Laura Ingalls Wilder

Lead: In 1930 Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing about her childhood experiences on the American frontier. The result was classic literature read by young people and adults throughout the world.

 Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: The inspiration came from her daughter, Laura Lane, a San Francisco journalist. Then in her mid-sixties, Laura Wilder, writing on school tablets and using pencils, created eight loosely autobiographical novels, known collectively as the “Little House Books,” published between 1932 and 1943. They have been praised as vividly detailing frontier domestic life, seen through the eyes of a young girl.

 

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Pearl Buck

Lead: In 1938 an American woman was first awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Nobel Prizes were established in 1901 by the trust of the Swedish inventor and scientist Alfred Nobel. They are awarded annually to persons conferring “the greatest benefit on mankind.” To the prizes for chemistry, medicine, literature, physics and peace, a prize for economics was added in 1969, endowed by the Central Bank of Sweden. Two American women have won the prize for literature, Tony Morrison in 1993 and in 1938 Pearl Buck.

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The Black Plague and The Decameron II

Lead: In 1348 the “Black Death” swept through Florence, Italy, and out of this chaos emerged a literary masterpiece – The Decameron.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio witnessed firsthand the devastating effect of the Plague, which killed nearly half the population of Italy. With the collapse of the social and economic order, and some believed a collapse of morality, the Plague stimulated writers to record the event and consider the role of God, man’s free will, and health practices in causing such a magnitude of human suffering.

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The Black Plague and The Decameron I

Lead: In the summer of 1348 the “Black Death” swept through prosperous and beautiful Florence, Italy. The tragedy inspired one of the most important medieval literary works, Boccaccio’s The Decameron.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The fourteenth century European Plague or “Black Death” was actually two major bacterial epidemics which resulted in the death of more than 25,000,000 people or just short of a third of the population of Europe. It is believed the Plague originated in the eastern provinces of China and was carried by flea infected rats on board merchant ships sailing from the Black Sea westward to Mediterranean ports. It quickly spread through Western Europe.

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Emma Lazarus

Lead: At first reluctant, Emma Lazarus gave in and wrote the words that helped build the symbol of America's welcome.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: The money wasn't coming in and Joseph Pulitzer was becoming very frustrated. Publisher of the New York World, a Hungarian immigrant who fought in the Civil War, Pulitzer had taken, as his personal crusade, the task of raising money to build the pedestal on which the colossus was to rest. The arrangement was that France would supply the statue if the United States would build the base. Work in Paris was on schedule but in America, people did not seem to be very concerned.

 

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Introduction to Samuel Johnson II

Lead: Poet, biographer, lexicographer, critic and essayist Samuel Johnson was born 300 years ago in the midlands village of Lichfield, England.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Sam Johnson was a sickly child scarred by scrofula, a tuberculin infection of the lymph glands, and for the rest of his life his awkward appearance was compounded by a nervous condition and facial tics not to mention long periods of melancholy or depression. He was regarded as something of an eccentric but as soon as he opened his mouth and spoke his fluid, witty, and brilliant conversation, people around him, even the most famous, were captivated.

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Introduction to Samuel Johnson I

Lead: 2009 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest figures of 18th century English life and letters. His contemporaries knew him simply as "Dr. Johnson."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Samuel Johnson, poet, biographer, lexicographer, critic and essayist, stands astride 18th century English scholarship and criticism. Yet, Johnson's prominence owes as much to another's writings as it does to his own accomplishments. In 1763 young James Boswell met and fell intellectually in love with Johnson. Over the years after their meeting, Boswell meticulously recorded conversations and details about his friend and memorialized them in one of the most influential books of the century, the landmark biography, Life of Johnson.

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John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath

Lead: In 1939 John Steinbeck published The Grapes of Wrath, perhaps the major American novel of the Great Depression. Its publication, however, was not without controversy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: John Ernst Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, a rural community 100 miles south of San Francisco. As a child he observed the hard life of itinerant and migrant farm workers and his boyhood home became the setting of much of his work. Beginning in 1935 with Tortilla Flat, In Dubious Battle, and Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck proved himself an acute observer of social conflict and pain. Yet it was with The Grapes of Wrath that he reached the pinnacle of his literary craft. Much of the material in the novel came from a series of investigative articles the author wrote for the San Francisco News on the plight of the “Oakies,” emigrants from the mid-west dust bowl – Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas. In The Grapes of Wrath Steinbeck wove an elegant, semi-documentary narrative telling the story of the Joads, a 1930s Depression era farm family from Oklahoma. Seeking a better life, they had migrated to California only to find themselves caught in the same cycle of poverty and hopelessness they had left behind. The struggles and hardships of the working poor it seemed are rarely relieved by a change in geography.

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