Shortly thereafter, on March 4, F.W. Murnau’s classic vampire film, “Nosferatu,” opened in Berlin, followed five days later in New York by the opening night of Eugene O’Neill’s play “The Hairy Ape,” and on March 15 by Franz Kafka reading aloud the first chapter of “The Castle” to his friend Max Brod. On May 18, Violet and Sydney Schiff hosted the most legendary party of the century: Their 40 guests that night included Picasso, Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Proust and Joyce. Three days later, on May 21, the French prime minister read an article about the dilution of his native tongue by English phrases. The author of this attack on “Franglais” was, surprisingly, one Nguyen Ai Quoc, the pen name used by none other than Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh.
A few weeks later, on July 1 in Tokyo, Frank Lloyd Wright officially opened his Imperial Hotel, one of the few buildings in the area to remain undamaged by the great earthquake of 1923. On Aug. 12, in Washington, Frederick Douglass’s former house was declared a national shrine. On August 28, Rudyard Kipling underwent a rectal probe, then quipped: ‘If this is what Oscar Wilde went to prison for, he ought to have got the Victoria Cross.” That September Salvador Dalí entered Madrid’s Special School of Painting, Sculpture and Engraving, where his closest friends would be the poet Frederico García Lorca and the future filmmaker Luis Buñuel. On Oct. 25, H.L. Mencken’s magazine The Smart Set featured “The Parthian Shot,” Dashiell Hammett’s first published story. Two days later Eric Blair, better known as George Orwell, arrived in Burma, where he would spend the next five years as a policeman. On Nov. 15, Ludwig Wittgenstein, then teaching in a primary school in a small village in the Schneeberg mountains, received his finished copies of “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.” At the end of the month, on Nov. 25 in Luxor, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb of Tutankhamun.