literary birthday this week is that of Jorge Amado, born on this day in 1912. Born Jorge Leal Amado de Faria in Brazil, Amado is considered the best-known modern Brazilian writer, with his works being translated into 49 languages. Some of Amado’s most notable works include Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands), Suor (Sweat), and O País do Carnaval (The Country of Carnival).

August 11 — Author Alex Haley was Born

Author Alex Haley
Author Alex Haley
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our second literary birthday this week is that of Alex Haley, born on this day in 1921 in Ithaca, New York. Haley is best known for the 1976 book Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which follows the story of Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African sold into slavery, and his descendants into the modern day. His book was adapted into a TV miniseries of the same name in 1977, aired by ABC.

August 12 — Author Ian Fleming Died

Ian Fleming's Diamonds are Forever.
Ian Fleming’s Diamonds are Forever
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our first literary death this week is that of Ian Fleming, who died on this day in 1964. Fleming was born in London, England, in 1908 into a wealthy family. Fleming is best known as the author of the James Bond series of books, but was also the author of Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.

August 13 — Writer H. G. Wells Died

Writer H. G. Wells
Writer H. G. Wells
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our second literary death this week is that of H. G. Wells, who died on this day in 1946. Wells was born in England in 1866 and is called the “father of science fiction” alongside Jules Verne. Wells wrote dozens of novels, short stories, and other works, including The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, and The Island of Doctor Moreau.

August 14 — Novelist Danielle Steel was Born

Wanderlust by Danielle Steel

Our third literary birthday this week is that of Danielle Steel, born on this day in 1947. Steel is best known for her romance novels, having written over 140 in the genre. She has also written multiple children’s series and non-fiction collections. Some of her most notable works include Full Circle, Wanderlust, Kaleidoscope, and The Wedding.

August 15 — Macbeth, King of Scots was Killed

Depiction of Macbeth
Depiction of Macbeth
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our third literary death is that of the real-life Macbeth, King of Scots, killed on this day in 1057. Macbeth was a real Scottish king who ruled from 1040 until his death. His life and subsequent death were the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, but historians consider the work not to be a historically accurate portrayal of the Scottish king.


Which day of last week in literature did you find most interesting?