This Was The Week That Was

Today On this day, 70 years ago, the lesbian classic, The Well of Loneliness, by Radclyffe Hall, was declared obscene and copies condemned to be burnt; later, it was thought tame enough for the R4 Book at Bedtime slot. In 1959, The Sound of Music opened on Broadway, not being silenced until 1,442 performances later.

Tomorrow Auguste Rodin died in 1917; the creator of The Kiss and The Thinker had failed the entrance exam to the cole des Beaux-Arts three times and briefly became a trainee monk. The manuscript of The Trial was sold for pounds 1m in 1988, to the annoyance of the ghost of unlucky Franz Kafka, who had died in poverty.

Wednesday In 1915, Audrey Munson, star of the movie Inspiration, beat Demi Moore to become the first leading lady to get her kit off, although she later branched out into roles that involved keeping her clothes on.

Thursday Count Anthony Matthioli, believed to have been the original for Alexandre Dumas's The Man in the Iron Mask, died in 1703. The recent film of the novel might also have benefited from being locked in the Bastille.

Friday In 1805, Fidelio opened in Vienna; it didn't help that Austria was currently under enemy occupation, that Beethoven was the third composer to have a shot at the libretto, and that the opera had to be extensively revised. Otherwise, Ludwig, a wonderful night.

Saturday Rene Magritte, born a century ago, could not answer the question: "How many Surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?" (A fish.)

Sunday Mae West, showbiz legend who gave her name to the lifebelt, died in 1980.