James Joyce

The Inestimable Life of the Great Renaissance Writer Francois Rabelais

The Inestimable Life of the Great Renaissance Writer Francois Rabelais

Probably on April 9, 1553, French Renaissance writer, physician, Renaissance humanist, monk and Greek scholar François Rabelais passed away. Because of his literary power and historical importance, Western literary critics consider him one of the great writers of world literature and among the creators of modern European writing. His best known work is Gargantua and Pantagruel, telling the adventures of two giants, Gargantua and his son Pantagruel. The work is written in…
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Gertrude Stein – A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose

Gertrude Stein – A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose

On February 3, 1874, American writer, publisher, and art collector Gertrude Stein was born. Gertrude Stein, like Virginia Woolf,[1] is one of the first women of classical literary modernism. She wrote experimental novels, novellas, essays, poems, literary portraits, and stage works in which she defied linguistic and literary conventions, so that many critics and readers found her work too difficult, were amused by it, or ignored it. “I am writing for myself and…
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John Huston – Hollywood Titan, Rebel, and Renaissance Man

John Huston – Hollywood Titan, Rebel, and Renaissance Man

On August 5, 1906, American film director, screenwriter, and actor John Huston was born. Huston has been referred to as “a titan”, “a rebel”, and a “renaissance man” in the Hollywood film industry. He wrote the screenplays for most of the 37 feature films he directed, many of which are today considered classics. During his 46-year career, Huston received 15 Oscar nominations, winning twice, and directed both his father, Walter Huston, and…
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Henry James and Impressionism in Literature

Henry James and Impressionism in Literature

On April 15, 1843, American-British author Henry James was born. James is regarded as a key transitional figure between literary realism and literary modernism, and is considered by many to be among the greatest novelists in the English language. He is best known for a number of novels dealing with the social and marital interplay between emigre Americans, English people, and continental Europeans – examples of such novels include The Portrait of…
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Virginia Woolf and the Birth of Modern Literature

Virginia Woolf and the Birth of Modern Literature

On January 25, 1882, English writer Virginia Woolf was born. She is considered one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928). “The beauty of the world which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.” — Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929)…
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Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose

Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose

On January 5, 1932, Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and successful novelist Umberto Eco was born. He is best known for his groundbreaking historical mystery novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose), an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory. I have read ‘The Name of the Rose‘, when I was just 20 years of age, and ever since I am a…
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We Are the Hollow Men – T. S. Eliot

We Are the Hollow Men – T. S. Eliot

On September 26, 1888, the publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and “arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century”, Thomas Stearns Eliot, aka T. S. Eliot, was born, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Although he was born an American, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39. “Here I…
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James Joyce and Literary Modernism

James Joyce and Literary Modernism

On February 2, 1882, Irish novelist and poet James Joyce was born, who is considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for his Ulysses, a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer‘s Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles. “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on…
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Robert Musil and the Man without Qualities

Robert Musil and the Man without Qualities

On November 6, 1880, Austrian philosophical writer Robert Musil was born. Musil‘s unfinished novel The Man Without Qualities (German: Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften) is generally considered to be one of the most important and influential modernist novels. “We do not have too much intellect and too little soul, but too little intellect in matters of the soul.”, Robert Musil, Helpless Europe (1922) Youth and Education Robert Mathias Musil was born in Klagenfurt, Carinthia,…
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Murray Gell-Mann and the Quark Model

Murray Gell-Mann and the Quark Model

On September 15, 1929, American physicist and Nobel Laureate Murray Gell-Mann was born. He is best known for his work on the theory of elementary particles and introduced the quark model. The quark model is a classification scheme for hadrons, i.e. composite particle made of quarks held together by the strong force (in the same way as atoms and molecules are held together by the electromagnetic force). “While many questions about quantum mechanics…
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