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ERNEST HEMINGWAY (July 21st, 1899 - July 2nd, 1961) American journalist and author. Helped to chronicle the “Lost Generation” of American expatriates in Europe. Main accomplishments:
  • Author of 10 novels—including The Sun Also Rises (1925), A Farewell To Arms (1929), and The Old Man And The Sea (1952)—10 short story collections, and five non-fiction collections, including The Sun Also Rises (1925), A Farewell To Arms (1929), and The Old Man And The Sea (1952).
  • Winner of the Bronze Star and the Silver Medal of Military Valor for military service during WWII; winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man And The Sea, the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award of Merit in 1954; rated the Top Reporter of the 20th Century by the Kansas City Star in 1999.
  • Avid hunter and outdoorsman; embarked on two safaris to Africa, the latter of which saw him surviving two successive plane crashes.
  As famous for his colorful and adventurous life as for his acclaimed novels, Pulitzer and Nobel-winning writer Ernest Hemingway fit a prodigious amount of living into his 62 years. Ambulance driver, big-game hunter, war reporter, record-breaking fisherman—it was sometimes hard to separate the man from his characters. His simple, clear, and distinctive style revolutionized literature, and his work continues to be taught in nearly every high school, college, and university. EARLY LIFE The son of a doctor, Hemingway grew up in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park. His domineering singing instructor mother sometimes dressed young Ernest in girl’s clothes to match his older sister—she had wanted twins, and he had failed to be a pair. Ernest rejected his mother's plans for him to pursue a career in music and instead took to athletics. He became an outdoorsman at an early age, camping and hunting in the wilderness around his family's summer home on Walloon Lake in Michigan. He boxed in high school, but also discovered a love of literature and the sports writing of columnist Ring Lardner. Inspired by Lardner’s storytelling abilities, Hemingway decided not to go to college, a career as a journalist instead. He briefly worked for the Kansas City Star before joining, in 1918, the Red Cross Ambulance Corps on the Italian front. The stint was cut short by an injury. But even though he was hit by a mortar shell, Hemingway—only 18 at the time—dragged a wounded soldier to the ambulance. He spent the rest of his time working in a hospital, reading, and drinking. However, his experiences on the front inspired his novel, A Farewell To Arms. After leaving Europe at war's end, Hemingway seemed to have trouble staying still, moving back and forth between Chicago and Toronto in the space of a year. He worked for several newspapers, married his first wife, Hadley Richardson, and met writer Sherwood Anderson, who had just published his best-known work Winesburg, Ohio. Hemingway's friendship with Anderson would last for six years until Hemingway mocked Anderson's best-selling novel, Dark Laughter, a book strongly influenced by James Joyce's Ulysses. THE LOST GENERATION Before his fallout with Hemingway, Anderson was instrumental in the formation of the group that became known as the Lost Generation—a term coined by an American writer Gertrude Stein in the 1920s to describe the generation that grew up during WWI and had become disillusioned and cynical. Anderson suggested Hemingway spend some time in post-war Europe; following this advice, Ernest went to Paris with his wife. There, he worked as a war correspondent for the Toronto Star, covering the events of the Turkish War of Independence. Anderson introduced Hemingway to the expatriate community by writing a letter of introduction to Gertrude Stein, who had moved to Paris in 1903 and ran literary salons. These gatherings had attracted the likes of Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, John Dos Passos, and F. Scott Fitzgerald., among other writers, artists, and intellectuals. Members of this close-knit circle formed passionate friendships but also had plenty of arguments, fuelled by jealousy and alcohol. Hemingway was one of the last writers of the Lost Generation to publish his fiction. His short story collection, In Our Time, was released in Europe in 1924 after fellow expatriate Fitzgerald's two bestselling novels had turned him into an international celebrity. While Fitzgerald's work—especially his first, This Side of Paradise, written before his encounters with the expatriates—could be ornate and decorative, Hemingway's was stripped down. On Stein's advice, he eliminated any unnecessary words, especially adjectives. His short sentences could even seem choppy and blunt; he initially worried that the literary community would not look beyond this no-frills style to see his merit. (Hemingway’s simple language prompted his literary rival, William Faulkner, to quip: “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” However, Hemingway’s prose was well received from the start. While the critics loved him, some of his friends were turned off by his rough, boisterous, and brawling ways. Besides alienating his early mentor Anderson, Hemingway also fought with Fitzgerald, accusing him of not being “artistic enough” and writing short stories that were shoddy and sensational. Still, despite the quibbles, Hemingway drew inspiration from his Lost Generation companions—it was Fitzgerald's 1925 book, The Great Gatsby (which Hemingway read while it was being written) that convinced Hemingway to pen his own novel; The Sun Also Rises was published the following year. INTERNATIONAL CAREER In the wake of Hemingway's divorce and remarriage, another collection of short stories followed—and his second novel, A Farewell to Arms, came on the heels of his father's suicide. The book, published in 1929, was a significant commercial success. The Lost Generation community fell apart amid arguments and accusations—homosexuality was one often leveled against Hemingway, who was vocally critical of homosexuals—and it was also suggested that he had let his success go to his head. In 1931, just as Hemingway’s reputation as one of the greatest writers of his generation started to take hold, he moved to Key West, Florida. He continued to be creative throughout the 1930s, publishing two books based on his own intrepid travel experiences—a bullfighting "bible," Death in the Afternoon (1932), and an account of his African safari in Green Hills of Africa (1935); he also published two short stories, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" (1936) and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" (1936). In 1937, Hemingway went to Spain—and back to his journalism roots—to report on the Spanish Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance. His experiences inspired the critically acclaimed 1940 novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. The same year, the newly divorced (for the second time) author married journalist Martha Gellhorn, with whom he had worked while covering the war in Spain. The couple settled in Finca Vigia, the Cuban estate where Hemingway lived, off and on, (and wrote The Old Man And The Sea) until 1960. During WWII, Hemingway served as a sub hunter and war correspondent. He divorced Gellhorn and married his fourth wife, Mary Walsh. He resumed his writing with the 1950 novel, Across The River and Through the Trees, which was met with the worst reviews of his career. However, The Old Man and the Sea followed in 1952, earning him, the following year, the Pulitzer Prize. A year after that, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. "for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style." He was unable to accept the Prize in person due to severe injuries—not long after surviving a plane crash so catastrophic that several newspapers published his obituary, he was severely burned in a brushfire, which kept him confined while he recovered. LATER YEARS AND DEPRESSION Thirty years after the peak of the expatriate community in Europe, Hemingway wrote A Moveable Feast, his memoir of the era, though it wasn't published until after his death. After an initial failed attempt, he committed suicide in 1961, a few weeks before his 62nd birthday. He had been receiving electroshock treatments as a remedy for his depression, but blamed the treatments for ruining his memory. Depression probably ran in his family—several relatives had committed suicide, and 35 years after his death, his granddaughter Margaux, took her life with an overdose of pills. He had continued to work in the last years of his life, and a number of his books were published posthumously. One of these, Islands in the Stream, was written in response to the criticism against Across The River and Through the Trees; though unfinished, a substantial portion of it was written, and his famous novella, The Old Man And The Sea, was intended to be its fourth and final part. Hemingway left behind a legacy of minimalist, existential writing, as well as a lifetime of travel and exploration around the world. In 1950, the New York Times called him “the most important author living today, the outstanding author since the death of Shakespeare.”

