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Биографии на известни писатели и личности на АЕ

– AESCHYLUS (525 – 486 BC)

Born in 525 BC at Eleusis, Attica, Aeschylus was a great dramatist whose plays are among the earliest surviving from the Greek tragedy genre. His participation in the Persian Wars and his involvement in Athenian culture most influenced his thinking. His plays took on a highly religious flavor that was to be imitated by many of his predecessors. Aeschylean drama is also characterized by formality and showmanship, apparent in all seven of his surviving plays.

Literature: The Choephori (458 BC), Eumenides (458 BC), The Seven Against Thebes (467 BC).

– AESOP (c. 620 – c. 560 BC)

Aesop was a legendary sixth-Century BC Greek fabulist. He travelled throughout ancient Greece, re-telling his quirky fables in which animals were cast with human characteristics in order to express an accompanying moral. Apparently, Aesop never recorded his fables on paper. However, his work survived through fable collections published by Phaedrus and Babrius in the first Century AD.

Literature: Aesop’s 101 Fables [selected titles] (550 BC).

-ALCOTT, Louisa May (1832 – 1888)

Louisa May Alcott, a famous children’s novelist, was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832. Her family was constantly burdened with financial difficulties, hence, her early life was spent in various odd jobs to help support her family. Alcott turned to writing in hopes of earning more money, and she achieved her long sought-after financial stability with the publication of Little Women in 1868. In addition to the beloved and largely autobiographical Little Women, Alcott published over 270 other titles before her death on March 6, 1888.

Literature: Little Women (1868).

-ANDERSEN, Hans Christian (1805 – 1875)

Born in Odense, Denmark to a poor cobbler, Hans Christian Andersen left home at the age of 14 to seek fame and fortune in the city of Copenhagen. After attending a grammar school, and then Copenhagen University, Andersen’s writings began appearing. His early work included poetry, novels, and plays that showed the influence of the romantic styles of Sir Walter Scott and E.T.A. Hoffman. But, Andersen is best known for his collection of children’s fairy tales, which, over the years, have been translated into hundreds of languages. These include such memorable classics as The Red Shoes, The Ugly Duckling, and The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Literature: Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen [selected titles] (1872).

-ARISTOTLE (384 – 322 BC)

Aristotle is considered one of the most influential thinkers in the history of Western philosophy, surpassed perhaps only by Plato. Born in Stagira in northern Greece, Aristotle inherited a keen talent for observation from his physician father. In 367 BC, Aristotle went to Athens to study in Plato’s Academy. Prepared by the Academy for a career in politics, Aristotle served in the courts of Hermias of Atarneus and Philip II of Macedonia before opening a school of his own – the Lyceum. Aristotle’s Lyceum taught a wider range of subjects than Plato’s Academy, and it was perhaps the first school to emphasize study of the natural sciences. Hence, Aristotle is considered the founder of biology. His system of Aristotelian logic permeates his surviving works. These works include the philosophical enquiries: Categories, Prior and Posterior Analytics, Topics, Physics, Nichomachean Ethics, and Politics. Today Aristotle’s ideas are studied by philosophy students throughout the world.

-ARNOLD, Matthew (1822 – 1888)

Although Matthew Arnold is best known for
collections of poetic works and literary criticisms, he is also recognized for several insightful commentaries on contemporary English society and culture. After graduation from Oxford, Arnold worked as a private secretary for a prominent government official. In 1851, he became an inspector of schools, which was to become his primary occupation for the next 35 years. His poems began appearing in 1849. Among Arnold’s best works are Empedocles on
Etna, Dover Beach, and The Scholar Gipsy. After becoming a professor of poetry at Oxford, Arnold produced literary criticism, including the works: On Translating Homer, and Essays in Criticism. Arnold devoted himself to social criticism and reform in his later life. In such works as St. Paul and Protestantism, and Culture and Anarchy, Arnold attempted to reestablish past glories to the institutions of religion, education, and literature.

-AUGUSTINE [Saint] (354 – 430 AD)

Saint Augustine was a leading figure of the church during an important early era of Christian strengthening. Born in 354 AD in the small town of Thagaste in the Numidia region of the Roman Empire, Augustine received a classical education in Latin literature before moving on to Carthage to be trained in rhetoric. After a religious conversion in 386, he was ordained to the priesthood in Hippo Regius, North Africa. He became a bishop five years later. Saint Augustine’s subsequent career was highlighted by his conflicts with the Donatists, a separtist movement; and with pelagianism, a fifth- Century Christian reform movement. His solutions to such problems and his passionate and eloquent religious writings helped to bring about the unification of Christianity, which later became the dominant religion of Western Europe.

Literature: The Confessions of Saint Augustine (401 AD).

-AUSTEN, Jane (1775 – 1817)

Jane Austen, born Dec. 16, 1775 in Hampshire
England, was one of the most influential fiction writers of her era. Her ability to merge the contemporary fictional themes for both the 18th and 19th Centuries was indeed a remarkable accomplishment. At an early age, Austen wrote rough drafts for three of her six novels : Sense and Sensibility (c. 1795), Pride and Prejudice (c. 1797), and Northanger Abbey (c. 1799). Using Austen’s own money, Sense and Sensibility was published in 1811. After moving to the small
village of Chawton, Austen completed work on three additional novels– Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion. Jane Austen’s work is unsurpassed in wit and social insight into her era. She died on July 18, 1817, leaving a final work, Sanditon, unfinished.

Literature: Sense and Sensibility (1811).

-BACON, Francis (1561 – 1626)

Francis Bacon was an important 16th-Century English philosopher. By the age of twelve, Bacon was already enrolled in Cambridge’s Trinity College, and just eleven years later, he was elected to office in the English government. His parliamentary career was quite successful, perhaps due to the support of the earl of Essex; however, Bacon’s career ended prematurely in 1621 when he was caught accepting bribes. Thus began Bacon’s pursuits in philosophy and science. Bacon proposed an inductive philosophy of nature, in which man attempted to discover the „forms,“ or laws of nature. He recorded these ideas in two major works, On the Dignity and Growth of Sciences, and the New Organon. Due to his efforts, many have called Francis Bacon the father of modern science.

