literature

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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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 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known under his pen name Lewis Carroll, creator of the stories about ‘Alice in Wonderland‘, was born. With his ability for pun, logic and fantasy he managed to captivate a wide audience. His works, known as nonsense literature, have remained popular to this day and have influenced not only children’s literature, but also writers such as James Joyce, surrealists…
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Wicked Lord Byron’s Wonderful Poetry

Wicked Lord Byron’s Wonderful Poetry

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 Beauty“. Anyway, Byron is considered one of the greatest British…
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George Orwell’s Opposition to Totalitarism

George Orwell’s Opposition to Totalitarism

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. “We are in a strange period of history in which a revolutionary has to be a patriot and a patriot has to be…
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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. The Suspicious Bordereau…
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Isaac Asimov and the Three Laws of Robotics

Isaac Asimov and the Three Laws of Robotics

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. The Three Laws of Robotics 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 given to it by human…
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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. Early Years John Bunyan was born in the parish of Elstow, Bedfordshire, UK, to Thomas…
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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 his novels…
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Russian Polymath Mikhail Lomonosov

Russian Polymath Mikhail Lomonosov

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. Family Background…
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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). Youth and Education 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…
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