Category: Novel Knowledge Archives

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

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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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10 Authors Who Only Became Famous After Death

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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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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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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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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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What is Magical Realism in Literature?

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Today we’re exploring magical realism, one of the most interesting literary movements in recent history. A brief history of magical realism The 20th century was a century of “-isms” in the West. Never before had there been so many dynamic philosophical, aesthetic, political, sociological, and psychological schools of thought: from Freudianism to Keynesianism to Cubism. One of the famous literary “-isms” to arise in this time, especially in Latin America, was called magical realism. In contrast to pure fantasy, magical realism in literature sought to re-invigorate the ordinary with the sublime. Magical realism novels do not contain the elves and wizards of a […]

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Words Wednesday: Samuel Beckett

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Samuel Beckett quote: "Fail better"

Even if you aren’t involved in tech, entrepreneurship, lifehacking, and other such digital age ubiquities, you’ve probably heard the most famous part of this Samuel Beckett quote: “Fail better.” Here at Books on the Wall, we love digging into quotes and all things quote related—from what work the quote came from, what the author meant by it, how modern society has interpreted it, and whether the supposed author even wrote the quote in the first place. When you start looking deeper into the many quotes that float around our collective conscience and the internet (and in this case, on tennis […]

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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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6 Places to Read Free Books Online

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At Books on the Wall, it’s no secret that we love reading—and if you’re here, we assume you do too! But if you’re anything like us, you probably spend waaaaaaay too much of your monthly budget on books. We can walk into a bookstore with the best of intentions—”only one book…okay, maybe two books…but that’s all, no more!”—but of course we always walk out with at least twice what we planned for.  Not that this is such a bad thing. There are worse problems to be had, certainly. But some months, it’s just not a good idea to tempt ourselves […]

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The Serial Novel: A Brief History

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What is a serial novel? A serial novel is a work of fiction that is published in sequential pieces called installments. These installments can be published at nearly any interval for nearly any period of time, though weekly and monthly installments are most typical. Serialized novels have traditionally been published by literary magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals. In fact, last year’s breakout hit podcast Serial got its name from this style of publishing a story in installments. Some serial novels—like The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins—were written specifically for that format, while others—like parts of Middlemarch by George Eliot—were originally intended to be a […]

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