literature

The Murder-Suicide of Heinrich von Kleist

The Murder-Suicide of Heinrich von Kleist

On November 21, 1811, German poet, dramatist, novelist, short story writer and journalist Heinrich von Kleist committed suicide. Kleist stood as an outsider in the literary life of his time beyond the established camps and the literary eras of Weimar classical and romanticism. He is best known for the “historical knight play” Das Käthchen von Heilbronn, his comedy plays Der zerbrochne Krug and Amphitryon, the tragedy Penthesilea as well as his novels…
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Alain-René Lesage and The Devil upon Two Sticks

Alain-René Lesage and The Devil upon Two Sticks

On November 17, 1747, French novelist and playwright Alain-René Lesage passed away. Lesage is best known for his comic novel The Devil upon Two Sticks (1707, Le Diable boiteux), his comedy Turcaret (1709), and his picaresque novel Gil Blas (1715–1735). Youth and Education Lesage was born in Sarzeau, a commune in the Morbihan department of Brittany in north-western France, located on the Rhuys peninsula between the Gulf of Morbihan and the Atlantic…
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Robert Musil and the Man without Qualities

Robert Musil and the Man without Qualities

On November 6, 1880, Austrian philosophical writer Robert Musil was born. Musil‘s unfinished novel The Man Without Qualities (German: Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften) is generally considered to be one of the most important and influential modernist novels. “We do not have too much intellect and too little soul, but too little intellect in matters of the soul.”, Robert Musil, Helpless Europe (1922) Youth and Education Robert Mathias Musil was born in Klagenfurt, Carinthia,…
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The Emanzipation of Dorothea von Schlegel

The Emanzipation of Dorothea von Schlegel

On October 24, 1764, German novelist and translator Dorothea von Schlegel was born as Brendel Mendelssohn. The daughter of famous philosopher of the enlightenment Moses Mendelsohn, she met the poet, critic, and future husband Friedrich von Schlegel in the salon of her friend Henriette Herz. It was also in Herz‘s salon, where she met European scholars such as e.g. Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt. Early Life and Education Dorothea von Schlegel was…
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Charles Percy Snow and the Two Cultures

Charles Percy Snow and the Two Cultures

On October 15, 1905, English physical chemist and novelist Charles Percy Snow, Baron Snow was born. Snow is best known for his series of novels known collectively as Strangers and Brothers, and for The Two Cultures, a 1959 lecture in which he laments the gulf between scientists and “literary intellectuals“. Youth and Education C. P. Snow was born in Leicester to William Snow, a church organist and choirmaster, and his wife Ada.…
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Nothing is Stronger than an Idea whose Time has come – The Life of Victor Hugo

Nothing is Stronger than an Idea whose Time has come – The Life of Victor Hugo

On May 22, 1854, French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement Victor Hugo passed away. Hugo is considered one of the greatest and best-known French writers. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, 1831. In France, Hugo is known primarily for his poetry collections. “So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in…
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Egon Erwin Kisch – The frenzied Reporter

Egon Erwin Kisch – The frenzied Reporter

On April 29, 1885, Austrian and Czechoslovak writer and journalist Egon Erwin Kisch was born. Kisch styled himself Der Rasende Reporter (The frenzied reporter) for his countless travels to the far corners of the globe and his equally numerous articles produced in a relatively short time (Hetzjagd durch die Zeit, 1925), Kisch was noted for his development of literary reportage and his opposition to Adolf Hitler‘s Nazi regime. “And there is nothing more…
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How Anthony Trollope invented the Red Postal Box

How Anthony Trollope invented the Red Postal Box

On April 24, 1815, English novelist of the Victorian era Anthony Trollope was born. Trollope wrote novels on political, social, and gender issues, and other topical matters. Among his best-known works is a series of novels collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which revolves around the imaginary county of Barsetshire. He furthermore introduced the familiar red pillar boxes in Britain as street-side receptacles of letters for collection by the Post Office.…
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Nikolai Gogol and Russian Surrealism

Nikolai Gogol and Russian Surrealism

On March 4, 1852, Russian novelist Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol passed away, whose novel Myortvye dushi (Dead Souls) and whose short story “Shinel” (“The Overcoat”) are considered the foundations of the great 19th-century tradition of Russian realism. However, later critics have found in his work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of surrealism and the grotesque. “What a dreary world we live in, gentlemen.” — Nikolai Gogol, How the Two Ivans Quarrelled (1835)…
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The Fantastic and Visionary Worlds of Leo Perutz

The Fantastic and Visionary Worlds of Leo Perutz

On November 2, 1882, Austrian novelist and mathematician Leo Perutz was born. Perutz was a mathematician who formulated an algebraic equation which is named after him and worked as a statistician for an insurance company. He is best known as author of fantasy novels, which gained the admiration of Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Ian Fleming, Karl Edward Wagner and Graham Greene. Early Life and Education Leo Perutz was born in Prague,…
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