literature

Count Vampyre from Styria – or what Bram Stoker did not write

Count Vampyre from Styria – or what Bram Stoker did not write

On May 18, 1897, Bram Stoker published his seminal book ‘Dracula‘ in London and established one of the most influential genres in fantastic literature by introducing the Transylvanian blood sucker. Nowadays most people don’t know that identifying Dracula with the historical Vlad Tepes — called Vlad the impaler — was completely made up by Stoker himself. Oh, obviously Vlad Tepes was anything else but a nice guy, as you might look up…
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The Decadence of Joris-Karl Huysmans

The Decadence of Joris-Karl Huysmans

On May 12, 1907, French writer and art critic Joris-Karl Huysmans passed away. Hysmans is most famous for the novel “À rebours”, by which he broke from Naturalism and became the ultimate example of “decadent” literature. Huysmans’ work is considered remarkable for its idiosyncratic use of the French language, large vocabulary, descriptions, satirical wit and far-ranging erudition. Joris-Karl Huysmans was born as Charles Marie Georges Huysmans on February 5, 1848, in Paris,…
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Don’t Panic! – remembering Douglas Adams

Don’t Panic! – remembering Douglas Adams

On May 11, 2001, writer, dramatist, and musician Douglas Noel Adams has passed away. His efforts as author resulted in five books of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy’, the book ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’ and many other. He was also active as screenwriter for the television series ‘Doctor Who‘ and (very notable) appeared twice in the fourth series of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.[1] BTW he is one of only two people…
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The Famous Prophecies of Nostradamus

The Famous Prophecies of Nostradamus

On May 4, 1555, The first edition of Michel de Nostredame‘s ‘Les Propheties‘, a famous collection of long-term predictions that have since become famous worldwide, was published. “Perfect knowledge of such things cannot be acquired without divine inspiration, given that all prophetic inspiration derives its initial origin from God Almighty, then from chance and nature.” — Michel de Nostredame, Les Propheties (1555) Born on December 14 or 21, 1503 in Saint-Remy-de-Provence in the…
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The Illuminati – about Conspiracies and Bestsellers

The Illuminati – about Conspiracies and Bestsellers

On May 1st, 1776 Adam Weishaupt, the first lay professor of canon law, founded the secret order of Illuminati at the University of Ingolstadt.  It was made up of freethinkers as an offshoot of the Enlightenment and seems to have been modeled on the Freemasons. The Illuminati’s members took a vow of secrecy and pledged obedience to their superiors. Members were divided into three main classes, each with several degrees, and many Illuminati…
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Edward Gibbon and the Science of History

Edward Gibbon and the Science of History

On April 27, 1737, English historian and Member of Parliament Edward Gibbon was born. His most famous work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788 and is known for the quality and irony of its prose as well as for its scientific historic accuracy, which made it a model for later historians. History is little more than the register…
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Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

On April 26, 1564, English poet and playwright William Shakespeare was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world‘s pre-eminent dramatist. Shakespeare‘s works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, two epitaphs, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other…
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Max and Moritz as Role Model for The Katzenjammer Kids

Max and Moritz as Role Model for The Katzenjammer Kids

On April 4, 1865, Wilhelm Busch published his famous ‘Max and Moritz‘ (in the German original: Max und Moritz – Eine Bubengeschichte in sieben Streichen), a famous German language illustrated story in verse, considered to be an early precursor of comic strips. Actually, if you are not by chance a German native speaker, you probably might never have heard of satirical author, illustrator and painter Wilhelm Busch, who was famous in the 19th…
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Egon Friedell’s Fascinating Cutural Histories

Egon Friedell’s Fascinating Cutural Histories

On 16 March 1938, at about 22:00, two SA men arrived at the house of prominent Austrian philosopher, historian, journalist and critic Egon Friedell to arrest him. While they were still arguing with his housekeeper, Friedell committed suicide by jumping out of the window. Before leaping, he warned pedestrians walking on the sideway where he hit by shouting “Watch out! Get out of the way!“. This was the tragic end of a brilliant…
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H.P. Lovecraft and the Inconceivable Terror

H.P. Lovecraft and the Inconceivable Terror

On March 15, 1937, Howard Philips Lovecraft – better known as H.P. Lovecraft – author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction, passed away. He is reknown as the originator of the Cthulhu Mythos story cycle and the Necronomicon, a fictional magical textbook of rites and forbidden lore. My first acquaintance with the weird literary fiction of H.P. Lovecraft dates back to my schooldays, when hanging…
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