poetry

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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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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Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

On September 8, 1474, Italian Renaissance poet Ludovico Ariosto was born. He is best known for his romance epic Orlando Furioso (The Frenzy of Orlando), which describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens.[4] “Of ladies, knights, of passions and of wars, of courtliness, and of valiant deeds I sing.” – Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, Canto I, stanza 1 (1532) Ariosto – Early Years Ariosto was the…
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Petrarch and the Invention of the Renaissance

Petrarch and the Invention of the Renaissance

On July 20, 1304, Italian scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) was born. He is considered to be one of the earliest humanists and also the “father of the Renaissance.” Petrarch’s sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the “Dark Ages”. “I rejoiced in my progress, mourned my weaknesses, and…
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Thomas Moore – Ireland’s National Bard

Thomas Moore – Ireland’s National Bard

On May 28, 1779, Irish poet, singer, songwriter Thomas Moore was born. He is best remembered for the lyrics of “The Minstrel Boy” and “The Last Rose of Summer“. Moreover, he was responsible, with John Murray, for burning Lord Byron’s memoirs after his death.[3] Thomas Moore – From Laws to Poetry Thomas Moore’s father came from a Catholic Irish-speaking family in a Gaeltacht region of County Kerry, his mother was from Wexford; her…
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Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalism Movement

Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalism Movement

On May 25, 1803, American essayist, lecturer, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was born, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society. He disseminated his philosophical thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures. “He who is in love is wise and is becoming wiser, sees newly every time…
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I must go, the Fog is Rising – The Poetry of Emily Dickinson

I must go, the Fog is Rising – The Poetry of Emily Dickinson

On May 15, 1886, American poet Emily Elizabeth Dickinson passed away. Despite unfavorable reviews and skepticism soon after her publications, she is now almost universally considered to be one of the most important American poets. Emily Dickinson’s poetry is rather unconventional and unique for her time, in which she wrote. They contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Like writers such as…
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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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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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