You wouldn’t believe the day I’ve had. I’m exhausted and angry. I doubt I will write more today after this very late birthday post.
On this day in 1891, the great novelist Henry Miller was born. I’ve never especially liked his work, but he really did revolutionize the novel. Not that anyone really followed in his footsteps—maybe the Beats and Burroughs. I think a lot could be done with his approach to the novel without his various annoying habits and obsessions. I’ve often thought that this approach might work well for me. Anyway, he’s an important guy and well worth reading. His novels were apparently banned in the United States until 1961, although I really can’t tell you why. They seem tame even by the standards of the 1950s. But America has never been as free a nation as people have claimed. And that is especially true from about 1820 onward.
Other birthdays: English poet Thomas Gray (1716); science writer Mary Somerville (1780); inventor Charles Babbage (1791); American novelist E D E N Southworth (1819); Irish poet Dion Boucicault (1820); French playwright Rene Bazin (1853); French cityscape painter Maurice Utrillo (1883); novelist Jean Toomer (1894); Russian painter Anatoli Lvovich Kaplan (1902); comedian Steve Allen (1921); comedian Alan King (1927); music producer and possible murderer Phil Spector (74); and comedian Tony Rosato (59).
The day, however, belongs to one of my favorite character actors Elisha Cook Jr who was born on this day in 1903. I liked him most in Shane and House on Haunted Hill. He’s also great in The Big Sleep. He had a great and varied career. If you were going to be an actor, his is the kind of career you would want to have.
Happy birthday Elisha Cook Jr!