literature

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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Egon Friedell’s Fascinating Cutural Histories

Egon Friedell’s Fascinating Cutural Histories

On 16 March 1938, at about 22:00, two SA men arrived at the house of prominent Austrian philosopher, historian, journalist and critic Egon Friedell to arrest him. While they were still arguing with his housekeeper, Friedell committed suicide by jumping out of the window. Before leaping, he warned pedestrians walking on the sideway where he hit by shouting “Watch out! Get out of the way!“. This was the tragic end of a brilliant…
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H.P. Lovecraft and the Inconceivable Terror

H.P. Lovecraft and the Inconceivable Terror

On March 15, 1937, Howard Philips Lovecraft – better known as H.P. Lovecraft – author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction, passed away. He is reknown as the originator of the Cthulhu Mythos story cycle and the Necronomicon, a fictional magical textbook of rites and forbidden lore. My first acquaintance with the weird literary fiction of H.P. Lovecraft dates back to my schooldays, when hanging…
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The Amazing Diary of Samuel Pepys, Esq.

The Amazing Diary of Samuel Pepys, Esq.

On February 23, 1633, English naval administrator and Member of Parliament Samuel Pepys was born, who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. The detailed private diary Pepys kept from 1660 until 1669 was first published in the 19th century, and is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. Personally, I really enjoyed reading Samuel Pepys’…
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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. James Augustine Aloysius Joyce on February 2, 1882 just south of Dublin in a…
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Lewis Carroll – Mathematician and Creator of the Wonderland

Lewis Carroll – Mathematician and Creator of the Wonderland

On January 27, 1832, British mathematician, photographer, and children’s book author Lewis Carroll, creator of the stories about ‘Alice in Wonderland’, was born. The English all round talented Carroll was first home schooled and confronted with challenging works like ‘The Pilgrim´s Progress‘ – a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan, regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature – from early years on. When being transferred to grammar…
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Wicked Lord Byron’s Wonderful Poetry

Wicked Lord Byron’s Wonderful Poetry

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824). painted by Thomas Philipps, 1824 On January 22, 1788, George Gordon Noel Byron, 6. Baron Byron of Rochdale, commonly known simply as Lord Byron, English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement was born. I remember to have learned about Lord Byron back at school with his lengthy narrative poems like Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage or the shorter and much more beautiful poem “She Walks in…
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George Orwell’s Opposition to Totalitarism

George Orwell’s Opposition to Totalitarism

George Orwell (1903-1950) On January 21, 1950, British novelist and journalist Eric Arthur Blair, better known under his pen name George Orwell, passed away. The author of the famous dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and his works are well known for the awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and belief in democratic socialism. For sure you will have heart of George Orwell. Even a computer scientist like myself living in his personal “ivory tower” cannot…
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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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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 the orders…
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