Monday, December 5, 2011

Anniversaries and Birthdays, 2012

Randall Stephens

2012 marks "the bicentenary of Dickens's birth, and the planned programme of events is huge," writes Dinah Birch in the TLS.

It will reach far beyond the literary world, encompassing exhibitions, debates, documentaries, theatrical performances, public readings, and television and radio programmes. Films will include a major new Great Expectations. In Houston, there is to be a half-marathon especially for Dickens enthusiasts. No one with a taste for history, books, public events, or dressing up need feel left out.

Dickens shares his birth year with Dorothea Dix, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, and Harriet Martineau. But to paraphrase The Smiths, some names are bigger than others. These others will generate relatively minor celebrations as compared with Dickens birthday. As far as I know, though, the adjectives "Dumasian" or "Hugoian" do not roll off the tongue or conjure a whole range of ideas. Why do we commemorate and celebrate what we do? What make some events, birthdays more important than others?

What other anniversaries can we expect will be celebrated/commemorated in 2012? (The following sampling is collected from


Mar 20th - Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" published (Boston)

May 18th - Massachusetts rules all school-age children must attend school


Feb 8th - 1st eastbound US transcontinental flight lands in Jacksonville, Fla

Apr 2nd - Sun Yet Sen forms Guomindang-Party in China

Apr 15th - Titanic sinks at 2:27 AM off Newfoundland

Sep 27th - W C Handy publishes "Memphis Blues"

Oct 8th - 1st Balkan War begins - Montenegro declares war on Turkey


Feb 7 – Elizabeth II is proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom

Mar 27th - Sun Records of Memphis begins releasing records

May 8th - Mad Magazine debuts

Nov 4th - Eisenhower (R) elected 34th pres beating Adlai Stevenson (D)


Tim Lacy said...

A Sun Records anniversary? Yet another excuse to think about my beloved Johnny Cash. Nice. - TL

RJ Ramey said...

Thank you for pointing these out! I am working to commemorate the history of American lynching and the publication of the first Negro Year Book in 1912.