Posted on July 18, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of July 18, 2021. 

William Makepeace Thackeray (July 18, 1811): Thackeray’s Vanity Fair was highly celebrated by its contemporaries, who saw him as the only possible literary rival to Charles Dickens, and remains one of the English language’s classic historical novels.

Hunter S. Thompson (July 18, 1937): Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas established both the genre of gonzo journalism and his writing fame; it and another well-known work of his, The Rum Diary, were both adapted into hit movies.

Elizabeth Gilbert (July 18, 1969): Gilbert began her career as an acclaimed journalist, nonfiction writer, but it was her memoir Eat Pray Love (and the movie adaptation) that made her a household name; her subsequent novels, The Signature of All Things and City of Girls, have been popular and critical successes. 

Petrarch (July 20, 1304): Petrarch was considered among the greatest scholar of his age and is easily remembered for his poetry addressed to his beloved Laura, which itself heavily influenced great minds — from all disciplines — during the Renaissance.

Cormac McCarthy (July 20, 1933): McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is considered his masterpiece, though All the Pretty Horses won the National Book Award and The Road received a Pulitzer Prize; the latter two, along with No Country for Old Men, have become acclaimed movies as well.

Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899): Hemingway received the Pulitzer Prize in literature for The Old Man and the Sea and is also critically praised for For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, and The Sun Also Rises.

Raymond Chandler (July 23, 1888): Two of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe detective novels became film noir classics: Farewell, My Lovely (distributed as Murder, My Sweet) and The Big Sleep.

Alexandre Dumas père (July 24, 1802): Dumas was a popular dramatist before he became famous — in his time and in the long term — for The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo.

Birthdays sourced from Calendar of Literary Facts; biographical information sourced from Encyclopedia Britannica, author websites, and Did we miss someone? Email and let us know.

Categories: Today in Books

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