John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell, Henry Longfellow, Elisabeth Borchers, Jules Lemaître, James T. Farrell, N. Scott Momaday, Irwin Shaw, Johannes Meinhold, Traugott Vogel

De Amerikaanse schrijver John Steinbeck werd geboren in Salinas, Californië, op 27 februari 1902. Zie ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2008.

Uit: The Log from the Sea of Cortez

In the early morning before daylight we came into the harbor at San Diego, in through the narrow passage, and we followed the lights on a changing course to the pier. All about us war bustled, although we had no war; steel and thunder, powder and men–the men preparing thoughtlessly, like dead men, to destroy things. The planes roared over in formation and the submarines were quiet and ominous. There is no playfulness in a submarine. The military mind must limit its thinking to be able to perform its function at all. Thus, in talking with a naval officer who had won a target competition with big naval guns, we asked, ‘have you thought what happens in a little street when one of your shells explodes, of the families torn to pieces, a thousand generations influenced when you signaled Fire?’ ‘Of course not,’ he said. ‘Those shells travel so far that you couldn’t possibly see where they land.’ And he was quite correct. if he could really see where they land and what they do, if he could really feel the power in his dropped hand and the waves radiating out from his gun, he would not be able to perform his function. He himself would be the weak point of his gun. But by not seeing, by insisting that it be a problem of ballistics and trajectory, he is a good gunnery officer. And he is too humble to take the responsibility for thinking. The whole structure of his world would be endangered if he permitted himself to think. The pieces must stick within their pattern or the whole thing collapses and the design is gone. We wonder whether in the present pattern the pieces are not straining to fall out of line; whether the paradoxes of our times are not finally mounting to a conclusion of ridiculousness that will make the whole structure collapse. For the paradoxes are becoming so great that leaders of a people must be less and less intelligent to stand their own leadership.”



John Steinbeck (27 februari 1902 – 20 december 1968)


De Britse dichter en schrijver Lawrence George Durrell werd geboren op 27 februari 1912 in Jalandhar in India. Zie ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2008.

Uit: Justine

“As for me I am neither happy nor unhappy; I lie suspended like a hair or a feather in the cloudy mixtures of memory. I spoke of the uselessness of art but added nothing truthful about its consolations. The solace of such work as I do with brain and heart lies in this—that only there, in the silences of the painter or the writer can reality be reordered, reworked and made to show its significant side. Our common actions in reality are simply the sackcloth covering which hides the cloth-of-gold—the meaning of the pattern. For us artists there waits the joyous compromise through art with all that wounded or defeated us in daily life; in this way not to evade destiny, as the ordinary people try to do, but to fulfil it in its true potential—the imagination. Otherwise why should we hurt one another? No, the remission I am seeking, and will be granted perhaps, is not one I shall ever see in the bright friendly eyes of Melissa or the sombre brow-dark gaze of Justine. We have all of us taken different paths now; but in this, the first great fragmentation of my maturity I feel the confines of my art and my living deepened immeasurably by the memory of them. In thought I achieve them anew; as if only here—this wooden table over the sea under an olive tree, only here can I enrich them as they deserve. So that the taste of this writing should have taken something from its living subjects—their breath, skin, voices—weaving them into the supple tissues of human memory. I want them to live again to the point where pain becomes art….Perhaps this is a useless attempt, I cannot say. But I must try.”



Lawrence Durrell (27 februari 1912 – 7 november 1990)


De Amerikaanse dichter Henry Wadsworth Longfellow werd geboren in Portland, Maine, op 27 februari 1807. Zie ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2008.


Afternoon in February


The day is ending,

The night is descending;

The marsh is frozen,

The river dead.


Through clouds like ashes

The red sun flashes

On village windows

That glimmer red.


The snow recommences;

The buried fences

Mark no longer

The road o’er the plain;


While through the meadows,

Like fearful shadows,

Slowly passes

A funeral train.


