December 4 Writer Birthdays

0034 – Persius (full name Aulus Persius Flaccus), Ancient Tuscan poet, writer, philosopher, and satirist of Etruscan origin; in his poems and satires he shows a stoic wisdom and a strong criticism for what he considered to be the stylistic abuses of his poetic contemporaries. His work enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the Middle Ages.

1512 – Jerónimo Zurita y Castro, Aragonese Spanish writer, historian, and Medievalist.

1555 – Heinrich Meibom, German writer, poet, historian, author, and university teacher.

1595 – Jean Chapelain, French poet, writer, philosopher, and literary critic who was best known for his role as an organizer and founding member of the Académie Française.

1769 – Elizabeth Heyrick, British writer and philanthropist who was an activist against the slave trade.

1777 – Juliette Récamier (born Jeanne Françoise Jullie Adélaïde Récamier), French writer, socialite, salonnière whose salon drew Parisians from the leading literary and political circles of the early 19th century; a type of sofa or chaise longue on which she liked to recline, the récamier, was named after her. She is especially known for her correspondence with some of the key political and literary figures of the day.

1784 – Giovanni Emanuele Bidera (or Bideri), Italian writer, poet, essayist, playwright, nonfiction author, and librettist who is remembered primarily as the librettist of Gaetano Donizetti’s operas Gemma di Vergy and Marino Faliero.

1795 – Thomas Carlyle, Victorian-era Scottish satirical writer and historian.

1817 – Prince Nikoloz “Tato” Baratashvili (Georgian: ნიკოლოზ “ტატო” ბარათაშვილი), Georgian poet credited with combining modern nationalism with European Romanticism to introduce “Europeanism” into Georgian literature; he was often referred to as the “Georgian Byron.”

1822 – Frances Power Cobbe, Victorian-era Irish author, essayist, and activist who wrote about women’s suffrage, human rights, and animal rights.

1825 – Aleksey Pleshcheyev, radical Russian writer, poet, translator, children’s writer, literary critic, and theatre critic who was a member of the Petrashevsky Circle; many of his poems have been set to music by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, among others.

1835 – Samuel Butler, English author and satirist, best known for Erewhon and The Way of All Flesh.

1841 – Maria del Pilar Maspons i Labrós (pseudonym Maria de Bell-lloc), Spanish poet, novelist, and writer of Catalan descent; notable as one of the first Spanish women folklorists, she conducted research with her brother, Francisco Maspons y Labrós, and her brother-in-law, Francesc Pelagi Briz.

1857 – Francisco Filinto de Almeida, Portuguese-born Brazilian playwright, poet, novelist, editor, and journalist; his wife was the novelist Júlia Lopes de Almeida.

1857 – Julia Evelyn Ditto Young, U.S. poet, novelist, and short-story writer who was noted for her versatility.

1875 – Rainer Maria Rilke (born René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke), Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist who is considered one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets.

1882 – Friderike Maria Zweig (née Burger)n Austrian writer, translator, journalist, editor, educator, and memoirist; she was one of the first women allowed to attend the University of Vienna, where she studied literature and French. She married Stefan Zweig, also an Austrian writer.

1883 – Katharine Susannah Prichard, Fiji-born Australian author of novels, plays, and short stories; she was also a founding member of the Communist Party of Australia.

1884 – Babilina Khositashvili, Georgian poet, writer, translator, literary researcher, feminist, and labor-rights activist; much of her early work explored the problems of the working class, but she later turned to themes of women’s struggles.

1903 – Cornell Woolrich, U.S. novelist, many of whose works were adapted into noir films.

1905 – Munro Leaf (born Wilbur Monroe Leaf), U.S. author and illustrator of children’s literature; he is best known for The Story of Ferdinand, a children’s classic about a bull, which he wrote on a yellow legal pad in less than an hour.

1916 – Balwant Gargi, Indian Punjabi dramatist, theatre director, novelist, short-story writer, and academic.

1917 – Jane Aiken Hodge, U.S.-born British writer of historical novels and contemporary detective novels. Her father was Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Conrad Aiken, her mother was writer Jessie McDonald, and her younger sister, Joan, would become a celebrated novelist and children’s writer.

1921 – Nalinidhar Bhattacharya, award-winning Indian poet and literary critic who was regarded as one of the important poets of the Jayanti era in Assamese literature.

1921 – Carlos Franqui, Cuban writer, poet, journalist, art critic, and political activist; at first he supported the Cuban revolution, but later he grew disenchanted with Castro’s regime and became a vocal critic of the government.

1924 – Shirley Paget (Marchioness of Anglesey; born Elizabeth Shirley Vaughan Morgan, but better known as Dame Shirley Paget), English writer who is best known for her book, The Countrywoman’s Year, a compendium of rural skills including cider and mead-making, jam making, bulb planting, public speaking, wallpapering, quilting, crafting Christmas decorations, and more.

1927 – Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, award-winning Italian-born Spanish author and essayist who contributed to the awakening of Spanish literature after the end of the Civil War.

1931 – Park Hijin, South Korea poet who grew up under Japanese colonial rule and who early in his career wrote in Japanese; his work, influenced by the Romantic poets , starkly contrasts heaven and earth, and light and darkness. He also wrote travel poems, based on his extensive travel to the United States and Europe.

1934 – Wen Shaoxian (溫紹賢), Chinese translator, scholar, and novelist.

1936 – Alicia Galaz Vivar, Chilean poet and literary researcher who was the founder and director of the poetry magazine Tebaida.

1936 – Michiko Yamamoto (real name Michiko Furuya), award-winning Japanese short-story writer, poet, and novelist.

1937 – Rahmatullah Dard, Indian-born Pashto-language ghazal poet (ghazal is a form of poetry made up like an odd numbered chain of couplets, where each couplet is an independent poem).

1940 – Trudi Guda, Surinamese writer, poet, and anthropologist who headed Suriname’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

1947 – Ursula Krechel, award-winning German writer, lyric poet, playwright, radio drama writer, and translator

1949 – A. Scott Berg, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning U.S. author of bestselling biographies.

1950 – Zsuzsa Rakovszky, award-winning Hungarian poet, writer, poet, librarian, and translator.

1969 – Plum Sykes (born Victoria Sykes), British fashion writer, editor, and novelist.

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