The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

January 30, 2014

January 30, 1924

According to his Washington Post obituary, Lloyd Alexander (January 30, 1924 to May 17, 2007)  "... won a 1971 National Book Award for "The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian," about a 19th-century fiddler who helps a princess defy an autocrat who wants to marry her." Alexander is famous as the author of fantasy fiction and children's literature. The newspaper quotes him in this context:

Mr. Alexander drew from Welsh mythology, notably the Mabinogion, for his Prydain Chronicles, and gravitated to Greek, Persian and Eastern tales in his later fiction, including "The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen" and "The Arkadians."...."
I used the imaginary kingdom not as a sentimentalized fairyland, but as an opening wedge to express what I hoped would be some very hard truths," he once told an interviewer. "I never saw fairy tales as an escape or a cop-out. . . . On the contrary, speaking for myself, it is the way to understand reality."

His father was a stockbroker"Oh, my parents never cracked a book, just newspapers," he told the Christian Science Monitor. "But they had lots of books. They bought them at the Salvation Army to fill up empty shelves."

After war service and a French bride: He returned to Drexel Hill [his birthplace] with his new family, having adopted his wife's daughter. He made a modest living translating French literature by Jean-Paul Sartre and Paul Eluard before his first novel was published. Initially, he wrote about subjects he knew well, ...[like] cats ("My Five Tigers").

"Perhaps one reason we are fascinated by cats," he wrote, "is because such a small animal can contain so much independence, dignity and freedom of spirit. Unlike the dog, the cat's personality is never bet [stet] on a human's. He demands acceptance on his own terms." A feline helped a boy travel through time in Mr. Alexander's first fantasy novel, "Time Cat: The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth" (1963).
....Mr. Alexander preferred an unflashy life. He played Mozart on his violin, drew cartoons and fed squirrels in his back yard. He once admitted to a weakness for doughnuts and wafers before bedtime.

His death happened about two weeks after that of his wife (May 2.)
Survivors include five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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