Girolamo Savonarola (see previous blog) was born in Ferrara, Italy in 1452. He entered the Dominican order in Bologna in 1475 and in 1482 was sent to San Marco in Florence where he became a popular preacher, denouncing the worldliness of the church and the ruling Medicis. His tempestuous life is best known by readers of English through George Elliott’s novel, “Romola”.
The statue of Luther in Worms is surrounded by other figures who played a role in the beginnings of the Protestant religions, including John Wycliffe who founded a movement known as the Lollards, Peter Waldo who founded the Waldensians and Girolamo Savonarola, an Italian Dominican friar (below).
Today is the birthday of Martin Luther who is especially remembered this year on the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. In 1517, Martin Luther published his views on indulgences and other practises of the Catholic Church, and in 1521, he appeared before the Diet at Worms, where he was excommunicated by the Pope.
A large monument to Luther and the Reformation was erected in Worms in 1868.
The poet and revolutionary, Ugo Foscolo, (see previous blog) has an impressive monument in Santa Croce. In the same church are the tombs of many other great Italians such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and Rossini.
The 17th century diarist, Samuel Pepys, lived close to St Olave Hart St, and worked at the Royal Naval office which was also nearby. He was such a regular worshiper at the church, that he had a gallery built on the south wall and added a staircase so that he could get from his office to the church without getting rained on. The memorial to Pepys in the church is located where the door to the stairway used to be.
Another Indian writer, Rabindranath Tagore, is remembered with a bust in Gordon Square, Bloomsbury. In 1912, while travelling by ship from India to England, Tagore translated his collection of Bengali poems, called “Gitanjali”, into English. He was the first Asian to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature.
Virginia Woolf is not the only writer honoured in Tavistock Square in Bloomsbury. There is also a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the centre of the park.
In 1909, when Gandhi travelled by ship from London to Cape Town, during the 15 day journey, he wrote “Hind Swaraj” – his first book and the book that formulated a plan for Indian independence.
Today is Virginia Woolf’s birthday. Walking around Bloomsbury, during our recent visit to London, we came across many locations associated with her life. Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived at No 52 Tavistock Square from 1924 to 1939 and ran the Hogarth Press from this address. The building was destroyed during World War II but Virginia’s association with this area is remembered with a memorial in the south west corner of Tavistock Square Gardens.
The most famous of crime writers, Agatha Christie, died 41years ago today. We were pleased to see, on our recent trip to London, that a memorial has been erected to her honour in the West End, not far from the theatre still showing “the Mousetrap”. This play, written by Agatha Christie, is the world’s longest running stage production.
The memorial, which takes the form of a 2.4 metre high book, is on the corner of Cranbourn and Great Newport streets. It contains a lot of detailed information about the author’s life and work, including the titles of some of her most famous books.