literature

The Untranslatable Linguistic Elegance of Jean Racine

The Untranslatable Linguistic Elegance of Jean Racine

On Dec 22, 1637, French dramatist Jean Racine was born, one of the three great playwrights of 17th-century France, along with Molière and Corneille, and an important literary figure in the Western tradition. Racine’s plays displayed his mastery of the dodecasyllabic (12 syllable) French alexandrine. His writing is renowned for its elegance, purity, speed, and fury. The linguistic effects of Racine’s poetry are widely considered to be untranslatable,although many eminent poets have…
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Giovanni Boccaccio and his Famous Decameron

Giovanni Boccaccio and his Famous Decameron

On December 21, 1375, Italian author, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and important Renaissance humanist Giovanni Boccaccio passed away. He is best known for his masterpiece ‘The Decameron‘ told as a frame story encompassing 100 tales. You haven’t heart about the ‘Decameron‘? You definitely should, simply because it is the masterpiece of European Renaissance literature. In its 100 stories it provides us with an intimate contemporary view into medieval and early Renaissance European…
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Arthur C. Clarke – Prophet of the Space Age

Arthur C. Clarke – Prophet of the Space Age

On December 16, 1917, British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host Sir Arthur C. Clarke was born. He is probably best known for co-authoring the screenplay of the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of the most influential films of all time. Clarke’s science and science fiction writings earned him the moniker “Prophet of the Space Age” His science fiction earned him a…
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C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia

C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia

On November 29, 1898, English novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist Clive Staples Lewis aka C.S. Lewis was born. He was a close friend of J.R.R. Tolkien and is best known for his fictional work, especially The Chronicles of Narnia. Actually, since his childhood days, was was usually referred to as ‘Jack’ and not ‘Clive’. “I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it…
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The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

On November 5, 1494, German Meistersinger (master singer), poet, playwright, and shoemaker Hans Sachs was born. His work is considered the most important testimony of the bourgeois imperial town culture of the 16th century. What is a Meistersinger? What makes Hans Sachs so special – although you might have never heart of him – is his profession as being a ‘Meistersinger’. Actually, he is also the only ‘Meistersinger’ whose fame lasted over the…
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The Cantos of Ezra Pound will last as long as there is any Literature

The Cantos of Ezra Pound will last as long as there is any Literature

On October 30, 1885, expatriate American poet and critic Ezra Pound was born. He is regarded as one of the outstanding representatives of literary modernism. His main work is The Cantos. Before 1914 he propagated Imagism and Vortizism. During his stay in Italy from 1924 to 1945 he admired and supported Italian fascism. Ezra Pound – Early Years Ezra Pound was the only child of his parents Homer Loomis Pound and Isabel…
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Andreas Gryphius – Master Poet of the German Baroque

Andreas Gryphius – Master Poet of the German Baroque

On October 11, 1616, German Baroque lyric poet and dramatist Andreas Gryphius was born. For his poems and tragedies Gryphius chose the topics of pain and moral decay during the times of the Thirty Years’ War as well as human restlessness, solitude and inner conflicts. Unless you have attended a German highschool or have a strong interest in baroque poetry, you might have never heard of him. Back at school, we had to…
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Henry Fielding – the Father of the English Novel

Henry Fielding – the Father of the English Novel

On October 8, 1754, famous English novelist, journalist and dramatist Henry Fielding passed away. He is best known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones. Henry Fielding influenced the main tradition of the English novel through the eighteenth century and the nineteenth century. One of his major contribution to the English novel was a sense of structure to its development. With his…
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Miguel de Cervantes and his Knight of the Sad Countenance

Miguel de Cervantes and his Knight of the Sad Countenance

(Probably) on September 29, 1547, famous Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra  was born. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, is considered to be the first modern European novel, a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written. Moreover it has been translated into nearly every major language, making it one of the most widely distributed books after the Bible. Miguel de Cervantes’ influence on…
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Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy

In the night from September 13 to 14, 1321, major Italian poet Dante Alighieri passed away. His Divine Comedy is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. Together with his poet colleagues Petrarch [7] and Boccaccio,[8] Dante – the ‘supreme poet’ (il Sommo Poeta) – is referred to as “the three crowns” or “the three fountains”. Moreover, he is also called the “Father of…
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