January 22

Amber pages

Las Malvinas (also known as the Falkland Islands, ceded to Britain, by Spain, today in 1771. Ceded is an interesting word. Was Gibraltar ceded in similar manner, or differently? Was Florida ceded to the Americans (and should that read: was the land of the Seminole ceded to the Spanish)?

George, later Lord Byron, born, today in 1788 - my biography of him, "A Small Drop of Ink",  written in a mixture of heroic couplets and ottava rima, is due for publication very soon.

August Strindberg, father of Swedish theatre, born today in 1849 - what really interests me is the 10-year-long war between himself and that other great Scandinavian playwright, Henrik Ibsen.

John Hurt, actor and gay rights role-model, born today in 1940. I want to comment on Hurt because twice I watched a movie that he was starring in, and it gave me an understanding of the human world far deeper than any I had had before. The first was his portrayal of Quentin Crisp, the second of the Elephant Man - the gay world and the world of physical disability, rendered in a form of which Stanislavski would undoubtedly have approved.

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