Attached is a chart pulled from a 1936 issue of THE LITERARY DIGEST that reported on the U.S. urban homicide rate spanning the years 1926 through 1935. It indicates that the murder rate began climbing during the economic depression (from 8.8 in 1928); the years 1934 through 1936 saw a steady decline in urban homicide, more than likely as a result of the end of Prohibition.
This is a brief look at the up-bringing of Mark Twain (born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1835 - 1910), accompanied by two 1910 magazine photographs of the people who inspired the writer to create "Becky Thatcher" and "Huckleberry Finn". Also interviewed was the the man who instructed the author in the skills required to pilot the Mississippi River.
The historian Henry Steele Commager chose to rank Mark Twain at number 4 insofar as his impact on the American mind was concerned - click here to understand his reasoning (does this still hold true?)...
British poet and literary critic Arthur Symons (1865 - 1945) remembered the time French poet Paul Verlaine (1844 - 1896) was his house guest.
The 1921 book review of Paul Verlaine can be read here...
The 1917 publication of The life of Algernon Charles Swinburne, by Edmund Gosse caused much discussion in the literary world:
"A bombshell that struck literary England a little past that last mid-century has been re-echoing in the recently published 'Life of Algernon Charles Swinburne' by Edmund Gosse. The shell was the volume called 'Poems and Ballads' a cursory knowledge of which probably places it in many minds as one of the bad books of literature..."
Kate Douglas Wiggin recalled her childhood train ride in the 1840's in which she was able to have a chat with one of her favorite authors, Charles Dickens (1812 - 1870), as he traveled the United States on a reading tour.
" 'Of course, I do skip some of the very dull parts once and a while; not the short dull parts but the long ones.' He laughed heartily. 'Now that is something that I hear very little about' he said".
Wise words from the Victorians regarding the perils of bachelorhood:
"There is no tear shed for the old bachelor; there is no ready hand and kind heart to cheer him in his loneliness and bereavement..."
Click here to read other Victorian Gems.