literature

George Smith and the Epic of Gilgamesh

George Smith and the Epic of Gilgamesh

On March 26, 1840, English Assyriologist George Smith was born. Besides his pioneering work in Assyriology, he first discovered and translated the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest-known written work of literature. Moreover, its description of a flood, strikingly similar to the account in Genesis, had a stunning effect on Smith’s generation. “Gilgamesh was called a god and a man; Enkidu was an animal and a man. It is the story of their…
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General Thomas Alexandre Dumas – Napoleon’s ‘Black Devil’

General Thomas Alexandre Dumas – Napoleon’s ‘Black Devil’

On March 25, 1762, Thomas Alexandre Dumas was born. Dumas was the Father of the famous French author Alexandre Dumas [5] and the first black General in the French army. The story of his life should become the blueprint for his son’s most famous novels ‘The Count of Monte Christo‘ and ‘The Three Musketeers‘. “Do not value money for any more nor any less than its worth; it is a good servant but…
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Rudy Rucker – Infinity and the Mind

Rudy Rucker – Infinity and the Mind

On March 22, 1946, American mathematician, computer scientist, science fiction author, and philosopher Rudolph von Bitter Rucker, better known as Rudy Rucker, was born. He is also one of the founders of the cyberpunk literary movement. “The space of our universe is the hypersurface of a vast expanding hypersphere.” – Rudy Rucker, The Sex Sphere (1983) Youth and Education Rucker was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where his father Embry Cobb Rucker,…
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Dreams, Travelling, and Humoresques – The Literary Life of Jean Paul

Dreams, Travelling, and Humoresques – The Literary Life of Jean Paul

On March 21, 1762, German Romantic author Johann Paul Friedrich Richter was born, better known as Jean Paul. Jean Paul is best known for his humorous novels and stories. In terms of literary history, his work stands between the epochs of Classicism and Romanticism. “Memory is the only paradise out of which we cannot be driven away.” — Jean Paul’s Geist; oder Chrestomathie, Vierter Theil [4th part], Weimar/Leipzig, 1816 Youth and Education…
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Friedrich Hölderlin and the German Romanticism

Friedrich Hölderlin and the German Romanticism

On March 20, 1770, major German lyric poet of Romanticism, Friedrich Hölderlin was born. Hölderlin was also an important thinker in the development of German Idealism, particularly his early association with and philosophical influence on his seminary roommates Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel [3] and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. The poetry of Hölderlin, widely recognized today as one of the highest points of German literature, was little known or understood during his lifetime and…
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Marcus Aurelius – the Philosopher on the Emperor’s Throne

Marcus Aurelius – the Philosopher on the Emperor’s Throne

On March 17, 180 AD, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius passed away. He is often referred to as the philosopher on the emperor‘s throne and considered on of the most important Stoic philosophers. “Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditationes (161-180) Taking Up the Dress…
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Freiherr von Eichendorff and the Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing

Freiherr von Eichendorff and the Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing

On March 10, 1788, German writer Joseph Karl Benedikt Freiherr von Eichendorff was born. He was an important poet and writer of German Romanticism. With around 5000 settings, he is one of the most widely acclaimed German-language lyricists and is still present today as a prose poet. “You good-for-nothing! there you sun yourself again and stretch and stretch your bones tiredly, and leave me to do all the work alone. I can no…
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The Phantastic Life of Cyrano de Bergerac – Forerunner of Enlightenment

The Phantastic Life of Cyrano de Bergerac – Forerunner of Enlightenment

On March 6, 1619, French novelist, playwright, epistolarian and duelist Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac was born. A bold and innovative author, his work was part of the libertine literature of the first half of the seventeenth century. Today he is best known as the inspiration for Edmond Rostand’s most noted drama Cyrano de Bergerac, which, although it includes elements of his life, also contains invention and myth. Cyrano – as he is…
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John Steinbeck and his View of the American Society

John Steinbeck and his View of the American Society

On February 27, 1902, American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel Laureate John Steinbeck was born. His works comprise twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories, among them ‘The Grapes of Wrath‘, ‘East of Eden‘, and ‘Of Mice and Men‘. “The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion…
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The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht

The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht

On February 10, 1898, German poet, playwright, theatre director, and Marxist Bertolt Brecht was born. A theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht is best known for his contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production. There are few areas of modern theatrical culture that have not felt the impact or influence of Brecht’s ideas and practices. “It is not enough to demand insight and informative images of reality from the theater. Our theater must…
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