• A tribute to Carolyn Wells (died in 1942)

    From lenona321@yahoo.com@21:1/5 to All on Fri Oct 4 13:14:34 2019
    I only recently heard of her as an editor because of two books she compiled, of other people's works:

    A Nonsense Anthology (1902)

    A Whimsey Anthology (1906)

    She was born in Rahway, New Jersey, married Hadwin Houghton, the heir of the Houghton-Mifflin publishing empire, moved to NYC after 1919, and is now buried in Rahway Cemetery.

    I can't understand why there is no listing for her in the "Something About the Author" encyclopedias!

    It's very strange; even the people at Encyclopedia.com can't agree on whether she was born in 1862 or 1869. That is, there are TWO entries for her there, with different birthdates. (But her tombstone says 1862, I found out.)



    "A clever, precocious child, she mastered the alphabet at 18 months and reading by the age of three. An attack of scarlet fever at age six, however, left her deaf.

    "Although she graduated from high school as valedictorian of her class, Wells thought school a waste, and college an even greater waste. She attended the Sauveur School of Languages in Amherst for three summers, studying Shakespeare under the esteemed
    scholar William J. Rolfe, and delighted in private, informal studies on a variety of subjects, including medieval history, botany, astronomy, German, and French. She also worked for the Rahway Library Association, which gave her limitless access to the
    library's collection as well as the power to order whatever books and magazines she desired..."


    (This one has a much longer booklist.)


    "...From 1909 on she wrote mysteries, and she claimed in an autobiographical work (The Rest of My Life, 1937) to have written 170 books, including 70 detective stories—'so far.'"

    Another thing the articles don't agree on is whether she was deaf or only partially deaf.

    (book covers)

    (mystery covers)


    (It includes a categorized booklist.)

    Anyway, about her murder mysteries:


    Granted, she doesn't seem to have been among the best in that genre, sad to say.

    From "Contemporary Authors":

    "Wells is best known for two genres of writing: her humorous verse, which frequently involves light-hearted punditry and jokes, and her mystery novels, which follow a strict guideline of production and are oftentimes criticized for their lack of vision
    and creativity. The humorous verse better represented her talents in language and art, according to some critics. Although more popularly known for being a female writer during the early half of the century, according to Zita Zatkin Dresner in the
    Dictionary of Literary Biography, Wells 'was not important just for her position as a woman in the field of humor but also for the great range and variety of humor she brought during the course of her lifetime to such a large portion of the reading
    public.' Wells's humor was never biting or sarcastic but fun loving and whimsical, playing with not only the English language but with French as well. She was deeply influenced in this way by Oliver Herford, whose imagination and sense of humor she
    respected greatly. Indeed, she included him among her mentors and teachers, establishing a longtime working relationship and friendship. Wells's humorous verses were first included in a variety of smaller publications, where she began her writing career,
    as well as in popular magazines such as Harper's Bazaar, Harper's Monthly, and the Saturday Evening Post. Later, she produced several collections, including Idle Idylls (1900), A Nonsense Anthology (1902), and The Rubaiyat of a Motor Car (1906)."

    Short piece about her 1918 novel, "Vicky Van": https://redeemingqualities.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/vicky-van/

    "Ballade of War Books" http://femalewarpoets.blogspot.com/2016/11/carolyn-wells-1862-1942-american-writer.html

    A couple of her funnier poems: https://mypoeticside.com/poets/carolyn-wells-poems

    (links to more than 20 of her poems for kids?)

    Here's her obit - but you have to register.


    (her tombstone)


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  • From lenona321@yahoo.com@21:1/5 to All on Mon Oct 7 09:42:01 2019
    And I was pleasantly surprised to find not one, but three poems of hers chosen by Louis Untermeyer for "The Golden Treasury of Poetry" (1955 - it's aimed at children, but it's very sophisticated).

    They are:

    There was a young fellow named Tait,
    Who dined with his girl at 8.08;
    But I'd hate to relate
    What that fellow named Tait
    And his tête-a-tête ate at 8.08.

    A tutor who tooted the flute,
    Was teaching two tooters to toot,
    Said the two to the tutor,
    "Is it harder to toot, or
    To tutor two tooters to toot?"


    How to Tell the Wild Animals

    If ever you should go by chance
    To jungles in the East;
    And if there should to you advance
    A large and tawny beast,
    If he roars at you as you're dyin'
    You'll know it is the Asian Lion.

    Or if sometime when roaming round,
    A noble wild beast greets you,
    With black stripes on a yellow ground,
    Just notice if he eats you.
    This simple rule may help you learn
    The Bengal Tiger to discern.

    If strolling forth, a beast you view,
    Whose hide with spots is peppered,
    As soon as he has lept on you,
    You'll know it is the Leopard.
    'Twill do no good to roar with pain,
    He'll only lep and lep again.

    If when you're walking round your yard,
    You meet a creature there,
    Who hugs you very, very hard,
    Be sure it is the Bear.
    If you have any doubt, I guess
    He'll give you just one more caress.

    Though to distinguish beasts of prey
    A novice might nonplus,
    The Crocodiles you always may
    Tell from Hyenas thus:
    Hyenas come with merry smiles;
    But if they weep, they're Crocodiles.

    The true Chameleon is small,
    A lizard sort of thing;
    He hasn't any ears at all,
    And not a single wing.
    If there is nothing on the tree,
    'Tis the Chameleon you see.

    You can see some pictures from the book here - the illustrator is Joan Walsh Anglund, who is still alive!


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  • From lenona321@yahoo.com@21:1/5 to All on Tue Oct 8 12:58:40 2019

    You can see some pictures from the book here - the illustrator is Joan Walsh Anglund, who is still alive!

    Oops - forgot the link.



    "The Book That Made Me: Catherine Johnson"


    ...It’s a book of poetry that was a Christmas present when I was six or seven. It’s Louis Untermeyer’s Golden Treasury of Poetry.

    The book is illustrated, in lots of different styles, by Joan Walsh Anglund. She’s amazing actually; she does cutesy, round-cheeked, almost Mabel Lucie Atwell-style children (I hated those), as well as this skeleton in armour, illustrating a Longfellow,
    that scared me so hard it took years not to turn the page quickly before getting nightmares.

    Walsh Anglund does classic fairytale style knights and medieval style angels, brilliant mermaids, too. She can do pretty much anything. And given that the collection ranges from Rossetti to Keats to Frost to Carl Sandburg to Dickinson, she works very,
    very hard. She is flexible, reliable and she delivers; I hope a trait we both share...


    And (funny how these are both from Brits):


    ...I got my first poetry book for my 10th birthday; I still have it. It is beside me as I write this: The Golden Treasury of Poetry, selected by Louis Untermeyer and published in 1968. My grandparents and my uncle gave it to me and I can still remember
    being scared of the black and white line drawing of the angel which illustrates Leigh Hunt's poem, 'Abu Ben Adhem'. It is why I know the poem off by heart; I liked it but I never wanted to look at the page.

    This was, I think, my first poetry book, so even though many of them are not poems I want to read now, I still have the fondness for them which comes from remembering how they made me feel when I was ten. I can remember crying when I read 'The Highwayman'
    by Alfred Noyes; laughing at 'The Tale of Custard the Dragon' by Ogden Nash; shivering when I read 'The Destruction of Sennacherib' by Byron and, more importantly, getting up to draw the curtains and look again at the moon after reading 'Silver' by
    Walter de la Mere. This is, of course what poetry makes you do - look again at yourself and at everything around you...



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