literature

Lion Feuchtwanger and his Ardous Path of Knowledge

Lion Feuchtwanger and his Ardous Path of Knowledge

On July 7, 1884, German-Jewish novelist and playwright Lion Feuchtwanger was born. A prominent figure in the literary world of Weimar Germany, he is best known today for his novel Jud Süß and is considered one of the most widely read German-language authors of the 20th century, whose work influenced contemporary playwrights such as Bertolt Brecht.[1] “Thoughts about what you should have done and what you shouldn’t have done, they lead nowhere.” …
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The Very First Pulitzer Prize

The Very First Pulitzer Prize

On June 4, 1917, the very first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded. The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American (Hungarian-born) publisher Joseph Pulitzer, and is administered by Columbia University in New York City. Joseph Pulitzer When Pulitzer offered the Columbia University money in order to set up the…
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The Poetry of Walt Whitman

The Poetry of Walt Whitman

On May 31, 1819, American poet, essayist and journalist Walt Whitman was born. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. “It is a beautiful truth that all men contain something of the artist in them. And perhaps it is the case that…
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The Poet and the Lunatics – The Works of C. K. Chesterton

The Poet and the Lunatics – The Works of C. K. Chesterton

On May 29, 1874, English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, and literary and art critic Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born. Chesterton created the fictional priest-detective Father Brown, and wrote on apologetics. Even some of those who disagree with him have recognised the wide appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. I remember that I really enjoyed reading Chesterton’s short novel The Man Who Was Thursday (1908), somehow a political satire or almost…
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The Misfortune of Virtue – Marquis de Sade and his Writings

The Misfortune of Virtue – Marquis de Sade and his Writings

On March 6, 1801, French novelist Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, better known as the Marquis de Sade, was arrested for being the author of the anonymously published book ‘Justine or the Misfortune of Virtue‘ by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. “…there is a sum of evil equal to the sum of good, the continuing equilibrium of the world requires that there be as many good people as wicked people…” – Marquis de…
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Michel de Montaigne and the Art of Writing an Essay

Michel de Montaigne and the Art of Writing an Essay

On February 28, 1533, French philosopher Michel de Montaigne was born. Montaigne was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdotes and autobiography with intellectual insight. His massive volume Essais contains some of the most influential essays ever written. “We are, I know not how, double in ourselves, so that what…
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The Encyclopaedia of Rabanus Maurus

The Encyclopaedia of Rabanus Maurus

On February 4, 856, Frankish Benedictine monk, theologian, poet, encyclopedist and military writer Rabanus Maurus Magnentius passed away. He was the author of the encyclopaedia De rerum naturis (“On the Natures of Things“). He also wrote treatises on education and grammar and commentaries on the Bible. He was one of the most prominent teachers and writers of the Carolingian age, and was called “Praeceptor Germaniae,” or “the teacher of Germany.” How Rabanus…
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The Expressionistic Power of The Poems of Georg Trakl

The Expressionistic Power of The Poems of Georg Trakl

On February 3, 1887, Austrian poet Georg Trakl was born. Trakl is most probably the most important Austrian poet of Expressionism with strong influences of Symbolism. However, it is not possible to clearly assign his poetic works to one of the almost simultaneous currents of literary history of the 20th century. Verwandlung (2. Fassung) Entlang an Gärten, herbstlich, rotversengt: Hier zeigt im Stillen sich ein tüchtig Leben. Des Menschen Hände tragen braune…
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The Untranslatable Linguistic Elegance of Jean Racine

The Untranslatable Linguistic Elegance of Jean Racine

On Dec 22, 1637, French dramatist Jean Racine was born, one of the three great playwrights of 17th-century France, along with Molière and Corneille, and an important literary figure in the Western tradition. Racine’s plays displayed his mastery of the dodecasyllabic (12 syllable) French alexandrine. His writing is renowned for its elegance, purity, speed, and fury. The linguistic effects of Racine’s poetry are widely considered to be untranslatable,although many eminent poets have…
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Arthur C. Clarke – Prophet of the Space Age

Arthur C. Clarke – Prophet of the Space Age

On December 16, 1917, British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host Sir Arthur C. Clarke was born. He is probably best known for co-authoring the screenplay of the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of the most influential films of all time. Clarke’s science and science fiction writings earned him the moniker “Prophet of the Space Age” His science fiction earned him a…
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