-BAGEHOT, Walter (1826 – 1877)

Walter Bagehot was born on February 3, 1826.
He worked for his family’s banking business for six years before moving on to become editor of the popular periodical, The Economist. Using his prodigious knowledge of England’s economic system, Bagehot wrote perhaps his best work, Lombard Street, in 1873. His additional works include The English Constitution, Physics and Politics, and Economic Studies and Literary Studies.

-BARRIE, [Sir] James Matthew (1860 – 1937)

James M. Barrie was raised in a strict
Scottish family in the small village of Kirriemuir. After attending Edinburgh University, Barrie began what turned out to be a short career in journalism. To make a living, Barrie began writing novels and plays. His big break came with the publication of The Little Minister in 1891. More disposed toward writing dramatic works, Barrie composed the well-known plays Quality Street, the Admiral Crichton, and Dear Brutus. In 1904,
Barrie published what has become his most popular work, Peter Pan. Considered a classic of English children’s literature, today Peter Pan is enjoyed by children all around the world.

Literature : Peter Pan (1904).

-BAUM, Lyman Frank (1856 – 1919)

Frank L. Baum was an American newspaperman who earned success as a writer of children’s books. Baum’s first notable work, Father Goose: His Book, was published in 1899. However, Baum is best known for his imaginative novel, The Wizard of Oz. He went on to write an additional thirteen titles about the magical land of Oz, and in total, he completed 60 different works. The film version of The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland, is one of the most successful films ever made.

Literature: The Wizard of Oz (1900).

-BEHN, Aphra (1640-1689)

The English playwright, Aphra Behn, was the
first European woman to earn success through the stage. However, her life was certainly filled with mystery and intrigue. Born in July of 1640, Behn was raised in a New World colony on Surinam. These early experiences provided material for her popular novel Oroonoko [The History of the Royal Slave]. In 1664, Behn married a Dutch-born merchant. During the ensuing Anglo-Dutch Wars, Behn may have performed spy activities for Charles II. However,
she returned to England in poverty and wound up serving time in debtors’ prison. In subsequent years, Behn wrote more than fifteen successful plays, including her best work The Rover [The Banished Cavaliers].

Literature: Oroonko [The History of the Royal Slave] (1688), The Rover [The Banished Cavaliers] (1677).

-BERKELEY, George (1685 – 1753)

„To be is to be perceived“ – this philosophical
doctrine establishes George Berkeley as one of England’s greatest empiricists. Berkeley studied philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin before moving to the American colonies. His three years there stimulated and influenced the advancement of educational institutions in America. After being appointed bishop at Cloyne in 1734, Berkeley worked hard to
improve the social and economic conditions of Ireland. In his writings, Berkeley advocated a philosophy of idealism–that is, in order for an object to exist, it must be „perceived“ by the mind. This contradicts the philosophy of John Locke–which held that an object can exist, independent from the mind. The arguments of Berkeley, Locke, and a third empiricist, David Hume, have intrigued philosophers throughout the years.

-BRADFORD, William (1590 – 1657)

William Bradford led the original English pilgrim
settlers of the New World’s Plymouth Colony. Born in Yorkshire in 1590, Bradford and his fellow Scrooby separatists moved to Holland in 1608 in search of religious freedom. When they were persecuted in Holland as well, Bradford and his fellow Puritans journeyed aboard the famous Mayflower ship to the New World, and Plymouth Colony was established in 1620. Bradford was unaminously elected the second governor of the fledgling colony after the
sudden death of John Carver. Over the next 30 years, during which he was continuously reelected, Bradford succeeded in maintaining a determined and brave colony while still preserving his original Puritan ideals.

-BROWNING, Elizabeth Barrett (1806 – 1861)

The wife of the English poet Robert Browning,
Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote many notable poetic works during her lifetime. Browning was born in Durham, England in 1806 to a prosperous family. Her spine was injured after a childhood riding accident. The death of her mother and brother and the financial difficulties of her father further deteriorated her health, and as a result, Browning was almost always confined to her bed. In 1826, Browning published Essay on Mind, and Other Poems;
followed by Prometheus Bound, in 1833; The Seraphim, and Other Poems, in 1838 and Poems of E. Barrett, in 1844. These works quickly established her growing reputation. In 1846, she married the still-unknown poet, Robert Browning, and eventually the couple moved to Florence, Italy, where they had a son. Her best work, Sonnets from the Portuguese, was published in 1850. Browning’s final work, Last Poems, was published after her death on June 30, 1861.

Literature: A Musical Instrument (1855), The Sleep (1855), Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850).

-BULWER-LYTTON, Edward George [ Lytton] (1803 – 1873)

The English writer and politician Edward
Bulwer-Lytton was perhaps best known for his 1834 historical novel, The Last Days of Pompeii. Bulwer-Lytton’s other works include Pelham, Reinzi, Kenelm Chillingly, and Richelieu. In addition, Bulwer-Lytton served as colonial secretary as a member of Parliament in 1858. An unhappy and short-lived marriage to an Irish beauty, made against the wishes of his mother, called forth a marvellous literary activity from Lytton as he was forced to earn his living
estranged from his mother’s support. He was made a baronet in 1838, and assumed the surname Lytton in 1843, upon inheriting an estate.

Literature: The Last Days of Pompeii (1834).

-BUNYAN, John (1628 – 1688)

John Bunyan was a devout English Puritan and
a master prose stylist, as indicated by his best known work, Pilgrim’s Progress. Having received little education, Bunyan followed his father’s footsteps and earned a living as a tinker. Bunyan’s heated disagreements with the Quakers on religious interpretation persuaded him to launch a new career as a preacher. However, he was arrested in 1660 for preaching without a license, and as a result,
Bunyan spent the next twelve years in prison. During this period, Bunyan wrote ten books, among which was his autobiography, entitled Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. After his release from prison in 1672, Bunyan began work on his classic Christian allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress. The first part of Pilgrim’s Progress was published in 1678; the second part, in 1684, was followed by the lesser known works, The Life and Death of Mr. Badman and The Holy War.

Literature: Pilgrim’s Progress (1678).

