Henry Roth, John Grisham, Jules Verne, Kate Chopin, Gabriele Reuter

De Amerikaanse schrijver Henry Roth werd geboren op 8 februari 1906 in Tysmenitz nabij Stanislawow, Galicië, in het toenmalige Oostenrijk-Hongarije. Zie ook alle tags voor Henry Roth op dit blog.

Uit: An American Type

“That was the time, the general mood, the predicament out of which this story comes. The young woman I was courting — we shall call her M — was a very personable, tall, fair-haired young woman, a pianist and composer, a young woman with a world of patience, practicality, and self-discipline, bred and raised in the best traditions of New England and the Middle West, the most wholesome traditions. I was, at that time, sufficiently advanced and superior to be somewhat disdainful of those traditions. I wondered whether there was any reality to my courtship, any future, whether, in short, anything would come of it. I was so committed to being an artist — in spite of anything.
The colony was close to Saratoga Springs, and I owned a Model A Ford, and in the early morning hours before breakfast I would drive down from Yaddo to the spa. There was a kind of public place there in those days, a place where paper cups could be bought for a penny, and a sort of fountain where the water bubbled through a slender pipe into a basin — and I say bubbled because that was one of its attractions, the fact that it did bubble.
Ever since childhood I have regarded carbonated water as something of a treat, something not easily obtainable, in fact, only by purchase, remembering the seltzer-water man on the East Side laboring up the many flights of stairs with his dozen siphons in a box. And here it was free, and not only free but salutary. The water had a slightly musty or sulfurous flavor to go with its effervescence, but its properties were surpassingly benign.
I happened to mention the effectiveness and bracing qualities of the waters of the spring to a small group standing in front of the main building of Yaddo, and invited at large anyone who wished to accompany me in the morning. The response was almost universally negative. “Drink that water? That stuff?” was the tenor of their comments. “I’d sooner drink mud water,” said one of the poets. But one person did reply in the affirmative. That was M. She liked the water; it shortly became apparent that she liked it as much as I did.”

Henry Roth (8 februari 1906 – 13 oktober 1995)
Stanislawow, tegenwoordig Iwano-Frankowsk in Polen


De Amerikaanse schrijver John Grisham werd geboren in Jonesboro, Arkansas, op 8 februari 1955. Zie ook alle tags voor John Grisham op dit blog.

Uit: Sycamore Row

“They found Seth Hubbard in the general area where he had promised to be, though not exactly in the condition expected. He was at the end of a rope, six feet off the ground and twisting slightly in the wind. A front was moving through and Seth was soaked when they found him, not that it mattered. Someone would point out that there was no mud on his shoes and no tracks below him, so therefore he was probably hanging and dead when the rain began. Why was that important? Ultimately, it was not.
The logistics of hanging oneself from a tree are not that simple. Evidently, Seth thought of everything. The rope was three-quarter-inch braided natural Manila, of some age and easily strong enough to handle Seth, who weighed 160 pounds a month earlier at the doctor’s office. Later, an employee in one of Seth’s factories would report that he had seen his boss cut the fifty-foot length from a spool a week before using it in such dramatic fashion. One end was tied firmly to a lower branch of the same tree and secured with a slapdash mix of knots and lashings. But, they held. The other end was looped over a higher branch, two feet in girth and exactly twenty-one feet from the ground. From there it fell about nine feet, culminating in a perfect hangman’s knot, one that Seth had undoubtedly worked on for some time. The noose was straight from the textbook with thirteen coils designed to collapse the loop under pressure. A true hangman’s knot snaps the neck, making death quicker and less painful, and apparently Seth had done his homework. Other than what was obvious, there was no sign of a struggle or suffering.
A six-foot stepladder had been kicked aside and was lying benignly nearby. Seth had picked his tree, flung his rope, tied it off, climbed the ladder, adjusted the noose, and, when everything was just right, kicked the ladder and fell. His hands were free and dangling near his pockets.”

John Grisham (Jonesboro, 8 februari 1955)


De Franse schrijver Jules Verne werd geboren in Nantes op 8 februari 1828. Zie ook alle tags voor Jules Verne op dit blog.

Uit: 20.000 Mijlen onder Zee

“Op dit oogenblik is mij alles nog niet recht duidelijk; ik zie in deze duisternis maar enkele flikkeringen; en ik moet mij tevreden stellen met het opschrijven mijner denkbeelden onder den indruk der verschillende gebeurtenissen.
Bovendien bindt ons niets aan kapitein Nemo. Hij weet dat wij den Nautilus onmogelijk kunnen ontvluchten. Wij zijn zelfs niet op ons woord van eer gevangen. Geen belofte bindt ons aan hem. Wij zijn slechts gevangenen, die onder den schijn van beleefdheid als gasten behandeld worden. Ned Land heeft echter de hoop niet opgegeven om de vrijheid terug te krijgen. Zeker zal hij gebruik maken van de eerste gelegenheid de beste, die het toeval hem aanbiedt. Zonder twijfel zal ik zijn voorbeeld volgen. En toch zal ik niet zonder eenig leedwezen datgene met mij nemen, wat de edelmoedigheid van den kapitein ons van de geheimen van den Nautilus heeft laten doorgronden. Moet ik dien man haten of bewonderen?

