Émile Zola

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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Paul Cézanne – Breaking all the Rules

Paul Cézanne – Breaking all the Rules

On January 19, 1839, French artist and Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne was born. He laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Thus, Cézanne can be said to bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century’s Cubism. “Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing sensations.”, Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, –…
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J’Accuse – Émile Zola and the Dreyfus Affaire

J’Accuse – Émile Zola and the Dreyfus Affaire

Title page with Émile Zola’s famous public letter ‘J’accuse…!’ On January 13, 1898, French novellist Émile Zola published an open letter in the newspaper L’Aurore entitled “J’accuse” (“I accuse”, or, in context, “I accuse you”). In the letter, Zola addressed the President of France Félix Faure, and accused the government of anti-Semitism and the unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army General Staff officer sentenced to penal servitude for life for espionage. Alfred Dreyfus was…
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Egon Erwin Kisch – The frenzied Reporter

Egon Erwin Kisch – The frenzied Reporter

On April 29, 1885, Austrian and Czechoslovak writer and journalist Egon Erwin Kisch was born. Kisch styled himself Der Rasende Reporter (The frenzied reporter) for his countless travels to the far corners of the globe and his equally numerous articles produced in a relatively short time (Hetzjagd durch die Zeit, 1925), Kisch was noted for his development of literary reportage and his opposition to Adolf Hitler‘s Nazi regime. “And there is nothing more…
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Heinrich Mann – Social Criticism, Marlene Dietrich, and Californian Exile

Heinrich Mann – Social Criticism, Marlene Dietrich, and Californian Exile

On March 27, 1871, German novelist Luiz (Ludwig) Heinrich Mann was born. Being the elder brother of Nobel laureate Thomas Mann,[4] he wrote works with strong social themes. His numerous criticisms of the growth of fascism forced him to flee for his life after the Nazis came to power in 1933. His book “Professor Unrat” was freely adapted into the legendary movie “Der Blaue Engel” starring Marlene Dietrich in her first major role.…
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