Literary Birthdays – December 6 – 12

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December 6 
December 7
December 8
December 9  
December 10
December 11 
December 12 

December 6

James Elphinston (b. 1721) – Scottish philologist,  orthographer, grammarian of English language –  A Minniature ov Inglish Orthoggraphy (1795) james-elphinston

Excerpt from A Minniature ov Inglish Orthoggraphy

To’ keep Inglish, dhus like French and Lattin, or spelling dhe contrast ov speech; our litterature haz hiddherto’ no likenes ov our language; and haz continnued inaccessibel to’ evvery native, az much az to’ evvery strainger.

For, hwile we lernedly lov to’ see

Aloe, melon, lily, solemn,
carol, very, spirit, coral, borough,
manor, tenant, minute, honor, punish,
clamor, blemish, limit, comet, pumice,
chapel, leper, triple, copy,
habit, rebel, tribute, probate,
heifer, profit,
cavil, revel, drivel, novel, hovel,
city, pity, british, critic,
madam, credit, idiom, body, study,
tacit, licit,
hazard, ezad, lizard, closet, bosom,

We shrewdly hope to’ hear,

Alloe, mellon, lilly, sollemn,
carrol, verry, spirrit, corral, burrow,
mannor, tennant, minnute, onnor, punnish,
clammor, blemmish, limmit, commet, pummice,
chappel, lepper, trippel, coppy,
habbit, rebbel, tribbute, probbate,
heffer, proffit,
cavvil, revvel, drivvel, novvel, hovvel,
citty, pitty, brittish, crittic,
maddam, creddit, iddiom, boddy, studdy,
tascit, liscit,
hazzard, ezzad, lizzard, clozzet, buzzom,

Hwile dhus notthing but s can dubbel soft c, or sibbilantly shut dhe preceding vowel; and render precious, or vicious, hwat dhey ar; but prescious, or viscious; dhe sibbilants direct simpel figgure may not onely becom, in dhe ostensibel physic, visit, and vision, a dubbel depressive; in dhe real phyzzic, vizzit, and vizzion; but work equal wonders, in polysyllables ov anny extension; pretending, in dhe verry name, to’ paint pollysyllabels.

And dhus dhe trokees grow innumerabel, dhat shut and sharpen, shortening dhe former vowel; hwich dhey hav hiddherto’ pretended to’ exhibbit slowly and smoodhly open: so leving singuel dhe intermediate articulacion, hwich must be audibly dubbel, (must shut az wel az articculate,) and continnue dhe equal impossibillity, ov reading and writing our language.

Read A Minniature ov Inglish Orthoggraphy online:

December 7

Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi [عبدالرحمن صوفی] (b. 903) – Persian astronomer – Book of Fixed Stars [Suwar al-Kawakib al-Thabit] (964) 165px-al_sufi_-_book_of_fixed_stars_-_ursa_major_28the_great_bear29_-_bodleian_library_-_marsh_144

Read the Wikipedia biography of al-Sufi here:

Read about astronomy in the Arab world and see some of al-Sufi’s illustrations from the Book of Fixed Stars:

December 8

Delmore Schwartz
Delmore Schwartz (b. 1913) – U.S. poet

Read about Delmore Schwartz here

Read “How Delmore Schwartz Saved My Life”

The American poets who captured this paradox best—Schwartz and other Brooklyn-born bards… are the Brooklyn Jewish Troubadours. In a sense, these are Walt Whitman’s children, the generations he reached out to in “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” adolescents caught between the deprivations their parents invariably suffered in the old world and the new world of opportunity and bounty.

Albert Einstein To Archibald Macleish

I should have been a plumber
fixing drains.
And mending pure white bathtubs for the great Diogenes
(who scorned all lies, all liars, and all tyrannies),

And then, perhaps, he would bestow on me — majesty!
(O modesty aside, forgive my fallen pride, O hidden
The lamp, the lantern, the lucid light he sought for

All too often — sick humanity!)

Read The poet at this blog:

Read more about Delmore Schwartz here


December 9


Grace Hopper (b. 1906) – U.S. computer scientist, computer language developer – FLOWMATIC (computer compiler language); Manual of Operation for the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (with Howard Aiken – 1946)

Watch this video biography Grace Hopper on YouTube:

Grace Hopper on the David Letterman show in 1986, explaining nanoseconds and where you can find picoseconds:

December 10

Maria Benitez (Maria Bibiana Benitez Constanza) (b. 1783) – Puerto Rican poet – Soneto (1839)

Read about Maria Benitez in this blog post:

Read a couple of her poems here:

December 11

Subramanya Bharathi (b. 1882) – Indian poet subramaniya-bharathy

Read the Wikipedia biography of Bharathi here:

Read more about Bharati here

In Each Other’s Arms (Kannamma en Kathali 2)

Thou to me the flowing Light,
And I to thee, discerning sight;
Honied Blossom thou to me,
Bee enchanted I to thee;
O Heavenly Lamp with shining ray,
O Krishna, Love, O nectar-spray,
With faltering tongue and words that pant
Thy glories, here, I strive to chant.

Read the entire poem at Venkat’s “Poetically Correct” blog:

December 12


Robert Lepage (b. 1957) – Canadian playwright, actor, producer/director

Watch a 1-hour interview with Robert Lepage
at Univ. of California Berkeley (2007):

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