Pulitzer and Nobel-winning writer, Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, whose simple, clear, and distinctive style revolutionized literature.

VLADIMIR NABOKOV (April 22, 1899 - July 2, 1977) A Russian-American writer who is regarded as one of the most influential prose writers of the twentieth century.  Major Accomplishments:
  • Wrote the novels, Lolita (1955) and Pale Fire (1962)
  • Professor at Cornell, Stanford, Wellesley, and Harvard
  • Influenced writers such as Salman Rushdie and Edmund White
      Vladimir Nabokov was a poet, novelist, and the foremost among the post-1917 émigré writers. He wrote in Russian for much of his career; however, his English works gained the most acclaim. He employed dramatic imagery and dense metaphors that have left an indelible mark upon modern literature. An aloof, technical, and comical writer, people recognize Nabokov for the intense allegory of love's fragility in his controversial novel, Lolita.  EARLY LIFE Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Vladimir Nabokov grew up in a family of wealth and nobility. He was the eldest of five children: Sergey, Olga, Elena, and Kirill. His father, Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov, was a lawyer, journalist, and leader of the pre-Revolutionary Constitutional Democratic Party. His mother, Yelena, was the granddaughter of a wealthy gold-mine owner. His family emigrated from Russia and moved to England in search of refuge from the Russian Revolution. Upon arrival, he elected to study at Trinity College, Cambridge. His initial field of study was zoology before switching to French and Russian Literature. He graduated from Cambridge in 1922 with honors.  In that same year of 1922, Nabokov’s father was shot and killed while defending Pavel Milyukov, a fellow exile of Russia who served in a leadership role within the Constitutional Democratic Party. This violent death suffered by his father would largely influence the deaths of many of his fictional characters.  CAREER He started his career at the young age of seventeen, publishing a collection of poems entitled, Poems, in 1916. He later released his second set of verses in 1918, Two Paths Upon graduating from his undergraduate program, he remained in England and penned two more poetry collections before moving to Germany. He began publishing prose, with his first story being released in Germany in 1924 under the pseudonym, Sirin. In 1926, one year after marrying his wife, Vera Yevseyevna Slonim, he published his first novel, Mashenka. The short book follows protagonist Lev Glebovich Ganin in his musings to steal an old flame named Mashenka from her current lover, Aleksey Ivanovich Alfyorov.  In 1928, Nabokov produced a second novel that solidified his writing style and use of literary devices. In the novel, King, Queen, Knave, the events surrounded a Berlin department store worker, Franz, and his deadly love affair with a married woman named Martha. Nabokov developed his signature use of foreshadowing within this novel, having the three main characters' eventual fates appear early in the book within a play called “Goldemar.” Although met with praise, it drew criticism from his émigré contemporaries. However, his next novel, The Defense, gained him a fair amount of notoriety among the émigré authors. Nabokov continued to write and gain fame through his novels. He also tapped into playwriting, penning Sobytiye (1938) and the tragic comedy, The Waltz Invention (1938).  In 1940, Nabokov fled from France and immigrated to the United States. He and his family settled in New York City, then promptly moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts, the following year to take a lecturer position in comparative literature at Wellesley College. Nabokov moved onto Cornell University in 1948, where he taught until 1959. His most famous student was the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  During his tenure as a lecturer and professor, he spent much of his free time capturing butterflies and retreating to his room to write. His most prominent English novel, Lolita, was published in 1955. Lolita is a novel about a paedophilic thirty-seven-year-old man named Humbert Humbert. In this story, Humbert falls in love with the twelve-year-old daughter of his landowner, Dolores “Lolita” Hayes. Humbert marries Mrs. Haze to form a relationship with her daughter, and the story depicts the immoral, lustful lengths Humbert goes to get what he wants. Although sometimes heavily criticized, Nabokov's stories were allegorical. He hid meanings behind dense wordplay, comical parody, and tragedy. He believed that novels should have a deeper meaning, one the reader must search for. He is known as the “king over that battered mass society called contemporary fiction.”  DEATH AND LEGACY Nabokov passed away at the age of seventy-seven on July 2, 1977, in Montreux, Switzerland. Prior to his death, he had informed his wife of an unfinished work titled, The Original of Laura. He left the manuscript within the lines of index cards in his home. He asked his wife to burn it, but she placed it inside a Swiss bank vault instead.  The novel dealt with Nabokov’s view of mortality and followed a married couple, Philip and Flora Wild. One of Flora's former lovers writes a sordid book that places her as the subject of immoral behavior, while Philip is obsessing over his imminent death. Nabokov’s only son, Dmitri, published the unfinished manuscript in 2009. Nabokov left behind numerous poems, short stories, and novels. He has influenced writers such as the British-Indian novelist, Salman Rushdie, and the American novelist, Edmund White. Of Nabokov, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asserted, “He stood alone … Nabokov, changed the way I read and the way I write.”

    VLADIMIR NABOKOV (April 22, 1899 – July 2, 1977) A Russian-American writer who is regarded as one of the most influential prose writers of the twentieth century.  Major Accomplishments: Wrote t...

