literature

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. “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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