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Category: Authors Archives

Leo Tolstoy: A Key to the Russian Heart

AuthorsClassic Literature
Leo Tolstoy: A Key to the Russian Heart

Everyone’s heard of Leo Tolstoy. But exactly who was this acclaimed Russian author? In a BBC broadcast on October 1st, 1939, Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said that Russia “is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.” While Churchill argued that the key was national interest, perhaps he wasn’t digging deep enough. Just like the wooden matryoshka dolls Russia is so famous for, we too must remove the outer layers of geopolitics to get to the metaphysical core of what truly makes Russia tick. And what better way to explore the seed of the Russian […]

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The Woman Who Gave Birth To Frankenstein: A Brief Mary Shelley Biography

AuthorsClassic LiteratureNovel Knowledge
Mary Shelley biography blog post feature image

It isn’t only the music industry that has “one-hit wonders.” Believe it or not, some of the most respected authors in the Western Canon only have one chef-d’œuvre to their name. Just a few novelists who have cemented their literary reputation with just one book include: Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time In today’s post, we’ll be taking a look at the author Mary Shelley and her enduring one-hit wonder: Frankenstein. Shelley may not have as much critical caché as some of the other authors mentioned above, but who could deny […]

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A Very Charles Dickens Valentine

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Charles Dickens romantic quote, A Tale of Two Cities

Happy Valentine’s Day! What better way to celebrate the holiday of love than with a poignant quote from one of our favorite authors, Charles Dickens? This romantic quote comes from what is perhaps Dickens’ most acclaimed work, A Tale of Two Cities. This now-famous novel was first published in serial form in Dickens’ own literary magazine, All the Year Round, from April to November 1859. Set in both London and Paris in the years leading up to the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities is a classic blend of Dickens’ favorite subjects: poverty, social class, romance, and coming of age. It’s […]

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Hans Christian Andersen: The Great Dane

AuthorsChildren's BooksClassic Literature
Hans Christian Andersen blog image Copenhagen Denmark

If you’ve ever taken a trip to Copenhagen, you’ve probably strolled through Assistens Cemetery. This famous area serves as the final resting place for some of Denmark’s finest minds. Just a few luminaries buried here include philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, artist Christen Købke, and physicist Niels Bohr. But most visitors to Assistens Cemetery only want to see one site: the grave of the beloved children’s author Hans Christian Andersen. Tomb of Hans Christian Andersen by Stefano Bolignini, via Wikimedia Commons With the possible exception of Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet, Hans Christian Andersen is probably the best-known Dane of all time. Heck, Andersen even […]

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10 Authors Who Only Became Famous After Death

AuthorsClassic LiteratureContemporary LiteratureNovel Knowledge
Authors Who Became Famous After Death

Artists are often called the “antennae of the race.” Writers, painters, and musicians see things we normal mortals just can’t see. Sometimes it takes decades for the general public to understand what a truly gifted literary mind was trying to communicate. In this list, you’ll find ten of the finest authors from around the world, all of whom share one sad fact: they were only fully appreciated and made famous after death. Famous authors who reached posthumous fame 1. William Blake (1757-1827) Contemporaries called him mad. But today William Blake is universally recognized as a poetic and artistic genius. He was born in […]

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James Joyce: Priest Of Literary Modernism

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James Joyce signature, blog feature image

Irish writer James Joyce is a very polarizing figure. Some people love his wit, his wordplay, and his inventiveness. Other readers simply cannot stand his scholastic allusiveness. However you may feel about this literary giant, it is impossible to understand 20th century Modernism without him. Along with T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner, Joyce is one of those indispensable writers who defined the voice of an era. Indeed, if you are willing to undergo the struggle, Joyce’s books offer not only great wisdom but also great fun. Read on for a general overview of Joyce’s life and works […]

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One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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100 Years of Solitude blog post image

A few weeks ago, we shared a blog post about the history of magical realism. Today we’re taking a deeper look at perhaps the greatest and most beloved of all magical realism novels: One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien Años de Soledad) by Colombian author Gabriel Jose Garcia Marquez. The classic example of magical realism Although many critics may have trouble defining what exactly a magical realist novel is, their prime example will always be Marquez’s beloved One Hundred Years of Solitude. A long and dense work, One Hundred Years of Solitude can be a bit confusing for first-time readers, especially those not […]

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The Ages of 101 Famous Writers at First Publication

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Famous writers ages infographic featured image

If you’re anything like us, you constantly think about the lives of some of the world’s most famous writers. How did they get started with writing? And when? Looking back on a a now-famous author’s life work, I always catch myself thinking, “That author was a genius! I’m sure she had no problem getting work published.” Or, “Yeah, it must have been super easy for him; he’s obviously talented.” In reality, though, even the most popular authors often struggle for a long time before finally getting published. Many published authors have a family or a day job (or both) and don’t even really […]

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10 Native American Writers You Should Be Reading

AuthorsContemporary Literature
10 Contemporary Native American Authors blog post title graphic

When most people think of Native American writing, their minds may be flooded with images from the colorful mythos that flourished all around North America before Columbus’s arrival. Archeologists and historians are still learning a great deal about these ancient Native American poets and their powerful works of spiritual literature. Unfortunately, far too many people think only of the past when they consider Native American writing, traditions, and culture. In reality, there are many contemporary Native American writers today who are powerful witnesses to and voices of the Native American experience in the 20th and 21st centuries. These diverse writers, poets, […]

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The Jungle Book Characters: Original Stories and Movie Adaptations

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Meeting at Council Rock illustration from The Jungle Book

Thanks in large part to Disney’s many animated and live-action adaptations, few children in the entire world have grown up without some notion of the fantastical world of Mowgli, Baloo, and Shere Khan. But how much do children—and you—know about the original Jungle Book characters and stories by Rudyard Kipling? Photo from Wikicommons The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling Joseph Rudyard Kipling first published his collection of stories that would later come to be known collectively as The Jungle Book in magazines back in 1893 and 1894. At the time these stories were written, Kipling lived in Dummerston, Vermont. A handwritten note […]

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