    WILLIAM FAULKNER (September 25th, 1897 – July 6th, 1962) American author. Main accomplishments:
    • Winner of both the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949 and two Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction in 1955 and 1963; used part of the money “to establish a fund to support and encourage new fiction writers”, eventually resulting in the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
    • Author of nearly 20 novels, over a hundred short stories, 20 screenplays, six poetry collections, and other assorted works.
    • Along with James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Virginia Woolf, he was one of the earliest pioneers of the “stream of consciousness” writing technique.
      Nobel Laureate and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner William Faulkner was one of America’s greatest and most celebrated writers, whose work reflects and, at the same time, questions the South's most deeply held values. His novel The Sound and the Fury is frequently cited as one of the best books of all time, and all of his works powerfully explore complex societal and family issues that continue to be relevant in our own day. Yet, because of his decidedly difficult, stream-of-consciousness style, Faulkner’s books remain sadly unknown to many readers.  EARLY LIFE Born the eldest of four sons in New Albany, Mississippi, William Falkner named for his grandfather, the “Old Colonel,” and was the scion of the Falkner family. During childhood, William was an attentive student, but as he grew older, his education suffered from a lack of interest on his part; he was forced to repeat two grades, and never graduated high school, which is not to say he was a dull youth: even at a young age, he began writing poetry to pass the time. Faulkner dropped out of high school to enlist in the Canadian Royal Flying Corps to fight in World War I; in order to fool the RAF into believing he was British, he began spelling his name “Faulkner” rather than its original “Falkner.” His attempt to enlist succeeded, but sadly for William, the war ended the day he graduated. He returned home and enrolled at the University of Mississippi, securing a job as the University’s postmaster. As it had in high school, however, Faulkner’s passion for writing dominated his life to the exclusion of other pursuits, and after three years of lackluster work performance, he was asked to resign. During this period, he submitted poems and short stories to the Mississippian, the campus newspaper. BEGINNING CAREER After the critically panned publication in 1924 of his first poetry collection, The Marble Faun, Faulkner and a friend moved to New Orleans the following year. It was in New Orleans that Faulkner became acquainted with Sherwood Anderson, author of Winesburg, Ohio, who inspired Faulkner to begin writing novels. His first novel, Soldier’s Pay in 1926, was followed quickly by his second, Mosquitos, the next year. At Anderson’s advice, Faulkner began to write about the fictional county of Yoknapatawpha based on his Mississippi. The result of this was a series of some of his most famous books: Sartoris, The Sound and the Fury, and As I Lay Dying. Faulkner’s personal life was that of the archetypal 20th-century writer, fraught with alcohol abuse, extramarital affairs, and financial difficulty. After struggling to find a publisher for Sartoris, Faulkner decided to give up being a writer as a profession and instead write solely for his pleasure. After marrying Estelle Oldham, however, Faulkner’s income was insufficient to support the family, so he wrote Sanctuary with the sole intention of making money. The novel’s dark, distressing material was so revolutionary for the time that publishers initially refused to touch it. RISE TO LITERARY FAME The 1940s saw the publishing of some of Faulkner’s most controversial works: Light in August and Absalom, Absalom! Both dealt heavily with themes of race and racial identity and were among the earliest popular novels to do so. To support himself financially during this period, Faulkner took up screenwriting for Hollywood. Among these screenplays, only Today We Live was based on Faulkner’s published work. 1940 was also the year that Faulkner began working on the “Snopes” trilogy, one of his best-remembered works. Although Faulkner’s works were still widely read in Europe, by 1944, they had mostly fallen out of popularity in America. Faulkner worked to correct this, writing a new appendix to The Sound and the Fury and having it re-released by the Modern Library. This, in addition to the Nobel Prize for Literature he won in 1949, brought William Faulkner the financial security and literary credit he had been seeking. He continued to write and gain fame for his works around the world. LATER YEARS In the 1950s, Faulkner traveled the world, visiting other countries while working on his screenwriting. At one point, he served as the writer-in-residence for the University of Virginia, before finally returning to Oxford in 1962. That same year, he passed away from a heart attack at the age of 64.

    Along with Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner (1897–1962) was one of a crucial group of writers who carved out a uniquely American identity in the world of literature. The winner of b...

