1663 – English diarist Samuel Pepys went to the theater and saw King Charles II’s mistress Nell Gwynn play Floribel in Dryden’s play Secret Love. Pepys, a bit of a prude, disapproved of her relationship with the king, but admired her acting.
1668 – Moliere comedy Amphitryon is produced.
1668 – Samuel Pepys wrote ” Thence homeward by coach and stopped at Martin’s my bookseller, where i saw the French book which i did thing to have had for my wife to translate, called L’escholle des Filles, but when i come to look in it, it is the most bawdy lewd book that I ever saw, so that I was ashamed of reading in it and so away home.
1695 – Author Jonathan Swift ordained an Anglican priest in Ireland. He did not rise in ecclesiastical circles—a fact which disturbed him, as a Tory defender of the Church’s place of privilege. Such ideas, called were called antidisestablishmentarianism. He wanted to be a bishop, but never ranked higher than Dean of St. Patrick’s in Dublin.
1834 – Horatio Alger is born Revere, MA (d. 1899)
1883 – Henrik Ibsen’s play An Enemy of the People (En Folkefiende) premiered on this day in Olso in 1883.
1888 – National Geographic Society founded in Washington, D.C.
1895 – Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband premiered on this day in London.
1898 – Emile Zola publishes J’Accuse! in the newspaper L’Aurore. It exposes French anti-Semitism and a military cover-up in the Dreyfus Affair, in which a Jewish army captain, Dreyfus, was falsely accused of spying in the 1870 war with Germany. The case is just one of many examples where the cover-up greatly compounded the effects of the original offense. J’Accuse! was written in two days, following the acquittal of the real culprit after three minutes deliberation.
1901 – A.B. Guthrie, Jr is born Bedford, Indiana. (d.1991)
1910 – John M. Synge play Deirdre of the Sorrows opens in Dublin.
1911 – Gerhart Hauptmann play Die Ratten premiers, Berlin.
1955 – Jay McInerney, American author.