-BURKE, Edmund (1729 – 1797)

The brilliant English statesman, Edmund Burke, is credited with being the first modern conservative thinker. Burke’s early life was devoted to the writing of philosophic essays, including A Vindication of Natural Society and A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. He began his political career as a member of Parliament in the year 1765, where he quickly aligned himself with the Marquess of Rockingham. Throughout his
career, Burke argued for the value of political parties and he defended the interests of the American colonists. However, he forcefully denounced the French Revolution. His most famous essay, Reflections on the Revolution in France, was exceptionally critical of the principles upon which the French Revolution was based.

-BURTON, [Sir] Richard Francis (1821 – 1890)

An adventurer and explorer, Sir Richard Burton is best known for his translation of the imaginative and bawdy Tales of the Arabian Nights. After a childhood spent in Italy and France, Burton attended Oxford University for a short while before embarking on a military career in India. As an explorer, he spent much of his time in the Middle East and Africa. From 1853 to 1855, Burton journeyed to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina and to the forbidden city of Harar. In 1858, he became the first white man to view Lake Tanganyika. As a writer, Burton produced more than twenty books on swordsmanship and falconry, but he is best remembered for his classic translation of The Arabian Nights. Sir Richard Burton died on October 20, 1890.

Literature: The Arabian Nights (1850).

-BUTLER, Samuel (1835 – 1902)

A noted English novelist, Samuel Butler is best known for his rebellious nature and his satirical works. Butler was born into an English clerical family and was expected to join the clergy after his graduation from Cambridge. However, he resisted and traveled to New Zealand to try his hand at sheep farming. Upon returning to England five years later, Butler embarked upon a literary career. His first novel, Erewhon ( which was „nowhere“ spelled backwards) was a satire that described a utopian society, advocating his ideas for societal change. Butler’s
additional works included, The Authoress of the Odyssey, in which he proposed that a woman wrote Homer’s Odyssey, and The Way of All Flesh, an entertaining and critical study of the English middle class.

Literature: The Way of All Flesh (1903).

-BYRON, George Gordon, [Lord] (1788 – 1824)

George Gordon, Lord Byron was perhaps the most celebrated of the English Romantic poets. After publishing the initial cantos of his first work, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, in 1812, Byron became an instant success in England. However a series of scandalous love affairs forced Byron into exile in Switzerland. There he composed additional cantos for Childe Harold, and wrote a dramatic work entitled Manfred. After moving to Venice, Italy, Bryon wrote two classic satirical poems, Beppo, and the Vision of Judgment. In addition, he finished Don Juan, which is considered his greatest work. In January of 1824, while traveling to aid in the Greek struggle for independence, Lord Byron died from a fever.

Literature: Don Juan (1821).

-CARLYLE, Thomas (1795 – 1881)

A Scottish essayist and historian, Thomas Carlyle was one of the most influential of the Victorian writers and lecturers. His work affected such notable authors as Charles Dickens, John Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Carlyle was born in Ecclefechan, Scotland on December 4, 1795 to a Calvinist peasant family. After graduation from the University of Edinburgh, Carlyle tried his hand at several professions,
including journalism, teaching, and law, before settling down to write. His early works included Sartor Resartus, and Past and Present. Although considered classics today, they failed to earn him success. It was not until the 1837 publication of his romantic history The French Revolution that Carlyle was financially rewarded for his efforts. His historical works include works on Cromwell and Frederick the Great. Carlyle also wrote insightful right-wing social commentaries – chief among these were Latter Day Pamphlets, and Shooting Niagara–and After? His work, Reminiscences, was published after his death in February of 1881.

-CARROLL, Lewis (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) (1832 – 1898)

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was born on January 27, 1832–the first of eleven children. He graduated from Christ Church College in Oxford, but he was never ordained to the priesthood. Instead, he stayed on at Christ Church College to lecture on mathematics and to pursue an interest in photography. However, Dodgson is best known as the author of two popular comic-fantasy works; using the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, he wrote the children’s classics Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass.

Literature : Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Through the Looking Glass (1872).

-CATHER, Willa Sibert (1873 – 1947)

Willa Sibert Cather, born in Back Creek Valley,
Virginia on December 7, 1873, is best known for
her depictions of life in the pioneer West. Although she enjoyed a successful journalistic career in the East, Cather was raised in pioneer Nebraska. It was from these early experiences that she was able to write the American Western classics, O Pioneers!, My Antonia, and A Lost Lady. Her achievements were rewarded in 1923 when she won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel, One of Ours.

Literature : O Pioneers! (1913).

-BRONTE, Charlotte (1816 – 1855)

The eldest of three daughters in the Bronte family,
Charlotte grew up in the village of Haworth in Yorkshire, England. Her father, an ordained minister, maintained a restrictive household. Hence, Charlotte and her two younger sisters, Emily and Anne, resorted to writing as a form of release from their introverted lives. Using psuedonyms, the three sisters published ‘“Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell“ in 1846, and Charlotte produced her literary classic Jane Eyre in 1847. Charlotte’s additional
works include Villette and the semi-biographical Shirley. In 1854, Charlotte married the Reverend Arthur Nicholls, but tragically she died in pregnancy just one year later.

Literature: Jane Eyre (1847).

-CELLINI, Benvenuto (1500 – 1571)

Benvenuto Cellini was a noted Italian sculptor
and goldsmith of the High Renaissance, best known for his technical finish. His patrons included Ippolito d’Este, Francis I, Cosimo I de’ Medici, Pope Paul III, and Pope Clement VII. Cellini’s versatility is evident in the variety of his art – from the crafting of a gold and enamel salt celllar to a bust of Cosimo I; to the masterful design of a marble Crucifix. Cellini’s best work is his famous statue of the Greek hero Perseus triumphantly holding aloft the head of Medusa.

-CERVANTES SAAVEDRA, Miguel de (1547 – 1616)

The Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, is world- renowned for his novel Don Quixote. Born on September 29, 1547, in the town of Alcala de Henares, Cervantes devoted a large portion of his life to an unsuccessful career in the military and the government before settling down to write. His comic novel Don Quixote, considered a literary masterpiece, was published in two parts in 1605 and 1615. It cleverly parodies the genre of Spanish chilvalry novels with the often-
unsuccessful adventures of the idealistic knight Don Quixote and his bumbling page, Sancho Panza. In this masterpiece, Cervantes explores the major themes of the human drama. Cervantes’ other popular works include Exemplary Novels, The Travels of Persiles and Sigismunda, and the Interludes of Cervantes.

