literature

How Anthony Trollope invented the Red Postal Box

How Anthony Trollope invented the Red Postal Box

On April 24, 1815, English novelist of the Victorian era Anthony Trollope was born. Trollope wrote novels on political, social, and gender issues, and other topical matters. Among his best-known works is a series of novels collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, which revolves around the imaginary county of Barsetshire. He furthermore introduced the familiar red pillar boxes in Britain as street-side receptacles of letters for collection by the Post Office.…
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Nikolai Gogol and Russian Surrealism

Nikolai Gogol and Russian Surrealism

On March 4, 1852, Russian novelist Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol passed away, whose novel Myortvye dushi (Dead Souls) and whose short story “Shinel” (“The Overcoat”) are considered the foundations of the great 19th-century tradition of Russian realism. However, later critics have found in his work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of surrealism and the grotesque. Nikolai Gogol was born in the Ukrainian Cossack village of Sorochyntsi, in Poltava Governorate of the Russian…
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The Fantastic Worlds of Leo Perutz

The Fantastic Worlds of Leo Perutz

On November 2, 1882, Austrian novelist and mathematician Leo Perutz was born. Perutz was a mathematician who formulated an algebraic equation which is named after him and worked as a statistician for an insurance company. He is best known as author of fantasy novels, which gained the admiration of Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Ian Fleming, Karl Edward Wagner and Graham Greene. Leo Perutz was born in Prague, the oldest among four…
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Theodor Fontane and German Realism

Theodor Fontane and German Realism

On September 20, 1898, German novelist and poet Theodor Fontane passed away. Fontane is regarded by many as the most important 19th-century German-language realist writer. Theodor Fontane was born in Neuruppin, a town 30 miles northwest of Berlin, into a Huguenot family as son of the pharmacist Louis Henri Fontane. At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to an apothecary. His further education was in Leipzig where he came into contact…
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Guy de Maupassant – Master of the Short Story

Guy de Maupassant – Master of the Short Story

On August 5, 1850, French writer Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant was born. Maupassant is remembered as a master of the short story form, and as a representative of the naturalist school of writers, who depicted human lives and destinies and social forces in disillusioned and often pessimistic terms. I’ve read Maupassant‘s Bel Ami by the time I graduated in computer science, a novel that did make a lasting impression. What I…
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The Dystopies of Aldous Huxley

The Dystopies of Aldous Huxley

On July 26, 1894, English writer, novelist, philosopher Aldous Leonard Huxley was born. He was best known for his novels including Brave New World, set in a dystopian London, and for non-fiction books, such as The Doors of Perception, which recalls experiences when taking a psychedelic drug, and a wide-ranging output of essays. Nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in seven different years, Huxley was widely acknowledged as one of the…
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Samuel Taylor Coleridge and English Literary Romanticism

Samuel Taylor Coleridge and English Literary Romanticism

On July 25, 1834, English poet, literary critic and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge passed away. Together with his friend William Wordsworth, he is considered the founder of the Romantic Movement in England. He wrote the poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as the major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on Shakespeare, was highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. It…
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Amelia Edwards’ travels in Egypt

Amelia Edwards’ travels in Egypt

On June 7, 1831, English novelist, journalist, traveller and Egyptologist Amelia B. Edwards was born. Her account of her travels in Egypt, A Thousand Miles Up the Nile (1877), was an immediate success. During the last two decades of her life, she became concerned by threats to Egyptian monuments and antiquities, raised funds for archaeological excavations and increased public awareness by lecturing at home and abroad. Amelia Edwards was born in London.…
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J. M. Barrie and the Boy who wouldn’t grow up

J. M. Barrie and the Boy who wouldn’t grow up

On May 9, 1860, Scotish author and playwright Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet was born. Barrie is best remembered for being the creator of Peter Pan in his novel “Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up“, a “fairy play” about an ageless boy and an ordinary girl named Wendy who have adventures in the fantasy setting of Neverland. James Matthew Barrie was the ninth child of ten. When he…
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Bettina von Arnim and the Romantic Era’s Zeitgeist

Bettina von Arnim and the Romantic Era’s Zeitgeist

On April 4, 1785, German romantic author Elisabeth Catharina Ludovica Magdalena Brentano, better known as Bettina von Arnim was born. Moreover, she was a writer, publisher, composer, singer, visual artist, an illustrator, patron of young talent, and a social activist. She was the archetype of the Romantic era’s zeitgeist and the crux of many creative relationships of canonical artistic figures. Best known for the company she kept, she numbered among her closest friends…
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