literature

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…
Isaac Asimov and the Three Laws of Robotics

Isaac Asimov and the Three Laws of Robotics

Isaac Asimov (1920 – 1992) © U.S Library of Congress On January 2, 1920, the Russian-born author and professor of biochemistry Isaac Asimov was born. He was best known for his science fiction works in which he coined the term ‘robotics‘ and his popular science books. 1.A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey…
John Bunyan and the Pilgrim’s Progress

John Bunyan and the Pilgrim’s Progress

Probably on November 28, 1628, English writer and Puritan preacher John Bunyan was born. Bunyan is best remembered as the author of the Christian allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress. In addition to The Pilgrim’s Progress, is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, Bunyan wrote nearly sixty titles, many of them expanded sermons. John Bunyan was born in the parish of Elstow, Bedfordshire, UK, to Thomas…
The Murder-Suicide of Heinrich von Kleist

The Murder-Suicide of Heinrich von Kleist

On November 21, 1811, German poet, dramatist, novelist, short story writer and journalist Heinrich von Kleist committed suicide. Kleist stood as an outsider in the literary life of his time beyond the established camps and the literary eras of Weimar classical and romanticism. He is best known for the “historical knight play” Das Käthchen von Heilbronn, his comedy plays Der zerbrochne Krug and Amphitryon, the tragedy Penthesilea as well as…
Russian Polymath Mikhail Lomonosow

Russian Polymath Mikhail Lomonosow

On November 19, 1711, Russian polymath, scientist and writer Mikhail Lomonosov was born. Lomonosov made important contributions to literature, education, and science. Among his discoveries were the atmosphere of Venus and the Law of Mass Conservation in chemical reactions. His spheres of science were natural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, art, philology, optical devices and others. Lomonosov was also a poet and influenced the formation of the modern Russian literary language.…
Alain-René Lesage and The Devil upon Two Sticks

Alain-René Lesage and The Devil upon Two Sticks

On November 17, 1747, French novelist and playwright Alain-René Lesage passed away. Lesage is best known for his comic novel The Devil upon Two Sticks (1707, Le Diable boiteux), his comedy Turcaret (1709), and his picaresque novel Gil Blas (1715–1735). Lesage was born in Sarzeau, a commune in the Morbihan department of Brittany in north-western France, located on the Rhuys peninsula between the Gulf of Morbihan and the Atlantic Ocean.…
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) Robert Mathias Musil was born in Klagenfurt, Carinthia, Austria,…
Charles Percy Snow and the Two Cultures

Charles Percy Snow and the Two Cultures

On October 15, 1905, English physical chemist and novelist Charles Percy Snow, Baron Snow was born. Snow is best known for his series of novels known collectively as Strangers and Brothers, and for The Two Cultures, a 1959 lecture in which he laments the gulf between scientists and “literary intellectuals“. C. P. Snow was born in Leicester to William Snow, a church organist and choirmaster, and his wife Ada. His…
Jean de La Bruyère and the Characters

Jean de La Bruyère and the Characters

On August 16, 1645, French philosopher and moralist Jean de La Bruyère was born. La Bruyère is best known for one work, Les Caractères de Théophraste traduits du grec avec Les Caractères ou les moeurs de ce siècle (1688; The Characters, or the Manners of the Age, with The Characters of Theophrastus), which is considered to be one of the masterpieces of French literature. Jean de La Bruyère studied law…
The Collages of Kurt Schwitters

The Collages of Kurt Schwitters

On June 20, 1887, German artist Kurt Hermann Eduard Karl Julius Schwitters, known as Kurt Schwitters was born. Schwitters worked in several genres and media, including Dadaism, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting, sculpture, graphic design, typography, and what came to be known as installation art. He is most famous for his collages, called Merz Pictures. Kurt Schwitters was born in Hanover, Germany, the only child of Eduard Schwitters, the (co-)proprietor…
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