Literature: Don Quixote (1605-15).

-CHAUCER, Geoffrey (1340 – 1400)

Geoffrey Chaucer is the master regarded as the
greatest early poet in English literature. Born in 1340 to a successful London merchant, Chaucer served briefly in the military before embarking on a civil service career in the English court. In this capacity, Chaucer conducted several diplomatic missions to France and Italy, thereby permitting him to absorb classical French and Italian literature. His early works, including The Book of the Duchess and The
House of Fame, show this influence. Chaucer’s later works include the classic medieval romance, Troilus and Criseyde, and several Latin translations, as well as the famous series of stories, The Canterbury Tales. Geoffrey Chaucer died on October 25, 1400, leaving The Canterbury Tales unfinished.

Literature: The Canterbury Tales (1400).

-DICKENS, Charles John Huffam (1812 – 1870)

The Victorian novelist Charles Dickens is considered one of the greatest English writers of all time. Dickens was born in Portsea, England on February 7, 1812. Deeply affected early in life by his father’s financial difficulties, Dickens was denied formal schooling beyond the age of twelve. By age fifteen, he was working as a law clerk in order to support himself. These early experiences found their way into his writing, as can be seen in the Pickwick Papers and David Copperfield. In
1836, Dickens became the editor of a monthly magazine, Bentley’s Miscellany. Installments of the Dickens’ classics Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby soon found their way into Bentley’s. Dickens married Catherine Hogarth in 1836, and although they raised ten children together, the marriage was ill-fated, and the couple separated in 1858. In the meantime, Dickens began writing for the weekly magazine Master Humphrey’s Clock, for which he produced The Old Curiosity Shop, Barnaby Rudge, and A Christmas Carol. Additional works include Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. Dickens travelled to the United States on a lecture tour. Dickens was still working on The Mystery of Edwin Drood when he passed away on June 9, 1870.

Literature : Ivy Green (1850), Tale of Two Cities (1859).

-CHURCHILL, [Sir] Winston Leonard Spencer (1874 – 1965)

An important British politician and writer,
Winston Churchill is best known for his leadership role during World War II. Churchill was born on November 30, 1874–the third son of Lord Randolph Churchill and Jennie Jerome. Churchill attended the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and served shortly in the British army before embarking on an extensive political career. Following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain, Churchill became prime minister
on May 10, 1940. Throughout his term, Churchill’s strength of will symbolized England’s pride and resilience. This pride is demonstrated in his famous „Retreat from Flanders“ speech. Churchill’s notable writings include The World Crisis, My Early Life, Marlborough, and The Second World War. He was honored with the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953. Winston Churchill died on January 24, 1965.

Literature: The Retreat from Flanders [We Shall Defend Our Island Whatever the Cost] (1940).

-COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor (1772 – 1834)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an influential
English poet, philosopher, and essayist. Born on October 21, 1772, Coleridge was educated at London’s Christ’s Hospital before entering Cambridge. He moved to Somerset in 1797 where he quickly became close friends with the poet William Wordsworth. The two collaborated to compose the Lyrical Ballads, for which Coleridge contributed his poems, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christabel, and Kubla Khan. His later life was constrained by his addiction to the drug
opium. Nevertheless, Coleridge still found the strength to write the literary classics, Dejection: An Ode, and Biographia Literaria. Samuel Taylor Coleridge died on July 25, 1834.

Literature: Christabel (1798), Kubla Kahn (1798), The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798).

-CONFUCIUS (551 – 479 BC)

Confucius was a fourth-Century BC Chinese
scholar and philosopher who is credited with the founding of Confucianism. In early life, Confucius served in a variety of small government positions, and he was able to attain a relatively high position as minister of justice later in life. Confucius is best known for his teachings on ethics and social philosophy. His three philosophical doctrines of benevolence, the superior man, and ritual propriety have thoroughly influenced Chinese society since his day. His ideas were recorded into
three books – The Analects, The Book of Rites, and The Spring and Autumn Annals.

Literature: Confucian Analects (500 BC).

-CORNEILLE, Pierre (1606 – 1684)

Pierre Corneille was a well-known French
dramatist who is considered the founder of French dramatic tragedy. Born on June 6, 1606, Corneille received a Jesuit education before preparing for a career in politics. He joined the Rouen parliament in 1629, and eventually served in government for more than twenty years. His early plays, mainly comedic works, include Melite and La Place Royale. Corneille went on to author more than thirty additional
plays in his lifetime. His first masterpiece, Le Cid, was composed in 1637. Le Cid was followed by the equally celebrated works, Horace, Cinna, and Polyeucte. These four plays, considered his greatest achievements, define the essence of the Cornelian tragedy. Among Corneille’s final works were the minor classics Theodore, Pulcherie, and Surena. Corneille died on October 1, 1684. Today, Corneille, along with his contemporary, Jean Racine, are considered the greatest of the French tragedians.

Literature: Polyeucte (1637).

-COWLEY, Abraham (1618 – 1667)

Abraham Cowley was a popular 17th-Century metaphysical poet. His poetry, although considered relatively minor today, had an influence on later English literature. Cowley’s first work, Poetical Blossoms, was written when he was just fifteen. His additional poetic accomplishments included the Mistress; an imitation of John Donne, which may have been his best work, and Miscellanies, a collection of fifteen odes. In addition, Cowley produced several critical essays, among which were the well-known works, Of Myself and Of Agriculture.

Literature: Cheer Up, My Mates (1650), Drinking (1650), Of Agriculture (1650), On the Death of Mr. William Hervey (1650), A Supplication (1650).

-DARWIN, Charles Robert (1809 – 1882)

Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury,
England on February 12, 1809. After graduating from Christ Church College of Cambridge University, Darwin participated in a five year geological expedition to South America. In the Galapagos Islands he made a series of important geological and biological observations. In particular, Darwin noted the diversity of life on the geographically similar islands. On his return to England, Darwin
published his research findings in The Journal of Researches. However, it was not until 1856 that he began work on his theory of natural selection. In 1858 he presented a joint paper along with Alfred Russel Wallace, who had independently arrived at many of the same theories, and in November of 1859, Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. The impact of this work on the natural sciences was monumental. Indeed, the consequent series of debates and research to test Darwin’s theory revolutionized the study of biology, and created whole new branches of scientific inquiry.

