Marcel Proust was one of the great literary figures of the modern age whose work is viewed as vital to the development of modernism. He wrote his masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time, while living in a cork-lined room, troubled by asthma, neuroses, and the deaths of his parents. His ability to interpret innermost experience in terms of such eternal forces as time and death created a profound world view that has influenced generations of novelists and thinkers.
Back in the day
US Army private Eddie Slovik was executed for desertion in 1945. His was the first such execution after the Civil War and the only one of 49 WWII desertion death sentences to be carried out. Slovik deserted with a friend during an artillery attack and later confessed to an MP in writing that he would do it again. Refusing several offers to tear up the confession, he said, "I've made up my mind. I'll take my court martial." How old was Slovik when he died?
Born on a day like today
A prolific writer, Mailer is best known for his innovative nonfiction novels. He became a recognized author with the publication of The Naked and the Dead, which is based on his WWII experiences and has been touted as one of the best books about the war years. During the Vietnam era, he was arrested briefly for his involvement in anti-Vietnam demonstrations. Mailer's 1979 Pulitzer prize winning novel, The Executioner's Song, depicts the events surrounding the execution of whom?