literature

The Poetry of Walt Whitman

The Poetry of Walt Whitman

On May 31, 1819, American poet, essayist and journalist Walt Whitman was born. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. “It is a beautiful truth that all men contain something of the artist in them. And perhaps it is the case that…
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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. 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 the Dinosaur.…
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Pierre Beaumarchais and Figaro’s Wedding

Pierre Beaumarchais and Figaro’s Wedding

On May 18, 1799, French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais passed away. Bonmarchais, who also was a watchmaker, inventor, musician, diplomat, fugitive, spy, publisher, horticulturalist, arms dealer, satirist, financier, and revolutionary (both French and American), is best known for his theatrical works, most notably the three Figaro plays. “Drinking when not thirsty and making love all the time, madam, is all that distinguishes us from other animals.” — Pierre Beaumarchais, The Marriage of Figaro…
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Adolph von Knigge and the Art of Human Relations

Adolph von Knigge and the Art of Human Relations

On May 6, 1796, Freiherr Adolph Franz Friedrich Ludwig Knigge passed away. In Germany, Knigge is best remembered for his book ‘Über den Umgang mit Menschen‘ (On Human Relations), a treatise on the fundamental principles of human relations that has the reputation of being the authoritative guide to behaviour, politeness, and etiquette. “Without inspiration, which fills the soul with a healthy warmth, nothing great can ever be brought to pass.” — Adolph…
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The Passionate Life of Charlotte Brontë

The Passionate Life of Charlotte Brontë

On April 21, 1816, English novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters was born, whose novels are English literature standards. Most notably she wrote Jane Eyre under the pen name Currer Bell. Following the usual stereotype, computer scientists are nerds and the only literature they read – if they read any literature at all – are science fiction stories or fantasy novels. Of course I like science fiction stories –…
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The Misfortune of Virtue – Marquis de Sade and his Writings

The Misfortune of Virtue – Marquis de Sade and his Writings

On March 6, 1801, French novelist Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, better known as the Marquis de Sade, was arrested for being the author of the anonymously published book ‘Justine or the Misfortune of Virtue‘ by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Sades were an old, albeit no longer rich noble family of Provence, which originally had the count’s title (French comte). Grandfather Gaspard-François de Sade was the first family member to use the…
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Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick

On December 16, 1928, American novelist Philip K. Dick was born. He explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in novels dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, and altered states. Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck…does that ring a bell? Although maybe you don’t know Philip K. Dick, for sure you have seen one of the movies based on his short stories or novels. Philip K. Dick has influenced our…
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Albert Camus – the James Dean of Philosophy

Albert Camus – the James Dean of Philosophy

Albert Camus (1913-1960) On November 7, 1913, French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, and philosopher Albert Camus was born. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism in opposition to Nietzsche‘s nihilism and Sartre‘s existentialism. In was somehow a miracle that Albert Camus became one of the finest writers of the 20th century and a Nobel laureate. Albert Camus was born in extreme poverty in a remote corner of…
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Jane Austen, a Keen Observer Always with a Twinkle in the Eye

Jane Austen, a Keen Observer Always with a Twinkle in the Eye

On December 16, 1775, English novelist Jane Austen was born. She is considered to be one of the most widely read writers in English literature. I do really appreciate Jane Austen’s novels, esp. her famous ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ and also ‘Emma‘ or ‘Nothanger Abbey‘ which all of them I can recommend to you if you haven’t read them up to now. I personally like Jane Austen’s style of narration, always with a little twinkle…
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Mark Twain – Keen Observer and Sharp-tongued Critic

Mark Twain – Keen Observer and Sharp-tongued Critic

On November 30, 1835, famous American author Samuel Longhorn Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was born in the tiny village of Florida, Missouri. He is most noted for his humorous novels about the mischievous boys Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and their adventures on the mighty Mississippi River. “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will…
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