Literature: The Descent of Man (1871), The Origin of Species (1859).

-DEFOE, Daniel (1660 – 1731)

An important English novelist and
pamphleteer, Daniel Defoe is best known for his novel Robinson Crusoe. A series of unsuccessful business ventures in his early life plagued Defoe with heavy debts, so he turned to writing fiction novels in order to earn a living. Defoe initially produced pamphlets of political and economic satire, including The True-Born Englishman and The Shortest Way
with Dissenters. However, his success with The True Relation of the Apparition of One Mrs. Veal impelled him toward writing works of fiction. In subsequent years, Defoe wrote Moll Flanders and Colonel Jack, as well as the children’s classic, Robinson Crusoe. Defoe died on April 24, 1731.

Literature: Robinson Crusoe (1719).

-DEKKER, Thomas (1572 – 1632)

Thomas Dekker was a 16th-Century English dramatist, pamphleteer, and poet. Although he was quite prolific, Dekker’s plays were almost always financially unsuccessful, and he often found himself serving time in debtors’ prison. Nonetheless, Dekker produced several notable works during his lifetime. Among his dramatic works were the classics Old Fortunatas, Westward Ho!, and his most powerful work, The Honest Whore. Perhaps his most popular play was the comedic classic, The Shoemakers’ Holiday. Dekker’s pamphlets, which often took London’s lower working classes as their subject, included The Gull’s Hornbook, The Bellman of London, and Lanthorne and Candlelight. Dekker also composed several noteworthy poems.

Literature: Cold’s the Wind (1600), Country Glee (1600), O Sweet Content (1600).

-DESCARTES, Rene (1596 – 1650)

Regarded as the father of modern philosophy
and one of the greatest philosophers of all time, Rene Descartes revolutionized not only the study of philosophy, but also algebra and geometry. Descartes, born in Touraine, France on March 31, 1596, was provided with a traditional Jesuit education in Aristotelian philosophy. After graduation from the University of Poitiers, he embarked on a short military career before he settled down to work on
contemporary issues in mathematics and philosophy. Descartes’s achievements in mathematics were indeed significant–his most important contribution being the development of the Cartesian coordinate system. In 1628, Descartes was encouraged by the Cardinal Pierre de Berulle to develop his own philosophical system. In his work, Descartes aspired toward two main goals–establishment of a physical foundation for the universe based on the Copernican system, and creation of a systematic method for finding the truth. In his philosophical enquiries, he explored the dualism of the mind and the body, and developed the first indubitably true proposition, „cogito ergo sum“ or „I think, therefore I am.“ He published his ideas in three major works, The Discourse on Method, The Meditations on First Philosophy, and The Principles of Philosophy.

-DONNE, John (1572 – 1631)

John Donne was the greatest English
metaphysical poet of all time. Born in 1572 to a prominent Roman Catholic family, Donne attended Oxford and Cambridge in preparation for a career in law and politics. He eventually served as secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, a distinguished member of Parliament. However, Egerton disapproved of his secret marriage to his niece, Anne More, and Egerton quickly had Donne’s political career ruined. Turning to
the Anglican church, after much hesitation Donne became a minister in 1615, and by 1621 he was appointed the dean of Saint Paul’s Cathedral. His poetry ranges in subject from passionate love to religious devotion and uses language to its highest degree of wit and brilliance. Almost all of Donne’s poetry was published after his death on March 31, 1631. Among the classic works are The Good Morrow, Sweetest Love, I Do Not Go, A Hymn to God the Father, and A Valediction Forbidding Mourning.

-DREISER, Theodore Herman Albert (1871 – 1945)

Theodore Dreiser was a popular American author
best known for his novels An American Tragedy and Sister Carrie. Born in Terre Haute, Indiana on August 27, 1871, Dreiser attended Indiana University for a year before attempting a career in journalism. Dreiser published his first work, Sister Carrie, in 1900. However, Sister Carrie was considered a comparably immoral work, and it eventually sold only 456 copies. Although discouraged by the public ‘s reaction to Sister
Carrie, Dreiser continued to write, publishing Jennie Gerhardt, The Financier, The Genius, and several other titles. Success, however, did not come for Dreiser until the release of An American Tragedy in 1925. Consider by many to be the best American novel of the era, An American Tragedy earned Dreiser long sought-after wealth and recognition.

Literature : Sister Carrie (1900).

-BRONTE, Emily (1818 – 1848)

Emily Bronte, the younger sister of Charlotte, is known for her only Gothic classic novel, Wuthering Heights. The Reverend Patrick Bronte, Emily’s father, was an ordained Anglican minister who maintained a sheltered household. As a release from the day-to-day unhappiness of their lives, Emily, Charlotte, and another sister, Anne, turned to writing. „Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell“ was published by the three in 1846. Emily’s masterpiece, Wuthering Heights, an intense and powerful tale of love and revenge set in the wilds of Yorkshire was published a year later. Emily Bronte died on December 19, 1848.

Literature: Wuthering Heights (1847).

-ELIOT, George [Mary Anne Evans] (1819 – 1880)

George Eliot, the pseudonym used by Mary Anne
Evans, was one of the great English novelists of the Victorian era. Born in Warwickshire on November 22, 1819, Eliot was a devout Christian in her early childhood. She eventually rejected Christianity for a philosophic humanism. Materialist and humanist themes can be found in her work. After her father’s death in 1849, Eliot moved to London and became editor of The Westminister Review,
which she quickly restored to its past glories. Soon afterwards, she became involved in a relationship with a married man, George Henry Lewes. Encouraged by Lewes to write works of fiction, Eliot published Scenes of Clerical Life, Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, and Silas Marner. Following the success of her first novels, Eliot proceeded to write her masterpiece of Victorian realism, Middlemarch. Today, the novel Middlemarch is considered a classic exposition of the Victorian era.

Literature: Silas Marner (1861).

