Wednesday, 4 January 2012

On This Day in Literature

For those of you interested in literary history, January 4th is a date that should be noted in the diary as being one of particular significance, marking as it does the anniversaries of the births and deaths of some giants of world literature.

Gao Xingjian
On this day in 1940, Gao Xingjian, novelist, critic and playwright was born in Jiangxi province in eastern China.  Since fleeing his native country in 1987, Gao has lived in France, where he was granted full citizenship in 1997.

Albert Camus

January 4th is also associated with another French author, Albert Camus (who died in a car crash on this day in 1960).

Interestingly, both Camus and Gao have been associated with the philosophy of absurdism, which focuses on the inherent conflict between the human desire to find meaning in life and the impossibilty of finding any such meaning.

Other literary heavyweights who died on this day are TS Eliot (1965) and Christopher Isherwood (1986).

All of the above, with the exception of Isherwood, have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Chistopher Isherwood
TS Eliot

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