Monday, November 7, 2011

3 Literary Anniversaries Worth Celebrating in 2011

The 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible
The 200th Anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens
The 100th Anniversary of the publication of Peter Pan

In 1611 King James appointed a committee of 54 scholars to prepare an English translation of the Bible. They worked in teams for 7 years, translating from Greek, Hebrew and older English texts. The result was a massive tome of nearly 1500 pages, 10 ½ inches wide, 16 ½ inches high, printed in beautiful black Gothic type. It is probably the single most influential book in the English language. At present there is an interesting exhibit about the KJV at the American Bible Society, 1865 Broadway, in Manhattan.

Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens was a writer whose stature has never been surpassed. His novels are as rich and lively today as when they first appeared. Many of his characters have become fixtures in the minds of readers all over the world. And his depictions of the workhouse, debtors prison, and orphanages served to bring about major reform in these institutions. The Morgan Museum in New York City has an exhibit about him until February 12, 2012.

Peter Pan
Although Peter swore he would never grow up, he has reached the age of 100 years in 2011. James M. Barrie’s character has appeared in book, theater and film, delighting children and adults alike. In honor of his centennial, an annotated version of the original Peter Pan has been released by The Annotated Books, edited by Maria Tatar.

As we all clapped at Tinker Bell’s request in Barrie’s famous play, let’s applaud these three anniversaries before 2011 comes to a close.

Robin Hathaway

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