June 13 marks the birthday of Mark Van Doren (1894-1972). In Shakespeare, Van Doren’s witty, perceptive essays deftly guide the reader though the intricacies of Shakespeare’s language in each of his plays and many of his poems; he elucidates the profundity of the Bard’s works with grace and aplomb.
On June 15, we celebrate Maria Dermoût (1888-1962). Born on a sugar plantation in the Dutch East Indies and educated in Holland, Dermoût returned to the Indies and captured this exotic experience with remarkable realism in her novel The Ten Thousand Things.
The hugely influential French philosopher, novelist, playwright, and pampheleteer Jean-Paul Sartre was born on June 21, 1905; we’re celebrating by announcing the November 2012 publication of We Have Only This Life to Live, a new collection that draws from Sartre’s entire Collected Essays as well as his unpublished work.