-FIELDING, Henry (1707 – 1754)

Henry Fielding, an 18th-Century English
playwright, novelist, and essayist, is best known for his classic novel, Tom Jones. Born on April 22, 1707, Fielding attended Eton and Leyden University before embarking on a career as a dramatist. Plays such as Love in Several Masques, Tom Thumb, and Pasquin quickly made Fielding one of England’s most successful playwrights. However, Pasquin was
severely critical of the statesman Sir Robert Walpole. As a result, the government banned Fielding from producing any further dramatic works. He then turned to other forms of literature. Fielding wrote several political essays, including The Champion, The True Patriot, and Jacobite’s Journal. However, Fielding’s best work found form in his novels–Shamela, Joseph Andrews, Jonathan Wild, and of course, his famous novel, The History of Tom Jones. In failing health, Fielding traveled to Lisbon in 1754, seeking relief from his ailments. He died on October 8, 1754.

Literature : The History of Tom Jones (1749).

-FRANKLIN, Benjamin (1706 – 1790)

Benjamin Franklin was a famous American writer,inventor, and politician. Born into a devout Puritan family in Boston, Franklin received just two years of schooling before beginning work for his father. However, his intellectual fires could not be contained, and he tried to read every book he could get his hands on. By the age of sixteen, Franklin was writing articles for The New England Courant under the pseudonym Silence Dogood. His political satires angered government officials, and when his brother was
arrested for similar offenses in 1723, he fled to Philadelphia, and then to London. There Franklin learned his craft as a master printer. Upon his return to America, he purchased The Pennsylvania Gazette and began publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack, filling the pages with wise and popular sayings. With his 1751 appointment to the Pennsylvania Assembly, Franklin embarked upon a turbulent forty-year political career. Although initially in favor of reconciliation with mother England, Franklin realized that revolution was inevitable and he played a vital diplomatic role during the war for independence. Franklin organized French assistance to America and signed the Treaty of Paris at the end of the war. Franklin was the inventor of many practical items such as an indoor stove, spectacles, and lightening rods for buildings. He conducted some of the first experiments with lightening and electricity, proving they are the same thing. A cheerful and optimistic figure to the very end, Benjamin Franklin died on April 17, 1790 at the age of 84.

Literature: Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1771).

-FROISSART, Jean (1337 – 1405)

Jean Froissart, a 14th-Century French historian and poet, is best known for his medieval historical work, Chronicles of Froissart. Significant for its treatment of the concepts of chivalry, Chronicles of Froissart provides vivid accounts of European historical events between 1325 and 1400, a period known for the Hundred Years’ War. Although modern historians consider Froissart’s work biased and inaccurate, it remains a valued source for knowledge of the medieval era.

Literature: Chronicles of Froissart (1405).

-GOLDSMITH, Oliver (1730 – 1774)

The Irish poet and playwright Oliver Goldsmith is best known for his classic works The Traveller and The Deserted Village. Born in Kilkenny West, Ireland on November 10, 1730, Goldsmith moved to London in 1756 and embarked on a career as a professional writer. Unfortunately, Goldsmith’s early works were not successful, and he was often plagued by monetary problems. Goldsmith eventually earned recognition in 1764 with the release of
The Traveller. He followed with two successful dramatic works, The Good-Natured Man, and She Stoops To Conquer. Commenting on the social injustices which forced the poor of Ireland to emigrate to America, he wrote his most famous piece, The Deserted Village, in 1770.

Literature: The Deserted Village (1770), Retaliation (1760), She Stoops To Conquer (1773), The Traveller [A Prospect of Society] (1764), When Lovely Woman Stoops (1760).

-HARDY, Thomas (1840 -1928)

The respected English novelist Thomas Hardy
is best known for his classics The Return of the Native, and Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Born on June 2, 1840 in Upper Bockhampton, Dorset, Hardy developed a love for literature at a very young age, enthusiastically absorbing many of the Latin classics as well as the English Bible. Hardy journeyed to London in 1862, where he was exposed to contemporary English literature. He was also introduced to Darwin’s Origin of Species. These experiences shaped his own
literary works. Returning home to Bockhampton, Hardy produced several minor works before publishing his powerful Far from the Madding Crowd in 1874. Four years later, he wrote his potent tragi-comedy, The Return of the Native. Hardy followed with The Mayor of Casterbridge and Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Although Hardy’s work was held in high esteem, critics carped at the brooding pessimism of his novels and attacked Tess, and Jude the Obscure, so virulently that Hardy concentrated on poetry until his death on January 11, 1928.

Literature: Far from the Madding Crowd (1874).

-HERBERT, George (1593 – 1633)

George Herbert, the English metaphysical poet,is known for his collection of poetry, The Temple. Born on April 3, 1593 in Montgomery, Wales, Herbert was raised by his strongly religious mother, whose piety was to influence him throughout the rest of his life. After receiving a master’s degree from Trinity College, Herbert decided to compose only poetry dealing with religion. There were some
exceptions, but Herbert mostly abided by this promise. In 1620, Herbert accepted a position as Latin Orator at Cambridge. He married Jane Danvers in 1629, and was ordained to the priesthood the following year. In ill health, Herbert died on March 1, 1633. Herbert’s collection of poetry, The Temple, was published posthumously.

Literature: The Collar, Easter Song, The Elixir, The Flower, Love, The Pulley, Virtue.

-IRVIBSEN, Henrik Johan (1828 – 1906)

The 19th-Century Norwegian poet and playwright Henrik Ibsen is best known for his classic works The Wild Duck and A Doll’s House. Born on March 20, 1828 in Skien, Norway, Ibsen was raised in relative poverty after his father’s financial hardships forced bankruptcy. After failing to obtain admittance to a medical school, Ibsen turned to a career in journalism. Writing poetry and drama in his spare time, Ibsen’s break came in 1851 when he was appointed director of the Norwegian Theater in Oslo.
He served in this position for the next eleven years, writing plays in an intense, romantic style on historical themes, in the manner of Schiller. Ibsen married Suzannah Thoresen in 1858, and beginning in 1864, the couple lived abroad, mainly in Rome, Dresden, and Munich. During this time, Ibsen composed several notable romantic poems, including Brand, and Peer Gynt. Starting in 1875, Ibsen made a transition from romantic to realistic writing, using themes of social realism and symbolism. In his later works, including A Doll’s House, Ghosts, The Master Builder, Hedda Gabbler, and The Wild Duck, Ibsen successfully injected realistic everyday language into his prose style. These powerful works lay the foundation for realism in modern drama.

