No. 19: James Joyce at 40

James JoyceTomorrow – 16 June – is Bloomsday, an annual international celebration of Joyce’s most famous work Ulysses. The significance of the date is that is the day in which the action of Ulysses is set, yet an equally important date for Ulysses – i.e. its first publication as a novel – is, would you believe, his 40th birthday on 2 February 1922. Continue reading “No. 19: James Joyce at 40”


No. 18: Christopher Marlowe (not) at 40

marloweA number of posts in this series have looked upon authors in their 40th as either just beginning their career, or safely in the midst of it, but just as often we can see 40 as an elusive, unobtainable age, and such is certainly the case for Christopher Marlowe who died in 1593 aged just 29; yet he still maintained a presence on the stage in his 40th year, with the first publication of his most famous play Doctor Faustus eleven years after his death. Yet Marlowe’s early death has also been the making of his reputation, with fans and critics alike bewailing the absence of further plays and regularly arguing that had he lived, be it 40 or older, it might have been him, and not Shakespeare, who we study today. Continue reading “No. 18: Christopher Marlowe (not) at 40”

No. 17: C. S. Lewis at 40

LewisBorn in 1898, Clive Staples Lewis turned 40 in 1938. With a name like that it’s no wonder before he was four he’d already defiantly demanded to be known as Jack, and of course we know him better today by his initials, CS. Continue reading “No. 17: C. S. Lewis at 40”