    F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (September 24, 1896 - December 21, 1940) American author. Major Accomplishments:
    • Wrote the novel, The Great Gatsby, which has sold over 25 million copies.
    • Author of four novels and over 150 short stories.
    • Popularized the term, Jazz Age, to describe the wealthy culture of the roaring twenties.
      Best known for his novel The Great Gatsby, American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald's literary works chronicled the era of ambition, extravagance, and wealth during the period known as the Jazz Age. He enjoyed meager success and lived happily during his early years. Eventually, the cultural vanity of his day overpowered him. His books are still extensively studied in literature classes through the United States and enjoyed by fiction lovers around the world.  EARLY LIFE Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, to Edward Fitzgerald and Mary McQuillan. His father owned a furniture business before moving into a sales position at Procter & Gamble. His mother, who was of Irish descent, descended from a family that made a small fortune in the grocery industry of Minnesota. Fitzgerald moved back and forth between Syracuse and Buffalo because of his father's sales job. When his father lost this job in 1908, the family moved back to Minnesota to retire on his mother's inheritance. Shortly after, when Fitzgerald was thirteen-years-old, he enrolled at St. Paul Academy. This was where he published his first piece of writing, a short fictional piece about detective work.  He later attended a Catholic Preparatory school called Newman School from 1911 to 1913. He developed many of his talents during this time, and his instructors saw a magnificent gift within him. He then enrolled at the prestigious Princeton University, where he joined the Triangle Club, a dramatic society focused on writing musicals. He often spent his time writing for the university’s comedy magazine, Princeton Tiger, and short stories for the Nassau Literary Magazine.  While studying at Princeton, he met Ginevra King, a popular heiress. He could not maintain a relationship with King, causing him heartache and despair. His grades declined during this time, and he soon dropped out of Princeton to join the Army.  Upon joining the U.S. Army in 1917, Fitzgerald feared he would lose his life fighting in the ongoing Great War, so he quickly penned his first novel, The Romantic Egoist, and submitted it to the publisher, Charles Scribner’s Sons. They rejected the novel for publication; however, the reviewer encouraged Fitzgerald to continue writing and submit a different manuscript whenever he could produce one.  While stationed near Montgomery, Alabama, in 1918, he met Zelda Sayre, the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. The pair fell madly in love, and as soon as he received his discharge, Fitzgerald tried to earn a lucrative job for himself in New York to convince his new girlfriend to marry him, but his plan fell through. Fitzgerald landed an advertising job making $90 per month. As a result of his failure to land good work, Zelda called off their engagement. Fitzgerald promptly moved back to St. Paul to write his first published novel, This Side of Paradise. It was an instant success, and Fitzgerald married Zelda shortly after its publication. A SUCCESSFUL CAREER AND A ROCKY MARRIAGE Drawing upon Fitzgerald’s experiences, This Side of Paradise was a novel about a young man from the Midwest who seeks the hands of two different upper-class women but is ultimately rejected by both. The story propelled Fitzgerald’s career, and doors opened up for him to write at The Saturday Evening Post and Scribner’s.  He and his new wife, Zelda, embraced their newfound wealth and sought the life of social elites. They went to parties and events of the rich, causing people to view Fitzgerald as a playboy. His success at the age of twenty-four, which gave him the opportunity for marriage and a child, was now rocking the boat of his family. These tumultuous times urged him to write his second novel in 1922, The Beautiful and the Damned, a story of a couple who await a large inheritance, yet whose lives dissolve in the process.  To escape the life they were living, Fitzgerald took Zelda and his daughter, Frances, to the French Riviera. It was there where he wrote The Great Gatsby. The 1925 release was popular, yet the novel did not receive the deserved acclaim until after Fitzgerald's death.  He continued writing after Gatsby’s release; however, his next novel did not come onto the scene until 1934. Tender Is the Night was his third novel, and it was the most autobiographical novel he ever wrote. Between the years of The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night, his wife had undergone multiple mental breakdowns, leaving her in terrible shape. These breakdowns combined with Fitzgerald’s growing alcoholism caused their marriage to crumble. Drawing upon these experiences, Fitzgerald wrote Tender Is the Night, a novel about an American psychiatrist living in Paris, France, who marries one of his wealthy patients. The book did not sell as well as his previous works, but is considered his most emotional piece.  Fitzgerald left France and found a new wife, Sheilah Graham, while working as a scriptwriter in Hollywood. While living in the United States, Fitzgerald began writing what would become his last novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon. Fitzgerald was only halfway through writing it before he died in 1940.  DEATH AND LEGACY While residing in Hollywood, Fitzgerald died from a heart attack at the age of forty-four on December 21, 1940. Although he did not live to see the acclaim his novels would eventually receive, he still saw his works commercially succeed during his lifetime. The Great Gatsby regularly sells hundreds of thousands of copies each year and has become a staple of American literature. His works are frequently assigned as required reading in colleges around the world and seen as the quintessential pieces of his era.

    F. SCOTT FITZGERALD (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) American author. Major Accomplishments: Wrote the novel, The Great Gatsby, which has sold over 25 million copies. Author of four nove...

    HERMAN MELVILLE (August 1, 1819 - September 28, 1891) American short-story writer, novelist, and poet.  Main Accomplishments:
    • Wrote the novel, Moby-Dick (1951).
    • Recognized as one of the giants of American literature.
      Herman Melville did not have a successful career by the standards of his day, yet people remember him as one of the greatest American writers of all time. His novel, Moby-Dick, barely sold copies in the 19th century but is now one of the world’s most popular literary works and widely regarded as “the great American novel.” Ever since the revival of Melville’s work following the Great War, his career has become a cornerstone of today’s fiction. EARLY LIFE A descendant of Scottish and Dutch settlers, Herman Melville was born in 1819 in New York City. He was the third of eight children to Allan Melvill and Maria Gansevoort Melvill.  Melville's father often dragged his family through the mud of financial ruin. Although he owned a successful import business, his poor decisions eventually led to the company's collapse. Maria's family routinely bailed the family out during their early years, yet their troubles were not merely financial but physical as well.  In 1826, the young Melville caught scarlet fever, leaving him with permanently weakened eyesight. Despite this impairment, he attended high school. Upon moving to upstate New York in 1830, Herman became a student at the Albany Academy. Two years later, Melville's father died, and the family's pocketbook took another hit.  After this tragedy, Melville’s eldest brother, Gansevoort, took over their father’s business, and Melville took a job as a bank clerk. Despite unstable finances, Melville continued his studies at Albany Classical School. It was here that his passion for literature grew. Soon, he was writing both poetry and prose and even became a participant in a debating society. It was during this time that his family changed their last name from Melvill to the now-famous Melville.  CAREER In 1837, he moved to his uncle’s town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He took a teaching job but rapidly quit after three months when he discovered he would be unhappy in that line of work.

    Once he moved back to Albany, he found his family’s estate sinking yet again. Ganservoort’s business had failed, and the family moved to Lansingburgh, New York. Here, Melville tried for a surveyor’s position on the Erie Canal project, but it fell through.

