poetry

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). William Wordsworth was born at…
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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. If you like books and stories, you should have heard about the Epic of Gilgamesh, the adventures of the King of…
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Friedrich Hölderlin and the German Romanticism

Friedrich Hölderlin and the German Romanticism

On March 20, 1770, major German lyric poet of Romanticism, Friedrich Hölderlin was born. Hölderlin was also an important thinker in the development of German Idealism, particularly his early association with and philosophical influence on his seminary roommates Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel [3] and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. The poetry of Hölderlin, widely recognized today as one of the highest points of German literature, was little known or understood during his lifetime and…
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Boccaccio and his Decameron

Boccaccio and his 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. It its 100 stories it provides us with an intimate contemporary view into medieval and early Renaissance European…
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The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

Hans Sachs (1494-1576) 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 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 centuries…
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Andreas Gryphius – Master Poet of the German Baroque

Andreas Gryphius – Master Poet of the German Baroque

Andreas Gryphius (1616-1664) 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 Andreas Gryphius. Back…
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Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) 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 and Boccaccio, Dante – the ‘supreme poet’ (il Sommo Poeta) – is referred to as “the three crowns” or “the three fountains”. Moreover, he is also…
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Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

Ludovico Ariosto (1474 – 1533) 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. Ariosto studied Latin in Ferrera and enrolled at the city’s university to study law. However, his interest remained in other fields, like humanism, wherefore he never…
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Francesco Petrarca – Father of Renaissance

Francesco Petrarca – Father of Renaissance

Francesco Petrarca (1304 – 1374)Author: Frieda 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”. Born in…
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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. Ralph Waldo Emerson enrolled at Harvard College at the age of 14 and throughout his…
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