Literature : Peer Gynt (1875).

-ING, Washington (1783 – 1859)

Although he was heavily influenced by the
English writers Joseph Addison, Oliver Goldsmith, and Sir Walter Scott, Washington Irving is considered to be America’s first man of letters. Born on April 3, 1783 in New York City, Irving attempted to study law in his early years, but he eventually turned to literature. He completed his first work, Salmagundi Papers, in 1808, and followed with the boisterous and satirical, A History of New York, in 1809. It was not until 1820, however, that Washington
Irving received world-wide recognition with the publication of The Sketch-Book. The Sketch-Book was considered witty and light literature. In it Irving contributed to American folk literature the classic and enduring tales of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and the story of Rip Van Winkle, which were based on the Dutch history of Irving’s home in the Hudson River Valley. Irving’s next two works, Bracebridge Hall, and Tales of a Traveller were drawn from his travels in France and Germany. In an attempt to broaden his literary scope, Irving published the relatively more serious works, History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, and A Chronicle of Granada. After serving as a U.S. minister to Spain, Irving went on to complete a biography of George Washington before his death on November 28, 1859. His house, Sunnyside, in Westchester County, New York, is kept as a museum.

Literature: The Alhambra (1832), The Sketch Book [selections] (1820).

-JAMES, Henry (1843 – 1916)

Born in New York City, novelist Henry James was
raised by a rich eccentric father who emigrated to Europe and travelled widely. As a result, Henry became fluent in French and many other languages. His brilliant literary talents were demonstrated when he published his first work at the age of 21. He grew to love Europe and eventually lived there after two years of productive work in New York. Leaving French society, he moved to London and produced his much-admired short novel, Daisy Miller, in 1878, and continued to work on The Portrait of a
Lady (1881), in which he probes the shadier aspects of European politics. James knew most of the important European writers and artists of his day, including Flaubert, de Maupassant, Zola, Tennyson, Browning and George Eliot. A few dramatic works he produced between 1882 and 1895 failed, but James wrote several successful short fictions and long novels, including what may be his masterpiece, The Golden Bowl. His 1903 novel, The Ambassadors, and James’ voluminous letters provide an important picture of the contemporary Anglo-French cultural scene. He is considered a writer’s writer and the master of the psychological novel; an expert in delineating characters and in exploring European sociocultural complexities. He is admired today as he was by many of the literary geniuses that followed him.

Literature : The Portrait of a Lady (1881), Washington Square (1880).

-JEFFERSON, Thomas (1743 – 1826)

The son of a wealthy landowner, Jefferson was was one of the greatest statesmen in American history. He also contributed to advances in agriculture, engineering and architecture. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1762. As the primary author of the Declaration of Independence Jefferson’s legacy of political philosophy to the U.S. is invaluable. At one time Jefferson held each of the important positions in the American political system: he was governor of Virginia (1779-1781), U.S. minister to France in 1785,
secretary of state to George Washington, vice-president to John Adams, and president of the United States from 1801-1809. His enormous contributions to the American legislature included his bills on religious liberty, and Notes on the Establishment of a Money Unit. Retiring from the political arena, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, of which he was very proud.

Literature: Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson (1821), Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address (1801), Letters (1760-83), Notes on Virginia (1787), Public Papers (1776-1825), Travel Journals (1788).

-KIPLING, Rudyard (1865 – 1936)

Born in Bombay, India and educated in England,
Kipling was a famed English writer. He was very popular for his books for children, the two Jungle Books; and for poems and short stories that glorify British colonialism. He was the first English writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907. Kipling gained a reputation as a humorist with The Village That Voted the Earth Was Flat. In Puck of Pook’s Hill, and Rewards and Fairies, he expressed his love of
England’s past. His collections of verse, including Barrack-Room Ballads, The Seven Seas and The Five Nations display a great range of technical achievement and a variety of subject matter.

Literature : The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901).

-LONDON, Jack [John Griffith] (1876 – 1916)

London, whose life symbolized the power of will,
was the most successful writer in America in the early 20th Century. His vigorous stories of men and animals against the environment, and survival against hardships were drawn mainly from his own experience. An illegitimate child, London passed his childhood in poverty in the Oakland slums. At the age of 17, he ventured to sea on a sealing ship. The turning point of his life was a thirty-day imprisonment that was
so degrading it made him decide to turn to education and persue a career in writing. His years in the Klondike searching for gold left their mark in his best short stories; among them, The Call of the Wild, and White Fang. His best novel, The Sea-Wolf, was based on his experiences at sea. His work embraced the concepts of unconfined individualism and Darwinism in its exploration of the laws of nature. He retired to his ranch near Sonoma, where he died at age 40 of various diseases and drug treatments.

Literature : The Call of the Wild (1903), The Iron Heel (1907), The People of the Abyss (1905), The Sea-Wolf (1904), White Fang (1906).

-MANZONI, Alessandro Francesco Tommaso Antonio (1785 – 1873)

Considered the father of the modern Italian novel,
Alessandro Manzoni was born on March 7, 1785 into an aristocratic family. After receiving a formal education in Italy, he traveled to Paris, where his mother resided with her lover, Count Carlo Imbonati. In 1808, Manzoni married Henriette Blondel, and two years later, he returned to the Catholic church. Religious matters were to dominate his writing. His early works included several notable
poems–five Inni sacri [Sacred Hymns] and the poem Cinque Maggio [The Fifth of May]. But his best work found form in the novel I promessi sposi [The Betrothed], first published in 1827.

Literature : I Promessi Sposi [The Betrothed] (1827).

-MELVILLE, Herman (1819 – 1891)

Although he suffered through obscurity in his own time, Herman Melville is today regarded as one of America’s greatest literary figures. Born in New York City on August 1, 1819, Melville was forced to leave school early in order to help support his family. Working as a mariner, Melville gathered material from his many seafaring experiences for his literary works. After deserting from a whaling expedition in the South Seas, he enlisted in the United States Navy and returned
to America to embark on a literary career. His early works, Typee and Omoo, enjoyed moderate success, but his third endeavor, Mardi, turned out to be a complete disaster. After completing Redburn and White-Jacket, Melville moved his family to Massachusetts, where he developed a lasting friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne. In 1851, Melville published Moby Dick, dedicating his novel to Hawthorne. However, his unconventional masterpiece was not received well in literary circles. Nevertheless, he went on to write several more works–Benito Cereno, The Confidence Man, and Billy Budd. Melville died on September 28, 1891. Renewed interest in his work has brought Melville worldwide prestige after his death.