    In June 1839, Melville signed up to be a cabin boy on a merchant ship called St. Lawrence. Upon his return three months later, his family’s finances had not recovered. Then in 1841, Melville boarded the Acushnet, a whaler ship heading to the South Seas. In June the following year, the whaler docked in the Marquesas Islands, and Melville jumped ship with a crewmate. Melville recorded their adventures in his first novel, Typee (1846).  His second novel, Omoo, was loosely based on his experiences living on an island and his time spent in a Tahitian jail, which he easily escaped. When Melville returned home from his adventures, he found his family more financially stable than before. His brother had received a prestigious government appointment as secretary to the United States legation in London, England.  In 1847, the year that Omoo was released, Gansevoort passed away from a brain disease. Melville became the head of his family and continued developing his craft. In August of that year, he married Elizabeth Shaw, the daughter of the chief justice of Massachusetts.  In 1847, the year that Omoo was released, Gansevoort passed away from a brain disease. Melville became the head of his family and continued developing his craft. In August of that year, he married Elizabeth Shaw, the daughter of the chief justice of Massachusetts.  He published his third book, Mardi, in 1849. However, it did not receive great reviews. Inspired to produce better content after this small failure, a few months later Melville wrote, Redburn and published his fifth book, White-Jacket, the following year.  Upon reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s monumental novel, The Scarlet Letter, Melville received a newfound inspiration for writing and pondered the beginnings of a revitalized writing style. He moved back to Pittsfield and purchased a farm near Hawthorne’s home. The two soon became great friends. Of their relationship, biographer Laurie Robertson-Lorant remarks: “Though the two writers were drawn together in an undeniable sympathy of soul and intellect, the friendship meant something different to each of them, with Hawthorne offering Melville the kind of intellectual stimulation he needed.” Melville's literary ambition was on full display within his magnum opus, Moby-Dick (1951). The book was published in the UK as The Whale and called Moby-Dick in the US one month later.  It was in this novel where Melville moved away from his usual style into uncharted waters. Even though we view Moby-Dick as one of the greatest works of American literature, the book was too revolutionary for its time. This is what the literary critic Henry Chorley said of the book: “This is an ill-compounded mixture of romance and matter-of-fact.” Regarding Melville’s new style, Chorley stated, “The style of his tale is in places disfigured by mad English.” Melville would sadly never witness the acclaim Moby-Dick would receive in later years.  At the age of thirty-three, Melville's career was in shambles. His 1952 novel, Pierre, was a failure. Furthermore, Melville's publishing house burned down, and with it several copies of his stories. Yet Melville persevered.  His perpetual state of poverty moved him to despise the materialism embraced by the society around him. This theme inspired his features for Putnam’s Monthly Magazine. Pieces such as The Encantadas and Bartleby the Scrivener reflected such deeply rooted sentiments.  Melville’s final novel was The Confidence-Man, published in 1857. After continuously shabby sale statistics, Melville decided to put novel writing away for good. He continued writing poetry on the side as he took a stable job as a US Customs Inspector for his remaining years. END OF LIFE Melville spent subsequent years in poor health but continued writing verses on the weekends. One of his most noteworthy poems, Clarel (1876), is notable for its extravagant length approximating 18,000 lines. This number was higher than such classics as Paradise Lost and The Iliad. While making a return to novel writing, Melville died of cardiac dilation on September 28, 1891. Later in 1919, at the centennial of Melville's birth, a revival of his work was lit aflame. During this period, Melville quickly gained the recognition he deserved as one of the greatest writers of all time. Melville's influence extends through the entire twentieth century to our present day, influencing postmodern greats, such as David Foster Wallace and Thomas Pynchon. 

    American novelist, short story writer, and poet, Herman Melville (1819-1891) is best known for his masterpiece Moby-Dick and his shorter works Typee, “Bartleby,” “Benito Cereno,” and “Billy ...

    MARTIN HEIDEGGER (September 26, 1889 - May 26, 1976) One of the forerunners of existentialism, Heidegger’s work on metaphysics and ontology, changed the course of Western philosophy. Main Accomplishments:
    • Received his doctoral degree under the guidance of Edmund Husserl (1913).
    • Wrote Being and Time (1927).
    • Became the rector of the University of Freiburg (1933).
        You cannot have a philosophical conversation without mentioning the name Martin Heidegger. Heidegger is known as one of the most influential Western philosophers, and people still ponder his study of Being today. He sought to change how Westerners view Platonic metaphysics, and his impact reached beyond philosophy into theology, literature, history, and psychology. His most famous book, Being and Time, is recognized as one of the most significant philosophical works of the 20th century.  EARLY LIFE Martin Heidegger was born in Meßkirch, Schwarzwald, Germany, on September 26, 1889. His parents were Friedrich and Johanna Heidegger, who were Roman Catholics that raised their son in humble circumstances.  Heidegger attended local schools, and his instructors and peers observed his intellectual talent. Despite the recognized intelligence, his family was too poor to afford a university education. He entered the seminary but then rejected it because of health issues. Following his departure, he earned a scholarship from his parish to attend the University of Freiburg.  