literature

Abraham a Sancta Clara – “Very Eccentric but Popular”

Abraham a Sancta Clara – “Very Eccentric but Popular”

On December 1, 1709, Abraham a Sancta Clara, Austrian divine, court preacher and author passed away. Born as Johann Ulrich Megerle, he has been described “a very eccentric but popular Augustinian monk” and had earned great reputation for pulpit eloquence, the force and homeliness of his language, the grotesqueness of his humor, and the impartial severity with which he lashed the follies of all classes of society and of the court in particular.…
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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…
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The Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson

The Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson

On November 13, 1850, Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer Robert Louis Stevenson was born. A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson wrote famous books such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Stephenson is ranked the 26th most translated author in the world, ahead of fellow nineteenth-century writers Oscar Wilde [1] and Edgar Allan Poe [2]. I don’t know how it is for you,…
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Horace Walpole and the Rise of the Gothic Novel

Horace Walpole and the Rise of the Gothic Novel

On September 24, 1717, English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian, connoisseur, and collector as well as Whig politician Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford was born. Walpole built Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, south-west London, reviving the Gothic style some decades before his Victorian successors. Moreover, he was famous in his day for his medieval horror tale The Castle of Otranto, which initiated the vogue for Gothic romances. He is remembered…
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Primo Levi and the Best Science Book ever Written

Primo Levi and the Best Science Book ever Written

On July 31, 1919, Italian Jewish chemist, writer, and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi was born. As a writer, he is noted for his restrained and moving autobiographical account of and reflections on survival in the Nazi concentration camps. His book The Periodic Table, a collection of short stories published in 1975, and named after the periodic table in chemistry, was named it the best science book ever by the Royal Institution of…
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The Sensibility of Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock

The Sensibility of Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock

On July 2, 1724, German poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock was born. One of his major contributions to German literature was to open it up to exploration outside of French models. Klopstock is considered an important representative of sensibility. “The God who created these fair heavens with the same facility as yon green sapling; he who hath bestowed on man a life of toil, of transient joys and fleeting pains, that he might…
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The Scandalous Love Affairs of George Sand

The Scandalous Love Affairs of George Sand

On July 1, 1804, French novelist and memoirist Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupi better known under her pseudonym George Sand was born. She was one of the most successful female writers of the nineteenth century, but equally well known for her much publicized romantic affairs with a number of artists, including the composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin and the writer Alfred de Musset. “I have an object, a task, let me say the word, a…
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Maxim Gorky and the Socialist Realism

Maxim Gorky and the Socialist Realism

On June 18, 1936, Russian writer Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, better known as Maxim Gorky passed away. He was the founder of the Socialist realism literary method and a political activist. He worked in many jobs during an impoverished and abusive childhood before finding fame and fortune as a writer. Initially a Bolshevik supporter, Gorky became a critic when Vladimir Lenin seized power. However, Gorky later served as a Soviet advocate and headed…
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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. “I can be on guard against my enemies, but God deliver me from my friends!” – Charlotte Brontë, in response to George Henry Lewes (LL, II, v, 272) Why I read Charlotte Brontë Following the usual stereotype, computer scientists…
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The Inestimable Life of the Great Renaissance Writer Francois Rabelais

The Inestimable Life of the Great Renaissance Writer Francois Rabelais

Probably on April 9, 1553, French Renaissance writer, physician, Renaissance humanist, monk and Greek scholar François Rabelais passed away. Because of his literary power and historical importance, Western literary critics consider him one of the great writers of world literature and among the creators of modern European writing. His best known work is Gargantua and Pantagruel, telling the adventures of two giants, Gargantua and his son Pantagruel. The work is written in…
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