literature

Charles Brockden Brown – A Crucial Figure in American Writing

Charles Brockden Brown – A Crucial Figure in American Writing

On January 17, 1771, American novelist, historian, and editor Charles Brockden Brown was born. He is generally regarded as the most important American novelist before James Fenimore Cooper. Although Brown was not the first American novelist, the breadth and complexity of his achievement as a writer in multiple genres makes him a crucial figure in U.S. literature and culture. However, outside the U.S. Charles Brockden Brown is mostly unknown. Thus, you might…
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Grimm’s Fairy Tales – Not at all Children’s- and Household Tales

Grimm’s Fairy Tales – Not at all Children’s- and Household Tales

On December 20, 1812, the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm publish the first Edition of “Kinder- und Hausmärchen” (Children’s and House’s Tales), today better known as Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Besides their political engagement in the uprise of the Göttingen Seven [2] and their work on the definitive German dictionary, it’s the fairy tales what they are known for today. “Mirror, mirror, here I stand. Who is the fairest in the land?” – Gebrüder…
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Abraham a Sancta Clara – “Very Eccentric but Popular”

Abraham a Sancta Clara – “Very Eccentric but Popular”

On December 1, 1709, Abraham a Sancta Clara, Austrian divine, court preacher and author passed away. Born as Johann Ulrich Megerle, he has been described “a very eccentric but popular Augustinian monk” and had earned great reputation for pulpit eloquence, the force and homeliness of his language, the grotesqueness of his humor, and the impartial severity with which he lashed the follies of all classes of society and of the court in particular.…
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The Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson

The Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson

On November 13, 1850, Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer Robert Louis Stevenson was born. A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson wrote famous books such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Stephenson is ranked the 26th most translated author in the world, ahead of fellow nineteenth-century writers Oscar Wilde [1] and Edgar Allan Poe [2]. I don’t know how it is for you,…
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Horace Walpole and the Rise of the Gothic Novel

Horace Walpole and the Rise of the Gothic Novel

On September 24, 1717, English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian, connoisseur, and collector as well as Whig politician Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford was born. Walpole built Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, south-west London, reviving the Gothic style some decades before his Victorian successors. Moreover, he was famous in his day for his medieval horror tale The Castle of Otranto, which initiated the vogue for Gothic romances. He is remembered…
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Primo Levi and the Best Science Book ever Written

Primo Levi and the Best Science Book ever Written

On July 31, 1919, Italian Jewish chemist, writer, and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi was born. As a writer, he is noted for his restrained and moving autobiographical account of and reflections on survival in the Nazi concentration camps. His book The Periodic Table, a collection of short stories published in 1975, and named after the periodic table in chemistry, was named it the best science book ever by the Royal Institution of…
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The Sensibility of Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock

The Sensibility of Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock

On July 2, 1724, German poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock was born. One of his major contributions to German literature was to open it up to exploration outside of French models. Klopstock is considered an important representative of sensibility. “The God who created these fair heavens with the same facility as yon green sapling; he who hath bestowed on man a life of toil, of transient joys and fleeting pains, that he might…
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The Scandalous Love Affairs of George Sand

The Scandalous Love Affairs of George Sand

On July 1, 1804, French novelist and memoirist Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupi better known under her pseudonym George Sand was born. She was one of the most successful female writers of the nineteenth century, but equally well known for her much publicized romantic affairs with a number of artists, including the composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin and the writer Alfred de Musset. “I have an object, a task, let me say the word, a…
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John Arbuthnot and the Laws of Chance

John Arbuthnot and the Laws of Chance

On April 29, 1667, Scottish physician, satirist and polymath John Arbuthnot was baptized. He is best remembered for his contributions to mathematics, his membership in the Scriblerus Club (where he inspired both Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels as well as Alexander Pope), and for inventing the figure of John Bull. He published Of the Laws of Chance (1692), the first work on probability published in English, being his translation of a work by…
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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. he work is written in…
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