He studied theology for a while, then switched his focus to philosophy. His doctoral studies were completed under Heinrich Rickert, the German neo-Kantian, and Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology. He received his doctorate in 1913 following his dissertation on psychologism, which is a philosophy that perceives epistemological issues to be solvable through a psychological study on the development of mental processes. His dissertation was titled, Die Lehre vom Urteil im Psychologismus: ein kritisch-positiver Beitrag zur Logik, meaning, The Doctrine of Judgment in Psychologism: A Critical-Positive Contribution to Logic Two years after completing his doctoral research, Heidegger earned his teaching habilitation by writing a thesis on the medieval scholastic theologian, Duns Scotus.  In 1917, Heidegger reached a pivotal point in his life. After studying the works of Protestant Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, Heidegger departed from the Roman Catholic faith of his youth. Thereafter, he married a Lutheran woman named Elfriede Petri. The newly wedded couple would soon bear two sons.  CAREER After the Great War, he took a lecturer position at the University of Freiburg in 1919. His courses attracted bright students because of his brilliant interpretations of Aristotle and Augustine, as well as analyses of occurrences in everyday life. The lectures he gave were in the 1927 release of Sein und Zeit or Being and Time.  In Being and Time, which is regarded as Heidegger's magnum opus, he sought to answer the question of what Being fundamentally was. Here, he argued that Western philosophers misunderstand Being, according to Plato. As opposed to applying it to individuals, Heidegger argued it is better to apply it in the macro sense of Being in the world.  Descartes believed our minds were more effective in understanding the world around us than our senses and that the observer of an object is utterly separate from the object they are looking at. Heidegger criticized philosophers of the belief that people disconnect from the world. The term Dasein, translated as “Being-in-the-world,” denotes that humans and the objective world are inseparable. Being fundamentally requires an engagement with our world.  As for time, Heidegger proposes that time finds its meaning in death. We perceive time only through the lens of temporality as we live in the present while planning for the future.  During his tenure as a lecturer and associate professor, Heidegger continued to develop his ideas on the phenomenological thoughts his doctoral advisor, Edmund Husserl, founded. He gained a greater comprehension of phenomenological reduction, which is a method of stripping away preconceptions of various phenomena to reveal their primordial truth. You can see this in Being and Time and many of his other writings trying to deconstruct Western metaphysics.  In 1928, he accepted the chair of philosophy at Freiburg, previously held by Husserl, and later served as rector from 1933 to 1934. He published various articles and even tried writing a sequel to Being and Time, although the book never manifested itself.  In May of 1933, one month after Heidegger became rector of the University of Freiburg, the Nazi party had demanded the removal of Jewish ideas in their academic institutions. In the name of the "national revolution," Heidegger assisted establishing Nazi doctrine within the university system. In the fall of that same year, Heidegger engaged in a lecture tour, speaking on Hitler’s proposal to withdraw from the League of Nations.  Though he resigned from the Nazi party in 1934, Heidegger continued to support many of Hitler’s policies. His professorship was revoked from 1945 to 1950 for his support of Hitler. Still unrepentant, in his Introduction to Metaphysics (1953), Heidegger exalted the “truth and greatness of National Socialism.”  In 1946, Heidegger wrote the “Letter On Humanism.” It was here where many commentators suggested his philosophy began to swerve toward mysticism. He rejects reason, referring to it as “stiff-necked,” and uses nearly unintelligible phrases which are still cause for rumination among many of today’s philosophers.  Heidegger wrote “The Question Concerning Technology” in 1949. In this piece, Heidegger argued that modern society and the war effort had turned human beings into mere “stuff,” simple objects of utility. “Modern man takes the entirety of Being as raw material for production and subjects the entirety of the object-world to the sweep and order of production,” he proclaimed. His conviction was that modern industrialism was to blame for such sins. Throughout the 1950s, Heidegger continued to write extensively on this theme of technology.  END OF LIFE After writing on various topics during the 1960s, Heidegger could not shake his past pro-Nazi statements. At a theology conference in 1964, one of his former students approached the podium to address the crowd. This student repeated a quote from a speech Heidegger gave to university students:
      Not theorems and ideas be the rules of your being. The Fuhrer himself and alone is the present and future German reality and its law. Learn ever deeper to know that from now on each and every thing demands decisions, and every action, responsibility. Heil Hitler!
      Many scholars felt that Heidegger's pro-Nazi period was only a lapse in his thinking. Regarding his failure in his embrace of Nazi policy, Heidegger once quoted the poet, Paul Valéry, “He who thinks greatly must err greatly.” Heidegger was one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. His influence over existentialism and on various fields within psychology and theology have made him an undeniable force in 20th-century thought. Heidegger died on May 26, 1976, in his birth town of Meßkirch, Schwarzwald, Germany.

      Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) was a fascinating and controversial philosopher, known for both his highly original and challenging philosophical concepts, as well as his association with and sympathy ...

      LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN (April 26, 1889 - April 29, 1951) Austrian-British philosopher. Noted for his anti-systematic theories and controversial, thought-provoking publications. Main accomplishments:
      • Published the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus in 1921; his Philosophical Investigations was published posthumously in 1953. The Baruch Poll—research survey center of The City University of New York—ranked Investigations as the most important philosophical book of the 20th century.
      • Winner of several medals for bravery for his service in the Austrian military in World War I, including the Gold and Silver Medal of Valor.
      • One of the most important contributors to the “linguistic turn” movement of philosophy, which bridged language with philosophy and led to the creation of fields of study such as linguistics and semiotics.
        Ludwig Wittgenstein is generally considered as one of the most influential philosophers of modern times. A scion of a wealthy and troubled family in turn-of-the-century Austria (three of his brothers committed suicide), Wittgenstein is remembered today for his two great works, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) and Philosophical Investigations (1953), which remain both relevant and controversial to this day. EARLY LIFE Ludwig Wittgenstein was the youngest of eight children, born to one of the wealthiest families in Vienna (in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire). His maternal cousin, born two weeks later, was Friedrich von Hayek, who grew up to be one of the most important economists of the 20th century and a Nobel laureate for his work on the theory of money and economic fluctuations. It's no surprise, then, that Ludwig and Friedrich came from a well-educated, intellectual family. Karl Wittgenstein, Ludwig's father, was a wealthy industrialist who served as a patron of the arts, especially music. Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler were among the composers who spent time in the Wittgenstein household, and the children all grew up with musical talent—son Paul’s career as a concert pianist continued even after he lost an arm during a tour of duty in World War I. The eldest boy, Hans, began composing his own music at age four. However, alongside this penchant for genius was a dark side. Three of the five Wittgenstein boys committed suicide, including Hans, who took his life when Ludwig was three years old. Homeschooled before attending school with other young men, Ludwig was considered a bit of an oddball by his classmates. (Teenage Adolf Hitler, a fellow student at the Realschule in Linz, was not actually Ludwig's classmate, though the boys were the same age and had many of the same teachers over the course of their schooling; because of his education at home, Ludwig was two grades ahead of Hitler.) Wittgenstein missed many of his classes, and when he did show up, he put on airs, insisting he be addressed formally by his classmates and dressing in ostentatiously formal clothes. His diction and grammar were extremely precise, even baroque, and yet his vocabulary was mediocre. Oddball or not, Wittgenstein did fairly well in school, and went on to study mechanical engineering in Berlin and Manchester, before enrolling at the University of Cambridge at age 22. At Manchester, he had become interested in the foundations of mathematics, through the writings of Bertrand Russell; at Cambridge, he sought Russell out, attending his lectures and studying logic, mathematics, and philosophy with him. However, Wittgenstein felt that an academic environment was actually distracting him from his quest for the truth, and so he rented a house in rural Norway, where he stayed while embarking on his private studies. A CAREER MARKED BY WAR In the meantime, his life was touched by tragedy again. Ludwig Boltzmann, a physicist he had hoped to work with, had committed suicide a few years earlier. Karl Wittgenstein died, leaving his fortune to his children. Ludwig used some of this inheritance to continue—anonymously—his father's patronage of the arts, donating money to Austrian poet Georg Trakl—who also committed suicide days before Ludwig was planning to meet him. Like his brothers, Ludwig served in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I. Having been raised Catholic by a family of Viennese Jews, some of whom had converted to Protestantism, Wittgenstein had been an atheist for most of his adult life. However, he discovered religion during the war, not because of the horrors and bloodshed around him, but through the writings of a Russian novelist and Christian philosopher Leo Tolstoy. He also began to read Fyodor Dostoevsky, another Russian Christian, as well as works of theologian St. Augustine and Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. Logik, the book he had started before the war, began to focus more on ethics than logical analysis. Later, he rewrote it, expanding it to create the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which, Wittgenstein claimed, solved all the major problems of philosophy. AFTER THE WAR The Tractatus was completed in 1918 and included an introduction by Russell, which gnawed at Wittgenstein because he believed his professor had misunderstood his book entirely. Without the introduction, however, he'd be unable to find a publisher, and so he was forced to keep it. With the introduction intact, he secured both German and English publishers, and because he believed he had answered all of philosophy's questions, he retired as a scholar in his early 30s, becoming a teacher of young rural children. As it turned out, he wasn't suited to the job. He had been a stiff, formal student who had grown up in a cosmopolitan, education-rich environment, and he had no talent for dealing with pupils who couldn't keep up with him or weren't interested in the material. As Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard later quipped: "The multi-millionaire as a village schoolmaster is surely a piece of perversity." Wittgenstein was a good mentor to those who had already developed an interest in mathematics, but he had no skill for inspiring that interest himself. Students' parents didn't like him, and he eventually left the post to work as a gardener. When his sister asked for his help in designing her new house, he collaborated with architect Paul Engelmann, a friend from the war, producing a precisely designed modernist building. During that time, he was approached by the Vienna Circle, a new group of Austrian philosophers associated with the University of Vienna, who had been influenced by Tractatus. The Circle was unable to get Wittgenstein interested in formally participating in their discussions, but he did befriend some members individually and became interested again in public intellectual life. However, the friendships he developed within the Circle had not been without frustrations. As he had with Russell, Wittgenstein believed the members misunderstood the Tractatus to varying degrees—and they generally disdained its religious dimension. Often he refused to discuss the work with them or respond to their inquiries, preferring to change the topic to some common ground or a pet interest of his, such as poetry or music. However concerned he was with being misunderstood, Wittgenstein didn't treat the Tractatus as untouchable, and before long he began to reevaluate it himself, coming to the conclusion that some of it was simply wrong. At the end of the 1920s, he returned to Cambridge, where he discovered that his fame had spread further than just Vienna—many of England's greatest minds actually met him at the train station, unwilling to wait to seek out his company later. He had never actually completed a degree at Cambridge, so he simply submitted the Tractatus, which was quickly accepted as sufficient grounds to grant him a doctorate. He began working as a professor at Cambridge's Trinity College. LATER YEARS Wittgenstein returned to Norway later in the decade to write Philosophical Investigations; his goal was to correct Tractatus, and the new book took a less technical approach to philosophy. In 1938, Adolf Hitler annexed Austria and Wittgenstein had become a German citizen. Since he was Jewish, his future in Germany (and soon-to-be occupied Europe) looked bleak. Lengthy negotiations and a great deal of money had the Wittgensteins—including several siblings who still lived in Austria and were subjected to the Nazis' harsh race laws—reclassified as Mischlinge, a term used to describe mixed Aryan/Jews. It was one of only 12 such reclassifications allowed that year (1939), out of over 2,000 requests. Nearly two tons of gold—$50 million in today's currency—was given to the Nazis in the negotiations. In his intellectual life, Wittgenstein's views of mathematics had changed completely. He no longer believed that mathematics represented anything real, but instead were just a way of dealing with particular symbols—and therefore a contradiction in a mathematical system was no reason to discard it. He left Cambridge when World War II broke out to work in hospitals, and officially resigned from Cambridge not long after the war's conclusion, having never warmed up to the academic atmosphere. He died of prostate cancer a few years later, living most of the intervening time in the rural areas he preferred, while working on the unfinished Investigations. Despite his difficult nature and social ineptness, Wittgenstein’s last words, according to his friend, American philosopher Norman Malcolm, were “Tell them I've had a wonderful life.”