The bell is pealing,

And every feeling

Within me responds

To the dismal knell;


Shadows are trailing,

My heart is bewailing

And tolling within

Like a funeral bell.



Henry Longfellow (27 februari 1807 – 24 maart 1882)


De Duitse schrijfster en dichteres Elisabeth Borchers werd geboren in Homberg op 27 februari 1926. Zie ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2008.




Es kommt eine Zeit,

da nimmt’s ein böses Ende

mit dem Schneemann.


Er verliert seinen schwarzen Hut,

er verliert seine rote Nase,

und der Besen fällt ihm aus der Hand.

Kleiner wird er von Tag

zu Tag.


Neben ihm wächst ein Grün

und noch ein Grün

und noch ein Grün.


Die Sonne treibt

Vögel vor sich her.

Die wünschen dem Schneemann

eine gute Reise.





Es kommt eine Zeit

da machen die Vögel Hochzeit


Nachtigall und Lerche

Zaunkönig und Sperling

Rotkehlchen und Amsel


Ein Lied fliegt zum andern

Die Bäume tragen weite Kleider

Der Wind läutet die Blumen

Die Bienen haben goldne Schuhe


Die Katze

die graue die schwarze die weiße

sie darf es nicht tun

Sie darf die Hochzeit

nicht stören



Elisabeth Borchers (Homberg, 27 februari 1926)


De Franse schrijver en dichter Jules Lemaître werd geboren op 27 februari 1853 in Vennecy, Loiret. Zie ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2007 en ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2008.

Uit: Edmond et Jules de Goncourt

„Un tel genre de talent ne peut s’appliquer tout entier, on le comprend, qu’à la peinture des choses vues, de la vie moderne, surtout parisienne. Cinq des romans de MM. de Goncourt, sur six, sont des romans parisiens. Leur objet, c’est «la modernité», laquelle est visible surtout à Paris. Ce néologisme s’entend aisément ; mais ce qu’il représente n’est pas très facile à déterminer, car le moderne change insensiblement, et puis ce qui est moderne est toujours superposé ou mêlé à ce qui ne l’est point ou à ce qui ne l’est déjà plus. La modernité, c’est L d’abord, si l’on veut, dans l’ensemble et dans le détail de la vie extérieure, le genre de pittoresque qui est particulier à notre temps. C’est ce qui porte la date d’aujourd’hui dans nos maisons, dans nos rues, dans nos lieux de réunion. L’habit noir ou la jaquette des hommes, les chiffons des femmes, l’asphalte du boulevard, le petit journalisme, le bec de gaz et demain la lumière électrique, et une infinité d’autres choses en font partie. C’est ce qui fait qu’une rue, un café, un salon, une femme d’à présent ne ressemblent pas, extérieurement, à une femme, à un salon, à un café, à une rue du XVIIIe, ou même du temps de Louis-Philippe. La modernité, c’est encore ce qui, dans les cervelles, a l’empreinte du moment où nous sommes ; c’est une certaine fleur de culture extrême ou de perversion intellectuelle ; un tour d’esprit et de langage fait surtout d’outrance, de recherche et d’irrévérence, où domine le paradoxe, l’ironie et «la blague», où se trahit le fiévreux de l’existence, une expérience amère, une prétention à être revenu de tout, en même temps qu’une sensibilité excessive ; et c’est aussi, chez quelques personnes privilégiées, une bonté, une tendresse de cœur que les désillusions du blasé font plus désintéressé, et que l’intelligence du critique et de l’artiste fait plus intelligente et plus délicate… La modernité, c’est une chose à la fois très vague et très simple ; et l’on dira peut-être que la découverte de MM. de Goncourt n’est point si extraordinaire, qu’on avait inventé «le moderne» bien avant eux, qu’il n’y faut que des yeux.“



Jules Lemaître (27 februari 1853 – 5 augustus 1914)


De Amerikaanse schrijver James Thomas Farrell werd geboren op 27 februari 1904 in Chicago. Zie ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2007.