Scene uit de film “20.000 Leagues Under The Sea” uit 1954

Is hij slachtoffer of beul? En dan zou ik, om openhartig te spreken, voor ik hem verliet, gaarne die onderzeesche reis om de aarde volbrengen, waarvan het begin zoo schoon is geweest. Ik zou gaarne al de wonderen aanschouwen, die de wereldzeeen voor ons verborgen houden. Ik zou willen gezien hebben wat niemand nog heeft aanschouwd, zelfs al moest ik met mijn leven dien onleschbaren dorst naar kennis betalen! Wat heb ik tot nog toe ontdekt? Niets of bijna niets, want wij hebben nog maar 24000 kilometer door den Grooten Oceaan afgelegd!
Echter weet ik wel dat de Nautilus het bewoonde land nadert, en dat, als zich eenige kans op ontvluchten voordoet, het wreed zou zijn mijn makkers aan mijn zucht naar het onbekende op te offeren. Ik zal hen moeten volgen, misschien zelfs wel geleiden.”

Jules Verne (8 februari 1828 – 24 maart 1905)

De Amerikaanse schrijfster Kate Chopin (pseudoniem van Katherine O’Flaherty) werd geboren op 8 februari 1851 in St. Louis. Zie ook alle tags voor Kate Chopin op dit blog.

Uit: A Respectable Woman

“Mrs. Baroda was a little provoked to learn
that her husband expected his friend, Gouvernail, up to spend a week or two on the plantation.
They had entertained a good deal during the winter; much of the time had also been passed in New Orleans in various forms of mild dissipation. She was looking forward to a period of unbroken rest, now, and undisturbed tete-a-tete with her husband, when he informed her that Gouvernail was coming up to stay a week or two.
This was a man she had heard much of but never seen. He had been her husband’s college friend; was now a journalist, and in no sense a society man or “a man about town,” which were, perhaps, some of the reasons she had never met him. But she had unconsciously formed an image of him in her mind. She pictured him tall, slim, cynical; with eye-glasses, and his hands in his pockets; and she did not like him. Gouvernail was slim enough, but he wasn’t very tall nor very cynical; neither did he wear eyeglasses nor carry his hands in his pockets. And she rather liked him when he first presented himself.
But why she liked him she could not explain satisfactorily to herself when she partly attempted to do so. She could discover in him none of those brilliant and promising traits which Gaston, her husband, had often assured her that he possessed. On the contrary, he sat rather mute and receptive before her chatty eagerness to make him feel at home and in face of Gaston’s frank and wordy hospitality. His manner was as courteous toward her as the most exacting woman could require; but he made no direct appeal to her approval or even esteem.
Once settled at the plantation he seemed to like to sit upon the wide portico in the shade of one of the big Corinthian pillars, smoking his cigar lazily and listening attentively to Gaston’s experience as a sugar planter.”

Kate Chopin (8 februari 1851 – 22 augustus 1904)
Bronzen borstbeeld in de Writer’s Corner in St. Louis, Missouri


De Duitse schrijfster Gabriele Reuter werd geboren op 8 februari 1859 in Alexandrië. Zie ook alle tags voor Gabriele Reuter op dit blog.

Uit: Das Tränenhaus

„Das kleine Haus lag in einer freundlichen Wiesengegend Württembergs. Oben auf dem höchsten Punkt des lang hingestreckten Hügels hob ein graues Grafenschloß seine Dächer über das Grün der Parkbäume, die Dorfstraße mit den Bauernhöfen zog sich über den Rücken der Erdhebung. Unten, wo der helle junge Fluß durch Weidengebüsch und über weiße Kiesel plätscherte, gab es noch eine zweite Straße. Hier wohnten nur arme Weiblein in bescheidenen Hütten, mit winzigen, blumenreichen Vorgärten.
Das kleine Haus aber lag ganz allein und abseits von den beiden Dorfstraßen, am linken Abhang des Hügels, in seine Flanke gleichsam verschüchtert hineingedrückt. Der Weg, der vom Dorf zu ihm hinunter führte, war steil und steinicht, voller Löcher und Pfützen. Rechts und links neben den Schlehdornhecken wuchs ein Gestrüpp von Brennnesseln. Alles zeigte, daß niemand ein Interesse daran nahm, den Pfad in gangbarem Zustande zu erhalten. Er führte ja auch nur zu einem Gehöft notorisch verkommener armer Leute, und weiter zu dem kleinen Häuschen, von dem die Frauen im Dorf mit einem gewissen halblauten Ton der Scheu redeten, und die Männer mit einem zweideutigen Grinsen.
Freundlich genug schaute es aus unter dem großen blühenden Birnbaum, durch den die Bienen summten. Helle Gardinen hingen vor allen Fenstern, und seine stattliche Eigentümerin stand meistens würdevoll vor ihrer Türe, irgend etwas Gutes zwischen ihren großen weißen Zähnen behaglich kauend, während die kleine Schar ihrer Gäste um sie her auf der Schwelle oder auf der Bank an der Hauswand zu hocken pflegte, gähnend, träumend oder schwatzend, wie es sich eben fügen mochte.
Die Gäste waren das Bedenkliche in diesem kleinen Hause, von dessen Türe man unendlich weit ins Land schauen konnte, über das heitere Flüßchen hinweg, bis zu den duftigen Umrissen der Schweizeralpen fern am wolkigen Horizont, und das doch trotz dieser weiten und freien Aussicht so schüchtern sich hinter der Hügelflanke versteckte.“

Gabriele Reuter (8 februari 1859 – 18 november 1941)
Rond 1900