Literature: Moby Dick [The Whale] (1851), Billy Budd (1889).

-TWAIN, Mark (1835 – 1910)

The American novelist, satirist, and humorist Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, exerted a major influence on early 20th-Century American fiction. Born in Florida, on November 30, 1835, Twain had held various jobs as a printer, gold prospector, sailor, and correspondent before setting his full attention on literature. Twain wrote social satire and humorous adventure stories about
his early life on the Mississippi River, and stories of his travels around the country and the world. Affected by the loss of his daughter and his wife at the end of his life, Twain turned to pessimistic and scathing writings about human nature. Mark Twain died on April 21, 1910, leaving some of the world’s most famous works for children in the stories of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, and the short story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

Literature : The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), The Prince and the Pauper (1881).

-ORCZY, [Baroness] Emmuska (1865 – 1947)

Baroness Emmuska Orczy, a noted female British novelist, is best known as the author of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Born in Hungary on September 23, 1865, Orczy was the only child of the famous composer Baron Felix Orczy. Recognition of her literary achievements came in 1905 with the publication of The Scarlet Pimpernel–an engrossing tale detailing the adventures of Sir Percy Blakeney, a swashbuckling Englishman who courageously rescues innocent victims of the French Revolution from the guillotine. Orczy followed this success with sequels entitled, The Elusive Pimpernel, and The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Literature: The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905).

-SHAKESPEARE, William (1564 – 1616)

Shakespeare, the famed English dramatist and poet, is widely considered the most gifted literary figure of all time. The son of a glover and leather merchant, little is known of his early life. Shakespeare was baptized in Holy Trinity Church in 1564, and probably attended Stratford grammar school. He acted, and wrote plays for the London theaters for many years. His two narrative poems, Venus and Adonis, and The Rape of Lucrece, were published between 1593 and 1594. A collection of his plays, known as the
First Folio, was published in 1623 by John Heminge and Henry Condell. Shakespeare is widely admired for his dramatic technique of depicting his characters in webs of psychological complexity. His plays were greatly appreciated during the early 17th Century and are still performed today. In addition to plays, Shakespeare wrote many of the best sonnets and love poetry ever written in any language. His body of work contains an astonishing 36 plays, 154 sonnets, and 2 narrative poems.

-SHELLEY, Mary Wollstonecraft (1797 – 1851)

Born on August 30, 1797, daughter of a political hilosopher, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was a women’s rights advocate who achieved fame as the author of Frankenstein (1818), a novel whose popularity as a horror tale has eclipsed its philosophical content. She married Percy Bysshe Shelley and bore him four children, of whom only one survived. The marriage brought Mary Shelley into contact with many outstanding writers of the period, including Byron. Upon the death of her husband, Mary Shelley devoted
herself to her child and to literary work. After returning to England (1823), she edited Shelley’s works and her own journals and letters. Her works include History of a Six Weeks Tour (1817), The Last Man (1826), and the autobiographical Lodore (1835).

Literature: Frankenstein [The Modern Prometheus] (1818).

-STOKER, Bram (1847 – 1912)

Bram Stoker, a Scottish novelist, was born in
Dublin, Scotland on November 8, 1847. Although he was the author of many horror stories, Stoker is best known for his most potent story, Dracula (1897). The gothic romance, which is based on vampire myths and on the occurence of supernatural phenomenon, became the prototype of all subsequent vampire stories. Many plays and films have been developed from the story of Dracula.

Literature: Dracula (1897).

-VERNE, Jules (1828 – 1905)

Verne, a 19th-Century French novelist, almost single-handedly invented science fiction. The publication of Five Weeks in a Balloon revealed his talent for stories of imaginary journeys. The concept of a submarine was mentioned in his Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, in 1870, and that of a rocket in From the Earth to the Moon, in 1865. Despite his education in law, he pursued a writing career. He was very talented at creating fantasy journeys and at mixing science with humor. Popular films have been made from several of his adventure novels such as Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days.
Literature included in WLH : Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (1873).

-WALLACE, Lewis (1827-1905)

Born on April 10, 1827, in the town of Brookville,
Ind., Wallace devoted a large part of his life to his career as an eminent soldier and diplomat. With somewhat of a reputation as a Biblical scholar, Wallace is best known as the author of historical novels such as Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880), a popular novel about figures in the Roman world affected by the coming of Christ. Wallace wrote other historical novels as well. The Fair God, (1873) concerns the conquest of Mexico; and Prince of India (1893)
deals with the fall of Constantinople. His most successful novel, Ben Hur, was made into two popular movies in 1925 and 1959, and has attracted many viewers and readers over time.

Literature : Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880).

– WILDE, [Fingal O’Flahertie Wills] Oscar (1854 -1900)

Wilde, an Irish writer, gained both fame and notoriety in his time. Born into a family with a tradition of writing, he showed early promise as a classical scholar and poet. At Trinity College, Dublin, he won the Berkeley Gold Medal for Greek, and prestigious Newdigate Prize for his poem Ravenna. His early works were influenced by John Ruskin and Walter Pater, but by 1890, he had developed his own literary personality. Known for his biting wit and humor, and his fascinating conversation, Wilde produced essays, poems, plays, fairy tales, novels, and gave a lecture tour in the United States. Wilde rose to prominence with his brilliant theatrical comedies, including the hilarious The Importance of Being Earnest (1893), Lady Windermere’s Fan, and Salome (which was banned in Britain). As a wit, his aphorisms were widely quoted in society. At the peak of his career, he was convicted of sodomy when he had a homosexual affair with the son of a nobleman. Wilde received a sentence of two years hard labor, and composed his poem, „The Ballad of Reading Gaol“ and the autobiographical essay, De Profundis.

Literature: The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), The Burden of Itys (1890), Flower or Love (1890), Humanitad (1890), Panthea (1890), The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), Ravenna (1878), Wild Flowers (1890).


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