literature

The Inestimable Life of the Great Renaissance Writer Francois Rabelais

The Inestimable Life of the Great Renaissance Writer Francois Rabelais

Probably on April 9, 1553, French Renaissance writer, physician, Renaissance humanist, monk and Greek scholar François Rabelais passed away. Because of his literary power and historical importance, Western literary critics consider him one of the great writers of world literature and among the creators of modern European writing. His best known work is Gargantua and Pantagruel, telling the adventures of two giants, Gargantua and his son Pantagruel. he work is written in…
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Heinrich Mann – Social Criticism, Marlene Dietrich, and Californian Exile

Heinrich Mann – Social Criticism, Marlene Dietrich, and Californian Exile

On March 27, 1871, German novelist Luiz (Ludwig) Heinrich Mann was born. Being the elder brother of Nobel laureate Thomas Mann,[4] he wrote works with strong social themes. His numerous criticisms of the growth of fascism forced him to flee for his life after the Nazis came to power in 1933. His book “Professor Unrat” was freely adapted into the legendary movie “Der Blaue Engel” starring Marlene Dietrich in her first major role.…
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Me Miserum! – The sad beautiful Poetry of Ovid

Me Miserum! – The sad beautiful Poetry of Ovid

On March 20, 43 BCE, Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso, better know as Ovid, was born. Ovid lived during the reign of Augustus. He composed both epic and elegiac poetry, some of which contributed to his exile from Rome in 8 AD. Back in high school, we had to translate from some of Ovid’s stories of his Metamorphosis from Latin. However, later we also turned to his rich and affectfully sophisticated poetry,…
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The Literary Decadence of Arthur Machen

The Literary Decadence of Arthur Machen

On March 3, 1863, Welsh author and mystic Arthur Machen was born. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction. His novella The Great God Pan (1890) has garnered a reputation as a classic of horror. Stephen King has called it “Maybe the best horror story in the English language“. “For, usually and fitly, the presence of an introduction is held to imply that there is something of…
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The Lyric Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Lyric Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

On February 27, 1807, American poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born. He was the first American to translate Dante Alighieri‘s Divine Comedy.[1] Longfellow wrote many lyric poems known for their musicality and often presenting stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet of his day and had success overseas. “It was the schooner Hesperus, That sailed the wintry sea; And the skipper had taken his little…
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Entangled in his own Legend – Karl May’s Fantastic Adventures

Entangled in his own Legend – Karl May’s Fantastic Adventures

On February 25, 1842, German writer of adventure novels Karl May was born. He is probably best known for his novels set in the American Old West with their main protagonists Winnetou and Old Shatterhand. Likewise he wrote similar popular adventures set in the Orient and Middle East in which the main protagonists were Kara Ben Nemsi and Hadschi Halef Omar. Being an efficient author and salesman, he often staged himself as…
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Johann Heinrich Voss’ Translations

Johann Heinrich Voss’ Translations

On February 20, 1751, German poet and translator Johann Heinrich Voss was born. He is probably best known for his translation of Homer‘s Odyssey (1781) and Iliad (1793) into German. He also undertook, with his sons, a translation of Shakespeare which was completed in nine volumes in 1829, but this translation cannot stand a comparison with Schlegel‘s.[1] Being a native German, I know Homer‘s works only in the translation by Voss, and…
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Gertrude Stein – A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose

Gertrude Stein – A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose

On February 3, 1874, American writer, publisher, and art collector Gertrude Stein was born. Gertrude Stein, like Virginia Woolf,[1] is one of the first women of classical literary modernism. She wrote experimental novels, novellas, essays, poems, literary portraits, and stage works in which she defied linguistic and literary conventions, so that many critics and readers found her work too difficult, were amused by it, or ignored it. “I am writing for myself and…
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The Idea of Tolerance in the Theatre and Essays of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

The Idea of Tolerance in the Theatre and Essays of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

On January 22, 1708, German author of the enlightenment Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was born. With his dramas and his theoretical writings, which are above all committed to the idea of tolerance, this enlightener showed the further development of the theater a significant path and had a lasting influence on the public impact of literature. Lessing is the first German dramatist whose work is still being performed in theaters without interruption. “The true…
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Clark Ashton Smith – The Last of the Great Romantics

Clark Ashton Smith – The Last of the Great Romantics

On January 13, 1893, self-educated American poet, sculptor, painter Clark Ashton Smith was born. Smith achieved recognition as author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. As a poet, Smith is grouped with the West Coast Romantics alongside Ambrose Bierce, Joaquin Miller, Sterling, Nora May French, and remembered as “The Last of the Great Romantics” and “The Bard of Auburn“. Together with Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft Smith was…
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