February 24, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Crooners. Shows at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Fergus Falls, MN
February 23, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at A Center for the Arts. 7:30 p.m.
Detroit Lakes, MN
February 22, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Historic Holmes Theatre. 7:30 p.m.
St. Cloud, MN
February 21, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Pioneer Place on Fifth. 7:30 p.m.
February 20, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Paradise Center for the Arts. 7:30 p.m.
by T. S. Eliot
Miss Helen Slingsby was my maiden aunt,
And lived in a small house near a fashionable square
Cared for by servants to the number of four.
Now when she died there was silence in heaven
And silence at her end of the street.
The shutters were drawn and the undertaker wiped his feet—
He was aware that this sort of thing had occurred before.
The dogs were handsomely provided for,
But shortly afterwards the parrot died too.
The Dresden clock continued ticking on the mantelpiece,
And the footman sat upon the dining-table
Holding the second housemaid on his knees—
Who had always been so careful while her mistress lived.
“Aunt Helen” by T. S. Eliot. Public domain. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of the person who compiled roughly half of the entries in the Oxford English Dictionary, the lexicographer Sir James Murray, born in Denholm, Scotland (1837).
It’s the birthday of Sir Thomas More (books by this author), born in 1478. Aside from his role as a statesman and courtier, More is best known for his satirical novel Utopia, published in Latin in 1516, depicting an imaginary society free of private property, sexual discrimination, violence, and religious intolerance.
More was beheaded in 1535 for his opposition to Henry’s break with the Roman Catholic Church and the annulment of the King’s marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
His book Main Street (1920) was about a fictional small town in Minnesota called Gopher Prairie, a place inhabited by “a savorless people, gulping tasteless food, and sitting afterward, coatless and thoughtless, in rocking-chairs prickly with inane decorations, listening to mechanical music, saying mechanical things about the excellence of Ford automobiles, and viewing themselves as the greatest race in the world.”
Main Street was a huge sensation; within a few years, the book had sold 2 million copies and he’d become a millionaire.
It’s the birthday of another writer from the prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder, (books by this author) born just north of Pepin, Wisconsin (1867), author of the wildly popular children’s book Little House on the Prairie (1935) and several other books about growing up in the Midwest in the late 1800s. They’re all part of the Little House series, which she began writing when she was in her 60s. Since her death, about a hundred different titles have appeared in the Little House series that she created.
All of her books have remained in print continuously since the time they were first published.
By the time he was in his 40s, Dickens was a popular and successful writer; his novels included The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (1836-37), The Adventures of Oliver Twist (1837-39), The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1838-39), A Christmas Carol (1843), and David Copperfield (1849-50).
Then Dickens began writing less and touring more. He had given a couple of successful charity readings of A Christmas Carol, and he knew a business opportunity when he saw it. His first tour consisted of 149 performances in 49 towns throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. He performed alone on stage, with dramatic lighting, a maroon curtain, and a red reading stand. Dickens used different voices for different characters and acted out the dramatic parts. His most popular reenactment was of Bill Sikes’s murder of his lover Nancy from Oliver Twist.
In the late 1860s, Dickens gave a reading tour of the United States, performing 76 times even while his health failed. He suffered repeated small strokes, one of his feet was so painful that there were times he couldn’t wear a shoe, and by the end of the American tour he could barely eat solid food. His doctor confirmed that Dickens’ heart rate skyrocketed when he performed, and finally put an end to the tours.
Dickens went to work on his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, but before he could finish it — less than three months after his final public reading — he died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 58.