William Shakespeare, the Immortal Bard, died 401 years ago on 23 April 1616. We saw this memorial to the great English poet and playwright during our visit to London late last year. It’s in Southwark Cathedral (below).
Above the memorial there is a stained glass window which depicts many characters from Shakespeare’s plays.
Today is the anniversary of the publication of Samuel Johnson‘s great “Dictionary of the English Language” (aka Johnson’s Dictionary) on 15 April 1755. It remained the dictionary for the next 150 years.
We visited Johnson’s House during our visit to London six months ago. It is a nicely restored 18th century townhouse full of period furniture, Johnson memorabilia and books – including Johnson’s Dictionary of course.
The great French author Gustave Flaubert died on 8 May 1880. His most famous work is Madame Bovary. We visited his hometown of Rouen some years back and tracked down many places connected with his life.
He was born at the hospital in Rouen (above), where his father was a doctor. The family lived in an apartment attached to the hospital. Their apartment is now a Flaubert Museum. Flaubert and other members of his family are buried at the town’s cemetery.
These are the main characters in the Chinese classic story “Journey to the West”. The Monkey King is in the foreground, Piggsy on the left of the photo, Sandy on the right and the Buddhist monk Tripitaka on the White Horse. The book is good reading for 2016 – the Year of the Monkey.
We were wandering around the Downtown district of Los Angeles a week or so back, and stopped off to check out The Last Bookstore. It looks fairly small and rather serious from the outside, but is actually quite large and a lot of fun inside.
The eclectic collection of books and records was supplemented by an intriguing layout, which included shelves of books displayed inside old bank vaults and some maze-like areas which had us zigzagging between the shelves. It’s hard too think of another bookshop that is quite like this one.
Another bridge that we saw in Rome recently was Ponte Fabricio, which connects Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) to the “mainland”. It was constructed in 62BCE and is the oldest surviving Roman bridge in Rome. Nearby you can also see Ponte Rotto (Broken Bridge, on the left of the photo below), which is even older but only one span has survived.
If you are a fan of Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons”, you will have noticed that our blog entries for yesterday and today are both locations mentioned in that book. You can read about more sites connected with the book in our literary travel blog.
We ran into the world’s favourite puppet quite frequently during our visit to Rome last month. His real home is in Collodi, in northern Italy, but he is a bit of a national icon and turns up all over Italy – especially with his red, white and green colour scheme.