30 November-Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was a playwright, novelist, and poet who was a native of Dublin, Ireland. As a writer he is best known for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and his play The Importance of Being Earnest. Apart from his writing, his wit and lifestyle made Wilde one of the best known personalities of his time.

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born at 21 Westland Row, Dublin on October 16, 1854. He was educated at Portora Royal School at Enniskillen and at Trinity College Dublin. Following graduation from Trinity, Wilde was awarded a scholarship for further study at Magdalen College in Oxford.

Having completed his studies at Oxford in 1878, Wilde moved to London where he began writing poetry. In 1882 he travelled to North America where he spent almost a year on a lecture tour. He spent the following year on the lecture circuit in Ireland and England before taking up a post as editor of a woman’s magazine.

During his time as editor Wilde began writing what would be his most famous works. By 1890 he was one of the most successful playwrights of his time. In February 1895 the Marquis of Queensbury accused Wilde of being a sodomite. Wilde sued him for slander but lost. In the trial which followed Wilde was found guilty of gross indecency and sentenced in May 1895 to two years of imprisonment. On being released he moved to France.

Oscar Wilde died in Paris at the age of 46 in the year 1900 On This Day.

OSCAR WILDE – MERRION SQUARE by infomatique on 2004-09-15 16:27:49

THE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE by summonedbyfells on 2014-06-11 10:46:39

Oscar Wilde’s grave, Paris by dblackadder on 2005-03-31 07:42:48


30 November-Dean Swift

Jonathan Swift visited Carlow town during his time as Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin City. He stayed in Centaur Street and preached at St Mary’s Church. His observation of Carlow was “Poor Town, proud people, high Church and low steeple.”

Jonathan Swift was born at Hoey’s Court in Dublin city in 1667. He was Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin from 1713 until his death in 1745. Shortly before Swift was born his father died. Swift’s uncles supported him and his family and they paid for him to attend school. He was sent to Kilkenny College at age five. He was student there until the age of sixteen when he was admitted to Trinity College Dublin. He was awarded his BA degree in 1686 despite reports that he came to the attention of the college authorities for breaching the disciplinary code on many occasions.

Swift moved to England to work in 1689 but he returned to Ireland on several occasions for short periods. However it was only when he was appointed as Dean of Saint Patricks Cathedral in 1713 that he took up permanent residence in Dublin. He spent nearly all the rest of his life in Ireland. He devoted himself to exposing what he regarded as unjust impositions on, and the unfair treatment of, the Irish people by the policies being adopted by England.

A Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufacture was regarded as being very patriotic and was enormously popular when it was first published in 1720. The The Drapier Letters, published in 1724, were an exposé of a plan to introduce a new copper coin that would have devalued Ireland’s currency. Swift asked: ‘Were not the people of Ireland born as free as those of England? Are they not subjects of the same king? Am I a freeman in England and do I become a slave in six hours by crossing the Channel?’ The publication established Swift as a national hero. He published Gulliver’s Travels in 1726 and a Modest Proposal in 1729.

Dean Jonathan Swift died at the age of 78 on October 19th 1745 and is buried in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. His epitaph which he wrote himself and instructed that it be carved in Kilkenny marble reads:

Here lies the body of Jonathan Swift, Doctor of Divinity and Dean of this Cathedral,

Where savage indignation can no longer lacerate his heart;

Go traveller and imitate if you can, this dedicated and earnest champion of liberty.

Jonathan Swift, Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, was born in Dublin in the year 1667 On This Day.

Dean Swift by Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara on 2011-12-22 16:15:15

Dean Swift by Rob Hurson on 2014-05-30 13:03:46

29 November-Ann Dunham

Ann Dunham was an anthropologist who was the mother of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States of America. As an undergraduate student at the University of Hawaii she met and married Barack H. Obama, Sr. He was a native of Kenya who was a student at the University on a college scholarship. Their son Barack Hussein Obama was born on August 4th 1961.

Shortly after his son’s birth Obama Sr. was awarded a scholarship to study for a PhD at Harvard University. He moved to Harvard and Ann Dunham raised their son and continued her studies. She was awarded a BA in anthropology by the University of Hawaii on August 6th 1967. She later studied abroad, particularly in Indonesia where she helped establish a micro-finance programme for small business. She performed doctoral research in Indonesia and was awarded a PhD in anthropology on August 9th 1992. She died at the age of 52 on November 7th

Ann Dunham was born in the year 1942 On This Day.

Ann Dunham (Barack Obama’s Mother) Field Notes by Raymond June on 2012-01-06 19:00:22

Barack Obama with his mother in Hawaii. by U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia on 2011-11-11 13:31:32

Right-to-left: Barack Obama and Maya Soetoro with their mother Ann and maternal grandfather Stanley Dunham in Hawaii (early 1970s) by U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia on 2011-11-11 13:32:35

29 November-Giacomo Puccini

The 1990 Football World Cup, which was held in Italy, had as its theme tune ‘Nessun Dorma’. It was composed by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini and performed by Luciano Pavarotti . Nessun Dorma is an aria from Puccini’s final opera, Turandot which was left incomplete at the time of his death.

Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca, Tuscany on December 22nd 1858. His father, who was the musical director of the Cathedral of San Martino in Lucca, died when Puccini was five years old. The city of Lucca paid for his education and kept the position of Musical Director open for him so that he could follow in the family tradition when he came of age. He studied locally and in 1880 went to the Milan Conservatory to continue his studies and graduated in 1883.

In 1876, while still at school, Puccini attended a production of Verdi’s Aida in Pisa just over 30 km from his home city of Lucca. The experience convinced him to pursue a career in opera. Following graduation from the Milan Conservatory, Puccini composed ‘Le Villi’ for a local competition. When it was successfully performed later at Teatro dal Verme in Milan it was purchased by music publisher Giulio Ricordi. A revised version of the opera was successfully staged at La Scala in Milan on January 24th 1885. Puccini and Ricordi became friends and cooperated on operatic productions throughout their lives.

During his career Puccini’s compositions included La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Turandot which was completed by Franco Alfono. Puccini became famous and his operas were performed all over the world. His works are among the most frequently performed in the history of opera. In 1920 he began work on Turandot. In 1923 he was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and died the following year while undergoing radiation treatment in Brussels. He is buried in his villa at Torre del Lago about 25km east of Lucca on the coast of Tuscany.

Giacomo Antonio Puccini died in Brussels at the age of 65 in the year 1924 On This Day.

Giacomo Puccini photo

Giacomo Puccini @ Lucca by zipckr on 2010-04-19 12:11:46

Photo by zipckr

Giacomo Puccin

28 November-East Timor

The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste also known as East Timor occupies the Eastern section of the island of Timor in Southeast Asia. It was recognised as an independent state by the United Nations on May 20th 2002. East Timor occupies an area of 14,609 km2 and has a population of 1.2 million.

The Portuguese began to colonise the island of Timor during the 1600’s. The island was split between the Portuguese and the Dutch in 1749. However it was not until 1914 that a definitive border was established between the two sections of the island by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

Following the 1974 coup, Portugal began to withdraw from its colonies. East Timor declared itself independent in 1975. This led to the country being invaded by Indonesia nine days later. The invasion was resisted by the people of East Timor and over the following two decades over 100,000 people died.

A referendum on independence supervised by the UN was held in 1999. The people of East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence. Timor-Leste became an internationally recognized independent state in 2002.

East Timor declared itself independent in the year 1975 On This Day.

reading in East Timor_2 by J.P. Esperança on 2008-01-01 00:00:00