Saturday, January 09, 2010

Two Authors - What In Common?


From this side of the Atlantic: Carl Sandburg, Pulitzer prize winner for his poetry and for a biography of Abraham Lincoln.

At the age of thirteen he left school. He drove a milk wagon, became a bricklayer, a farm laborer in Kansas, then, after time at Lombard College in Galesburg he became a hotel servant in Denver, a coal-heaver in Omaha. He began his writing career as a journalist for the Chicago Daily News. Later he wrote poetry, history, biographies, novels, children's literature, and film reviews. He was a member of the Social Democratic Party, supporter of the civil rights movement and served as secretary to Mayor Emil Seidel, mayor of Milwaukee from 1910 to 1912 - the first person to be elected mayor of a U.S. city on a socialist platform. (Oh my! Where are they now?)

Born 6 January 1878 in Galesburg Illinois at 12:05am (Astrodatabank).

Sun conjunct Jupiter in Capricorn, with Mercury in the same sign, a solid, character, with stability and reliability his trademark, I'd say. Moon in Aquarius though - here's his draw to socialist thinking, and Venus in Pisces, his compassion, softening any hard edges from Capricorn and Aquarius. I notice a "chain" of 15 degree placements here: Sun/Jupiter, Moon, Saturn and Mars all at 15 degrees, linking in either semi-sextile, sextile or square aspect - I interpret this as the mark of a particularly well-integrated personality. Mars in Aries provides a spark of energy and controversy. Venus, planet of the arts in Pisces links by sextile to Neptune, planet of creativity in Taurus - providing what astrologers call mutual reception, each planet lying in the other's domicile and putting extra emphasis on the gifts offered by both.

And from the other side of the Atlantic:

Howard Spring. Born 10 February 1889 in Cardiff, Wales, UK.

Back in the 1960s I eagerly sought out his novels after reading one of his early works Shabby Tiger, first published in 1934, and its sequel Rachel Rosing. Those were later adapted for TV, as was his Fame is the Spur (also a movie) and My Son, My Son. I'm seeking out used copies of his books to read again, and am currently well into My Son, My Son.

Howard Spring wrote in a style I find very easy to read. I'm not easy to please when it comes to books.I don't like wordy writers who seem entranced by their art and their own intellect, but neither can I stand authors who pander to the popular market by writing badly composed rubbishy fiction. I found that Howard Spring's style was just right for me, unaffected but insightful and, above all he was interesting and a brilliant story teller. His loyalty to the working classes and rising labour movement in Britain shows clearly in his books, and further endeared him to me.

He came from a poor family of nine, his Irish father died when Howard was very young and had to cut short his schooling to earn money for the family. He later resumed his education, taking evening classes, and eventually became a reporter on local newspapers in Wales, and later in the north of England. He began to write fiction in the early 1930s.

No time of birth available, so a 12 noon chart is shown.

He was one of the Pluto in Gemini generation - a generation which spawned so many of my favourite writers. There's a lovely Grand Trine in Air in his chart. It links Sun (self), Moon (emotional self) and Uranus (his Aquarius Sun's ruler and planet of invention and rebellion). Uranus being included in this Grand Trine doesn't surprise me. Howard Spring had obvious sympathy with the socialist activists of the time who were fighting the ruling classes under whose heel they had lived for centuries past. Although without his time of birth, I can't be sure of the exact degree of his natal Moon, it would have been somewhere between 14 and 26 degrees Gemini, so in all probablility at a suitable degree to complete this Grand Trine, which signified a free-flowing of Airy attributes - clear thinking, logic, analysis, quick wit with tactful charm. The writer's planet Mercury lay in intuitive Pisces in helpful sextile to Jupiter (Pisces' ruler and planet of publication) in Capricorn : an excellent link-up for a writer, and in Howard Spring's case it's easy to see how well it manifested. At least four of his books, as well as being best-sellers in their day, have been adapted as movies or TV dramas or both, thus extending the reach of his stories beyond just readers.

What had they in common? Their loyalty and support for "the common man" - ordinary people, their socialistic leanings. Their mix of Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces and just a dash of Aries. Carl Sandburg's poem sums it up for me:


I AM the people--the mob--the crowd--the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is
done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the
world's food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons
come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And
then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns.
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand
for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me.
I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted.
I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and
makes me work and give up what I have. And I
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red
drops for history to remember. Then--I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the
People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer
forget who robbed me last year, who played me for
a fool--then there will be no speaker in all the world
say the name: "The People," with any fleck of a
sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob--the crowd--the mass--will arrive then


Wisewebwoman said...

Thanks for the reference to Howard Spring, I have a dim recollection of having read him waaaay back in the day. You've inspired a hunt for him and you might be interested in this:

2500 titles of his, well worth perusing!


Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Oooh! Many thanks for the link. Those are good value - especially so with free shipping.
I've seen them cheaper , but with the $3.99 shipping it takes the shine off a bargain! :-)