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Author profiles contributed by Chris Bacon, Mason County District Library

Here are some interesting facts about the author Philip Roth:

His full name is Philip Milton Roth.

He was born in Newark, NJ in 1933.

He is one of the most award winning US authors of his generation.

His family was Jewish and his parents were first-generation Americans.

He is an atheist.

He received a BA in English from Bucknell University.

He received a MA in English from the University of Chicago in 1955.

He was an English professor at the University of Chicago, University of Iowa, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania.

He retired from teaching in 1991.

He married his first wife, Margaret Martinson, 1959 and they separated in 1963. She died in a car accident in 1968.

He served in the US Army for two years in the late 1950's.

His first book, “Goodbye Columbus,” was published in 1959 and it won the US National book award for fiction.

He married his second wife in 1990, Claire Bloom, an English actress. They separated in 1994.

The book Sabbath's Theater, published in 1995, won him his second National book award.

His style is mostly a mix of humorous autobiographic and fiction where he uses real people and places and mixes in characters based on him and others.

 

Here are some interesting facts about Victor Hugo:

He was born in 1802 in Besancon in the eastern region of Franche-Comte.

He considered Napoleon a hero.

His father was a high-ranking officer in Napoleon's army.

He married his childhood friend Adele Foucher in 1822. They had five children.

His oldest daughter, Leopoldine, died at age 19 in 1843 shortly after getting married. She and her husband drowned in the Seine at Villequier after their boat overturned.

Hugo wrote many poems about his daughter's death including one of his most famous poems, “Demain, des l'aube,” where he describes visiting her grave.

Hugo decided to live in exile after Napoleon III's d'etat in 1851.

His most famous works in the United States are “The Hunchback on Norte Dame” and “Les Miserables.”

Hugo was active politically being elected to France's Parliament in 1848 and then the National Assemble and the Senate in 1870 after Napoleon III was removed from power.

It took Hugo 17 years to write “Les Miserables.”

His wife died in 1868. Around that same time his two sons died as well, and one of his daughters was put in an insane asylum.

Hugo died from pneumonia on May 22, 1885, at the age of 83.

Hugo produced over 4,000 drawings during his lifetime.

He is buried in the Pantheon.

His portrait was place on a French bank note in 1959.

Hugo is a venerated saint in the Vietnamese religion of Cao Dai.

The town of Hugoton, Kansas is named after him.

 

Here are some interesting facts about Nathaniel Hawthorne:

He was born, Nathaniel Hathorne, on July 4, 1804, in Salem Massachusetts.

His great, great, great grandfather was a Puritan and was the first of the family to emigrate from England.

His great, great grandfather, John Hathorne, was one of the judges who oversaw the Salem witch trials.

His father, Nathaniel Hathorne Sr., was a sea captain and died of in 1808 of yellow fever.

The author added the “w” to his name to separate himself from his great, great grandfather.

He went to Bowdoin College in 1821. On the way there at a stage stop he met future president Franklin Pierce and the two became lifelong friends.

He married illustrator and transcendentalist, Sophia Peabody, on July, 9, 1842.

The couple moved to The Old Manse in Concord, MA. Their neighbor was Ralph Waldo Emerson and later on Henry David Thoreau.

The couple had three children.

Hawthorne served as the United States consul in Liverpool in 1853.

At the beginning of the Civil War he met Abraham Lincoln.

Hawthorne died in his sleep on May 19, 1864, while on tour of the White Mountains in Plymouth, NH.

Hawthorne was primarily a short story writer early in his career and then moved more to dark romanticism later in his career.

Edgar Allen Poe wrote negative reviews of two of his books, “Twice-Told Tales” and “Mosses from an Old Manse.”

Probably most famous for his book “The Scarlet Letter”