literature

August Wilhelm Schlegel and his Shakespeare Translations

August Wilhelm Schlegel and his Shakespeare Translations

On September 8, 1767, German poet, translator, and critic August Wilhelm Schlegel was born, who became a foremost leader of German Romanticism. He is best known for his translations of Shakespeare‘s works into German. “The poetry of the ancients was that of possession, ours is that of longing, which is firmly rooted in the present, which is caught between memory and punishment.” – August Wilhelm Schlegel, Lectures on dramatic art and literature,…
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Sir Walter Scott and the Invention of the Historical Novel

Sir Walter Scott and the Invention of the Historical Novel

On August 15, 1771, Scottish historical novelist, poet, playwright, and historian Sir Walter Scott was born. He was one of the most widely read authors of his time – not only in Europe – and is traditionally considered the founder of the historical novel. Many of his historical novels have become classics and have served as models for numerous plays, operas and films. I remember as a child that I was watching the…
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George Bernard Shaw – Playwright, Critic, Polemicist and Political Activist.

George Bernard Shaw – Playwright, Critic, Polemicist and Political Activist.

On July 26, 1856, Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics George Bernard Shaw was born. As a writer, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. He is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938). “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to…
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William Makepeace Thackeray’s deft Skewering of Human Foibles

William Makepeace Thackeray’s deft Skewering of Human Foibles

On July 18, 1811, English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray was born. He was famous for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society. During the Victorian era, Thackeray was ranked second only to Charles Dickens, but he is now much less read and is known almost exclusively for Vanity Fair, which has become a standard fixture in university courses and has been repeatedly adapted for movies and television. “Let the…
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The Diary of a Young Girl – the Story of Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl – the Story of Anne Frank

On June 12, 1929, Annelies “Anne” Marie Frank was born. She is one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Her wartime diary The Diary of a Young Girl gained international fame posthumously when published in 1947. The diary documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. “For someone like me, it is a very strange habit to write in a diary. Not only…
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Federico Garcia Lorca and the Renewal of Spanish Theatre

Federico Garcia Lorca and the Renewal of Spanish Theatre

On June 5, 1898, Spanish poet, playwright, and theatre director Federico Garcia Lorca was born. He is among the leading figures of the Generación del 27, which includes poets such as Vicente Aleixandre, Dámaso Alonso, Rafael Alberti, Pedro Salinas, Jorge Guillén and Gerardo Diego. Together with Ramón del Valle-Inclán, he renewed the Spanish theatre, which was frozen in late Romantic formulas and flat naturalism. Federico García Lorca – Youth in Granada Federico…
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The Very First Pulitzer Prize

The Very First Pulitzer Prize

On June 4, 1917, the very first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded. The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American (Hungarian-born) publisher Joseph Pulitzer, and is administered by Columbia University in New York City. Joseph Pulitzer When Pulitzer offered the Columbia University money in order to set up the…
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Between Realism and Romanticism – Thomas Hardy

Between Realism and Romanticism – Thomas Hardy

On June 2, 1840, English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy was born. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth.[7] Charles Dickens was his other source of influence, and like Dickens he was highly critical of much in Victorian society. “To find beauty in ugliness is the province of the poet.” — Thomas Hardy, Statement (5 August 1888) Thomas…
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The Poet and the Lunatics – The Works of C. K. Chesterton

The Poet and the Lunatics – The Works of C. K. Chesterton

On May 29, 1874, English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, and literary and art critic Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born. Chesterton created the fictional priest-detective Father Brown, and wrote on apologetics. Even some of those who disagree with him have recognised the wide appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. I remember that I really enjoyed reading Chesterton’s short novel The Man Who Was Thursday (1908), somehow a political satire or almost…
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Hergé and the Fabulous Adventures of Tintin

Hergé and the Fabulous Adventures of Tintin

On May 22, 1907, Belgian cartonist Georges Prosper Remi, better known under his pen name Hergé, was born. His best known and most substantial work is the 23 completed comic books in The Adventures of Tintin series. Background Hergé Georges Prosper Remi grew up in the suburbs of Brussels, Belgium, which he considered as extremely boring. However, he developed a great interest in movies, especially the ones of Charlie Chaplin and Winsor McCay’s Gertie…
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