Uit: Joyce and His First Self-Portrait

This race and this country and this life produced me,” declares Stephen Dedalus–artistic image of James Joyce himself–in “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” “A Portrait” is the story of how Stephen was produced, how he rejected that which produced him, how he discovered that his destiny was to become a lonely one of artistic creation. It is well to look into the life out of which Stephen came, to discuss the social and national background of this novel. In Ireland a major premise of any discussion of her culture and of her literature is an understanding of Irish nationalism. And it is at least arguable that Joyce was a kind of inverted nationalist–that the nationalism which he rejects runs through him like a central thread.

Ireland, when James Joyce was a boy, suffered from a profound political defeat, the fall of Parnell. In that, once again, she was set back in her long struggle to attain nationhood. The aftermath was marked by a deeply felt and pervasive bitterness, often expressed in feelings of personal betrayal. And “A Portrait” reflects such moods. The brilliantly written scene, early in this novel, of the Dedalus family pitilessly quarreling at the Christmas dinner table is a highly concentrated artistic representation of the magnitude of Parnell’s fall in Ireland, of how it cut through families with a knifelike sharpness. The family argument is personal and its passionate anger seems to be in inverse proportion to the political impotence of those who are hurling insults at one another.



James T. Farrell (27 februari 1904 – 22 augustus 1979)


De Amerikaanse (native, Kiowa) schrijver N(avarre) Scott Momaday werd geboren op 27 februari 1934 in Lawton, Oklahoma. Zie ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2007.


The Earth


Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon

the remembered earth, I believe. He ought to give himself up

to a particular landscape in his experience, to look at it from

as many angles as he can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon


He ought to imagine that he touches it with his hands at

every season and listens to the sounds that are made upon

it. He ought to imagine the creatures there and all the faintest

motions of the wind. He ought to recollect the glare of noon and

all the colors of the dawn and dusk.

For we are held by more than the force of gravity to the earth.

It is the entity from which we are sprung, and that into which

we are dissolved in time. The blood of the whole human race

is invested in it. We are moored there, rooted as surely, as

deeply as are the ancient redwoods and bristlecones.



N. Scott Momaday (Lawton, 27 februari 1934)


De Amerikaanse schrijver Irwin Shaw werd geboren op 27 februari 1913 als Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff in New York. Hij stamde uit een Russisch-joodse familie uit de Bronx, die na zijn geboorte naar Brooklyn verhuisde en de familienaam in Shaw veranderde. Tijdens zijn colletijd schreef hij al voor de schoolkrant. In 1935 begon hij romans voor de radio te schrijven (Dick Tracy). Zijn eerste theaterstuk werd in 1936 opgevoerd. In de jaren veertig schreef hij draaiboeken voor Hollywood. Gedurende WO II was hij als soldaat in Europa. Zijn ervaringen verwerkte hij in zijn eerste roman The Young Lions verscheen in 1949. Zijn tweede The Troubled Air, die de opkomst van het McCarthyisme beschreef, in 1951. Shaw werd ook zeer gewaardeerd als schrijver van short stories. Die verschenen in bladen als Collier’s, Esquire, The New Yorker, Playboy, en The Saturday Evening Post. Een verzameling van 63 van zijn beste verhalen werd uitgevracht als Short Stories: Five Decades in 1978, herdrukt in 2000 als een 784-pagina dikke University of Chicago Press paperback.

Uit: The Climate Of Insomnia

 „He awoke early, conscious that it was a sunny day outside. He lay in bed feeling warm and healthy. There was a noise from the next bed, and he looked across the little space. There was a woman in the next bed. She was middle-aged and wearing curlers and she was snoring and Hugh was certain he had never seen her before in his life. He got out of bed silently, dressed quickly, and went out into the sunny day.

