literature

The World of Dr. Seuss

The World of Dr. Seuss

On March 2, 1904, American writer and illustrator Theodor Seuss Geisel was born, better known under his pen name Dr. Seuss. He is best known for authoring popular children’s books, among them several of the most popular children’s books of all time, selling over 600 million copies and being translated into more than 20 languages by the time of his death. That plain little turtle below in the stack, That plain little turtle whose name…
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Karl May’s Fantastic Adventures

Karl May’s Fantastic Adventures

On February 25, 1842, German writer of adventure novels Karl May was born. He is probably best known for his novels set in the American Old West with their main protagonists Winnetou and Old Shatterhand. Likewise he wrote similar popular adventures set in the Orient and Middle East in which the main protagonists were Kara Ben Nemsi and Hadschi Halef Omar. Being an efficient author and salesman, he often staged himself as…
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Johann Heinrich Voss’ Translations

Johann Heinrich Voss’ Translations

On February 20, 1751, German poet and translator Johann Heinrich Voss was born. He is probably best known for his translation of Homer‘s Odyssey (1781) and Iliad (1793) into German. He also undertook, with his sons, a translation of Shakespeare which was completed in nine volumes in 1829, but this translation cannot stand a comparison with Schlegel‘s.[1] Being a native German, I know Homer‘s works only in the translation by Voss, and…
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Georg Büchner – Forerunner of Naturalism and Expressionism

Georg Büchner – Forerunner of Naturalism and Expressionism

On February 19, 1837, German dramatist, revolutionary, natural scientist, and writer Georg Büchner passed away at age 23. His literary achievements, though few in number, are generally held in great esteem in Germany and it is widely believed that, had it not been for his early death, he might have joined such central German literary figures as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe [5] and Friedrich Schiller [6] at the summit of their profession. I admit, I…
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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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Clark Ashton Smith – The Last of the Great Romantics

Clark Ashton Smith – The Last of the Great Romantics

On January 13, 1893, self-educated American poet, sculptor, painter Clark Ashton Smith was born. Smith achieved recognition as author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. As a poet, Smith is grouped with the West Coast Romantics alongside Ambrose Bierce, Joaquin Miller, Sterling, Nora May French, and remembered as “The Last of the Great Romantics” and “The Bard of Auburn“. Together with Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft Smith was…
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Baltasar Gracian and the Art of Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian and the Art of Wisdom

On January 8, 1601, Spanish Jesuit and baroque prose writer and philosopher Baltasar Gracián y Morales was born. He is best known as the leading Spanish exponent of conceptism (conceptismo), a style of dealing with ideas that involves the use of terse and subtle displays of exaggerated wit. His writings were lauded by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.[7] “If you cannot make knowledge your servant, make it your friend.” — Baltasar Gracian, The Art of…
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Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s ‘The Physicists’

Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s ‘The Physicists’

On January 5, 1921, Swiss author and dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt was born. Dürrenmatt was a proponent of epic theatre whose plays reflected the recent experiences of World War II. The politically active author‘s work included avant-garde dramas, philosophical crime novels, and macabre satire. Especially his play “The Physicists” (1961) deals with questions of scientific ethics and humanity‘s ability to handle its intellectual responsibilities. “A story is not finished, until it has taken…
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Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Grimm’s Fairy 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 and their work on the definitive German dictionary, it’s the fairy tales what they are known for today. Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm was born on 4 January 1785 and his brother Wilhelm…
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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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