literature

August Wilhelm Iffland and the Iffland Ring

August Wilhelm Iffland and the Iffland Ring

On April 19, 1759, German actor and dramatic author August Wilhelm Iffland was born. He was the most important actor of his age and is best remembered for playing the main part of Franz Moor in Friedrich Schiller‘s ‘The Robbers‘.[6] And there is this ring, the Iffland-Ring, which bears Iffland‘s likeness, and is borne by the most important German-speaking actor, as decided by his predecessor. When I first heard the story of the…
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Henry James and Impressionism in Literature

Henry James and Impressionism in Literature

On April 15, 1843, American-British author Henry James was born. James is regarded as a key transitional figure between literary realism and literary modernism, and is considered by many to be among the greatest novelists in the English language. He is best known for a number of novels dealing with the social and marital interplay between emigre Americans, English people, and continental Europeans – examples of such novels include The Portrait of…
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F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby

On April 10, 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s famous socially critical novel ‘The Great Gatsby‘ was published. The story takes place in 1922, during the Roaring Twenties, a time of prosperity in the United States after World War I. The book received critical acclaim and is generally considered Fitzgerald‘s best work. It is also widely regarded as a “Great American Novel” and a literary classic, although it didn’t sell very well during Fitzgerald‘s…
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Charles Baudelaire and the Flowers of Evil

Charles Baudelaire and the Flowers of Evil

On April 9, 1821, French poet Charles Baudelaire was born. He produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. Baudelaire is most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century. Baudelaire is considered one of the major innovators in French literature. His themes of sex, death, lesbianism, metamorphosis, depression,…
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William Wordsworth and the Romantic Age of English Literature

William Wordsworth and the Romantic Age of English Literature

On April 7, 1770, major English Romantic poet William Wordsworth was born. Together with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Wordsworth helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads.[6] The eye — it cannot choose but see; we cannot bid the ear be still; our bodies feel, where’er they be, against or with our will. – William Wordsworth, Expostulation and Reply, st. 5 (1798). Early Years – French…
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Embedded in the Collective Consciousness of the West – The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen

Embedded in the Collective Consciousness of the West – The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen

On April 2, 1805, Danish author Hans Christian Andersen was born. Anderson was a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems. However, he is probably best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen’s popularity is not limited to children: his stories express themes that transcend age and nationality. “Far out in the ocean, where the water is as blue as the prettiest cornflower, and as clear as crystal, it is very, very…
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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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