Like ‘em or love ‘em, the Cubs have FINALLY won the World Series! As a lifelong Cubs fan who lived within spitting distance of Wrigley for half a decade, I’ve had a lot swirling through my head since the dramatic win in Game 7. Things like, “Bill Murray really needs to be crowned America’s Sweetheart already,” and “Would it be legal to force the players to live in a house together under constant surveillance so we can keep up with their zany antics all winter?”
And also, of course, I’ve been thinking about this historic win through the lens of literary history. So just what was going on the last time the Cubs won the World Series, all the way back in 1908? Quite a lot, as it turns out.
New lit published in 1908
- A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
- The Iron Heel by Jack London
- The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham
- A Modern Utopia and The War in the Air by H.G. Wells
- Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix Potter
It should also be noted that the bestseller in 1908 was a book called Mr. Crewe’s Career by Winston Churchill. No, not the Winston Churchill you’re thinking of. A different Winston Churchill that no one thinks of anymore. Poor guy.
Non-fiction published in 1908
There were also some, er, interesting non-fiction titles on the bestseller list. I assume Scouting for Boys is about Boy Scouting – or at least I hope it is, just like I hope that Occult Chemistry is exactly what it sounds like. Then there’s The Intermediate Sex: A Study of Some Transition Types of Men and Women which has some shocking-for-its-time insight into gender fluidity. Then of course there’s The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp by W.H. Davies, and War of the Classes by my second all-time-favorite Socialist, Mr. Jack London.
Literary moving and shaking in 1908
In addition to writing stuff, literary people were doing stuff too – imagine that!
- Ezra Pound got the hell out of dodge (America) and headed for the world’s unknown (Europe). After settling in Venice, he self-published his first collection of poem.
- As I’ve seen numerous publications point out, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) was indeed still alive. In fact, he bought himself some new digs in Redding, Connecticut.
- Katherine Mansfield left New Zealand for London, never to return to her native land.
- The English Review, a literary magazine, was first published in London. It contained work by long-forgotten folks like Henry James, H.G. Wells, Joseph Conrad, and Thomas Hardy.
- Rudolf Christoph Eucken won the Nobel Prize in Literature, which is great because he looked like this:
Literary births in 1908
And finally, there were some folks born that would go on to change the world with their words. We’ve got your Simone de Beauvoir, your Louis L’Amour, your Ian Fleming, your Richard Wright, and your Claude Levi-Strauss. Thanks, 1908! Those are some decent gifts.