literature

Andreas Gryphius – Master Poet of the German Baroque

Andreas Gryphius – Master Poet of the German Baroque

On October 11, 1616, German Baroque lyric poet and dramatist Andreas Gryphius was born. For his poems and tragedies Gryphius chose the topics of pain and moral decay during the times of the Thirty Years’ War as well as human restlessness, solitude and inner conflicts. Unless you have attended a German highschool or have a strong interest in baroque poetry, you might have never heard of him. Back at school, we had to…
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Henry Fielding – the Father of the English Novel

Henry Fielding – the Father of the English Novel

On October 8, 1754, famous English novelist, journalist and dramatist Henry Fielding passed away. He is best known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones. Henry Fielding influenced the main tradition of the English novel through the eighteenth century and the nineteenth century. One of his major contribution to the English novel was a sense of structure to its development. With his…
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Miguel de Cervantes and his Knight of the Sad Countenance

Miguel de Cervantes and his Knight of the Sad Countenance

(Probably) on September 29, 1547, famous Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra  was born. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, is considered to be the first modern European novel, a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written. Moreover it has been translated into nearly every major language, making it one of the most widely distributed books after the Bible. Miguel de Cervantes’ influence on…
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Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy

In the night from September 13 to 14, 1321, major Italian poet Dante Alighieri passed away. His Divine Comedy is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. Together with his poet colleagues Petrarch [7] and Boccaccio,[8] Dante – the ‘supreme poet’ (il Sommo Poeta) – is referred to as “the three crowns” or “the three fountains”. Moreover, he is also called the “Father of…
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Stanislaw Lem and Mankind’s Place in the Universe

Stanislaw Lem and Mankind’s Place in the Universe

On September 12, 1921, Polish writer of science fiction, philosophy and satire Stanislaw Lem was born. He is considered to be one of the most widely read science fiction writer in the world with his books translated into 41 languages and have sold over 27 million copies. His best known novel Solaris, about the ultimate inadequacy of communication between human and non-human species, published in 1961, was made into a feature film…
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Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

On September 8, 1474, Italian Renaissance poet Ludovico Ariosto was born. He is best known for his romance epic Orlando Furioso (The Frenzy of Orlando), which describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens.[4] “Of ladies, knights, of passions and of wars, of courtliness, and of valiant deeds I sing.” – Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, Canto I, stanza 1 (1532) Ariosto – Early Years Ariosto was the…
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The Man who Invented Science Fiction – Hugo Gernsback

The Man who Invented Science Fiction – Hugo Gernsback

On August 16, 1884, Luxembourgian American inventor, writer, editor, and magazine publisher Hugo Gernsback was born. Gernsback best known for publications including the first science fiction magazine. His contributions to the genre as publisher were so significant that, along with the novelists H. G. Wells [6] and Jules Verne,[7] he is often referred to as “The Father of Science Fiction“. In his honor, annual awards presented at the World Science Fiction Convention are named…
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J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter Phenomenon

J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter Phenomenon

It is the best selling book series ever in history. A fantastic story stretching over seven books of a boy, growing up in between the two worlds of ordinary people – the muggles – and the wizards and witches. It’s about the old story of fighting of good against evil. And as the books sold over 400 million copies world wide, almost nobody could escape the news and the story behind the…
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Adventure Time with Alexandre Dumas

Adventure Time with Alexandre Dumas

On July 24, 1802, French writer Alexandre Dumas, also known as Alexandre Dumas, père, was born. He is best known for his historical novels of high adventure. Translated into nearly 100 languages, these have made him one of the most widely read French authors in history. The Master of the Musketeers Alexandre Dumas’ novels have all become popular icons. Think of his ‘Three Musketeers‘, I really don’t know how many versions I saw…
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Ann Radcliffe – Pioneer of the Gothic Novel

Ann Radcliffe – Pioneer of the Gothic Novel

On July 9, 1764, English author and pioneer of Gothic novel Ann Radcliffe was born. You might have never heard of Ann Radcliffe, if you are not familiar with English literature, but her prose strongly influenced a literature style called ‘Gothic novel’, where the supernatural comes into play and all of today’s vampire, horror, and fantastic literature has originated from. Take, as e.g., her most famous novel Udolpho written in 1794, a classic…
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