Posted on May 3, 2020 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of May 3, 2020.

Niccolò Machiavelli (May 3, 1469). Machiavelli wrote his best-known work, The Prince, in 1513, but it wasn’t published until 1532, five years after his death.

Karl Marx (May 5, 1818): Only the first volume of Das Kapital, the “Bible of the working class,” was finished and published in Marx’s lifetime; the second and third volumes were edited and published by Friedrich Engels, his co-author of “The Communist Manifesto.”

Robert Browning (May 7, 1812): Browning’s poetic career took off after the death of his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, with The Ring and the Book establishing his reputation and influencing (along with his other works) Robert Frost and Ezra Pound.

Thomas Pynchon (May 8, 1937): Pynchon won the Faulkner Foundation Award for his first novel, V, and continued his critical success with the National Book Award-winning Gravity’s Rainbow.

Pat Barker (May 8, 1943): Barker’s trilogy of novels about World War I — Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road — draw some inspiration from her grandfather’s wartime service in France.

J. M. Barrie (May 9, 1860): When Barrie was six, one of his brothers died, and his mother never recovered from the loss; much of his work, including Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, would reflect Barrie’s longing for the lost innocence of the days before his brother’s death.

Birthdays sourced from Calendar of Literary Facts; biographical information sourced from Encyclopedia Britannica and the British Council. Did we miss someone? Email and let us know.

Categories: Today in Books

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