Without thinking about it, he walked to the subway station. He watched the people hurrying toward the trains and he knew that he probably should join them. He had the feeling that somewhere in the city to the south, in some tall building on a narrow street, his arrival was expected. But he knew that no matter how hard he tried he would never be able to find the building. Buildings these days, it occurred to him suddenly, were too much like other buildings.

He walked briskly away from the subway station in the direction of the river. The river was shining in the sun and there was ice along the banks. A boy of about twelve, in a plaid mackinaw and a wool hat, was sitting on a bench and regarding the river. there were some schoolbooks, tied with a leather strap, on the frozen ground at his feet.

Hugh sat down next to the boy. ‘Good morning,’ he said pleasantly.

‘Good morning,’ said the boy.

‘What’re you doing?’ Hugh asked.

‘I’m counting the boats,’ the boy said. ‘Yesterday I counted thirty-two boats. Not counting ferries. I don’t count ferries.’

Hugh nodded. He put his hands in his pockets and looked down over the river. By five o’clock that afternoon he and the boy had c
ounted forty-three boats, not including ferries. He couldn’t remember having had a nicer day.“



Irwin Shaw (27 februari 1913 – 16 mei 1984)


De Duitse schrijver Johannes Wilhelm Meinhold werd geboren op 27 februari 1797 in Netzelkow op Usedom. Hij studeerde theologie, filosofie en filologie in Greifswald, maar moest die studie na twee jaar afbreken wegens gebrek aan geld. Hij werd huisleraar en ontwikkelde zich verder door zelfstudie. In 1817 slaagde hij alsnog voor zijn examen. In 1827 werd hij dominee in Krummin. In 1838 begon hij zijn novelle “Die Pfarrerstochter von Coserow“ om te werken tot de roman „Maria Schweidler, die Bernsteinhexe“, die hij in delen in 1841 en 1842 publiceerde. Het boek uit 1843 werd zijn succesvolste werk.

Uit: Die Bernsteinhexe

 “Nach etzlichen Tagen, als unsere Nothdurft fast verzehret, fiel mir auch meine letzte Kuh umb (die andern hatten die Wülfe, wie oben bemeldet, allbereits zurissen) nicht ohne sonderlichen Verdacht, daß die Lise ihr etwas angethan, angesehen sie den Tag vorhero noch wacker gefressen. Doch lasse ich das in seinen Würden, dieweil ich Niemand nit verleumbden mag; kann auch geschehen sein durch die Schikkung des gerechten Gottes, deßen Zorn ich wohl verdienet hab’ – Summa:

ich war wiederumb in großen Nöthen und mein Töchterlein Maria zuriß mir noch mehr das Herze durch ihr Seufzen, als das Geschreie anhub: daß abermals ein Trupp Kaiserlicher nach Uekeritze gekommen, und noch gräulicher denn die ersten gemarodiret, auch das halbe Dorf in Brand gestecket. Derohalben hielt ich mich nicht mehr sicher in meiner Hütten, sondern nachdem in einem brünstigen Gebet Alles dem Herrn empfohlen, machte mich mit meinem Töchterlein und der alten Ilsen auf, in den Streckelberg1 wo ich allbereits ein Loch, einer Höhlen gleich, und trefflich von Brommelbeeren verrancket uns ausersehen, wenn die Noth uns verscheuchen söllte. Nahmen daher mit, was uns an Nothdurft des Leibes geblieben, und rannten mit Seufzen und Weinen in den Wald, wohin uns aber bald die alten Greisen und das Weibsvolk mit den Kindern folgten, welche ein groß Hungergeschrei erhoben.”


Johannes Meinhold (27 februari 1797 – 30 november 1851)


Zie voor onderstaande schrijver ook mijn blog van 27 februari 2007.

De Zwitserse schrijver Traugott Vogel werd op 27 februari 1894 als zoon van een groentehandelaar in Zürich geboren.