      Though he published only one book in his lifetime, Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) was one of the most influential philosophers of his generation. The youngest son of a wealthy family, he was never ...

      CHARLIE CHAPLIN (April 16, 1889 – December 25, 1977) English slapstick comedian, writer, vaudeville performer, and silent film star. Main accomplishments:
      • Starred in and produced over 80 films between 1914 and 1965; became one of the earliest international superstars in film history.
      • Knighted in 1975, 44 years after it was first suggested.
      • Recipient of three Academy Awards, despite his disdain for the Academy
      • Co-founder of the United Artists film studio; pioneered the idea of movie makers having control over their films.
        A pioneer in the world of cinema, the work of Charlie Chaplin defined the silent film era. While he was not the only master of physical comedy of the day, his Little Tramp character has become the best-known and most-beloved of the day. He helped to stretch the bounds of filmmaking even before synchronized dialogue was added, doing more with the limited technology of the day than many would have done with twice as much. In addition to his work on-screen, he co-founded United Artists with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith, among the earliest filmmakers to seek creative control over their work in an industry that—then and now—has been dominated by financial types. EARLY LIFE Charlie Chaplin was born in London to a couple of Music Hall entertainers; his father was an alcoholic who had little contact with the family and abandoned them at an early age. His mother, Hannah Chaplin, was a vaudeville star who went by the stage name Lily Harley. She suffered from mental illness and would later be committed to an asylum. Chaplin’s career as an entertainer was kick-started by his mother’s: when Chaplin was five years old, Lily suddenly lost her voice during a performance and was booed off-stage. The desperate stage manager, who had heard the young Charlie sing before, pushed him on-stage. Far from terrified, Chaplin wowed the crowd with his voice and natural talent for comedy, marking the beginning of his performing life. Sadly, the start of Chaplin’s career meant the end of his mother. Hannah’s voice never recovered, meaning Charlie and his brother had to begin making money when the former was hardly older than ten years old. Never losing sight of his dream of becoming a famous actor, Chaplin took up tap dancing and joined a juvenile troupe called the “Eight Lancaster Lads.” After finally getting a chance at legitimate acting in a production of “Sherlock Holmes,” Chaplin began his work as a comedian, eventually heading to the United States in 1910. While staying in America, he was roommates with fellow Englishman and future film star Stan Laurel. Like many stage and vaudevillian performers, he sought a transition to film, which didn’t require a life spent on the road traveling from venue to venue. THE TRAMP EMERGES At Mack Sennett’s studio (home to the "Keystone cops" and other films based on zany chase sequences), he developed his signature character, the Little Tramp. The Tramp’s formal attire and false mustache were designed to conceal, in part, Chaplin’s youth he was only 24 at the time. With his baggy clothes, poorly fitting suit, and derby hat set askew, he was an almost instantly beloved figure. Chaplin made more than 30 movies for Sennett in only one year, a rate of fewer than two weeks per movie. He later signed more lucrative contracts with Essanay Studios and the Mutual Film Corporation, each contract giving him more control over his work as producers noted how popular his films were. In fact, in later years many of these shorts would be re-cut, with "new" Chaplin movies made by reassembling old footage in order to take advantage of Chaplin’s popularity. Harold Lloyd’s genius at physical comedy depended on his conception of dangerous stunts; Buster Keaton’s approach to the craft relied on complex situations, closer to the sitcoms of later decades. While all three men were, more or less, equals at the physical aspects of the job, Chaplin’s gift was that of subtlety. Even at Sennett’s studio, he avoided going over the top - a large part of what made the Tramp so endearing. Chaplin was able to imbue him with a vulnerability that persisted even when the Tramp was hurling bricks at his enemies. Chaplin also relied on his stage experience to improvise in front of the camera—exploring the situation to discover the comedy inherent in it, and generally stayed away from the melodrama that was the hallmark of so much silent cinema. MOVING UP IN THE WORLD As a director, the perfectionist in Chaplin demanded excellence of all of his actors. From the smallest role to the star performer, each actor was taken through every scene step by step. Chaplin wanted everyone on the screen to shine in his or her role. He also demanded a unified presence while filming to allow the subtleties of the characters to show through, even without speaking. He controlled every scene with an iron fist to accomplish this. He constantly had sets redone and rebuilt when they were not to his liking. He also would create many variations of each scene, until he found the ones that flowed together well to create the final product. After working with Essanay and the Mutual Film Corporation, Chaplin co-founded the United Artists studio with a number of filmmakers who wanted more control over their work. Movies were becoming longer, meanwhile, as technology became more sophisticated; Chaplin’s days of 30 shorts a year were behind him, and his output slowed considerably as he made feature-length films with more detailed plots and multiple shooting locations. He was slow to adopt sound; City Lights and Modern Times were both made during the sound era, but he used the technology only to provide a soundtrack and to play dialogue through the radio in Modern Times. He didn’t make his first talkie until 1940, thirteen years after the Jazz Singer: The Great Dictator played on The Little Tramp’s resemblance to German dictator Adolf Hitler, and was one of the few movies to satirize (and vilify) Nazism during the pre-war period when the United States was still at peace with Germany. AUTHORITY ISSUES The Nazis were far from the only group that Chaplin managed to upset in his life. During the McCarthy era, Chaplin—still a British subject—came under suspicion by J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, and was accused of communist sympathies and un-American sentiments. When Chaplin took a vacation in England in 1952, Hoover had his visa revoked. Five years later, Chaplin produced A King In New York, which viciously satirized the McCarthy-esque politics he had been forced to flee. Chaplin had a number of wives and lovers, which contributed to his difficulties with the law and respectable authorities. His last marriage was to Oona O’Neill, daughter of the playwright Eugene O’Neill, who was himself five years younger than Chaplin; the marriage caused O’Neill to refuse all contact with his daughter, but the match seems to have been a good one. They remained married for thirty-four years, until Chaplin’s death, and had eight children together. One of their daughters, Geraldine, played his mother in the 1992 movie Chaplin, loosely based on his autobiography. DEATH Disgusted by the reactionary politics rampant in America, Chaplin returned to the US only once, in 1972, to accept an Honorary Oscar. He spent the remainder of his life in Switzerland, and though he wasn’t officially retired, he did very little work. A movie meant to star his youngest daughter was still in pre-production when he died in 1977. Chaplin passed away peacefully in his sleep, but his rest was not undisturbed: in a bizarre twist not unlike Chaplin’s films, his body was stolen from its grave by a pair of Swiss mechanics who meant to ransom it from his family. The body was recovered after police tapped the Chaplins’ phones and traced the ransom calls back to the corpse-nappers. “Charlie would have thought it ridiculous,” said Oona afterward.

      A pioneer in the world of cinema, the work of Charlie Chaplin (1889–1977) defined the silent film era. While he was not the only master of physical comedy of the day, his Little Tramp character ha...

      T. S. ELIOT (September 26th, 1888 – January 4th, 1965) American-born English poet, literary critic, and playwright hailed as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. Main accomplishments:
      • Produced over 20 poems, including his well-known pieces The Love Song Of Alfred J. Prufrock (1915), The Waste Land (1922), and Ash Wednesday (1930). Also wrote eight plays, including Sweeney Agonistes (1932) and The Cocktail Party (1949).
      • Won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his “outstanding, pioneer contribution to modern-day poetry,” as well as the Order of Merit, both in 1948. Also won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1950 for The Cocktail Party.
      • Founder of the United Kingdom’s Poetry Book Society and namesake of its T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry.
      • Worked as a literary critic and wrote over 500 critical essays; his friend, editor John Hayward, once remarked that “I cannot think of a critic who has been more widely read and discussed in his own lifetime; and not only in English, but in almost every language, except Russian.”
        Nearly a century after the publication of his modernist masterpiece The Waste Land, T. S. Eliot remains one of the most celebrated and most influential poets of the 20th century. Recipient of the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature for his “pioneer contribution” to poetry, Eliot in later years became a staunch defender of tradition and a committed Christian. EARLY LIFE The youngest child of a prominent St. Louis businessman and a social worker/poetess, Thomas Stearns “T. S.” Eliot (September 26, 1888–January 4, 1965) attended a prep school as a boy (where he studied classical and modern languages) before enrolling at Harvard. While earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, he first encountered writers of the Symbolist movement—Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, among others, poets who would be very influential on him. The student paper published some of his first poems. He spent a year studying at the Sorbonne University in Paris before returning to Harvard to enter the Ph.D. program in the philosophy department. He moved to England during the First World War and worked as a teacher there while finishing his dissertation at Harvard. He met and married Vivien Haigh-Wood in 1915. Neither of them had been happy with the marriage for long, and she may have had an affair with the philosopher, Bertrand Russell while the Eliots were boarding in his house. Eliot believed that it was the difficulty in his marriage that inspired him to produce The Waste Land, and its bleak and desolate themes make this quite believable. Still, this period of Eliot’s life was not entirely unhappy; in 1920, he struck up a friendship with fellow writer James Joyce, and in 1925, he became a publisher at Faber and Gwyer. It was here that he would meet his second wife, Esme Fletcher, who worked as his secretary. After some years in England, Eliot converted to the Anglican religion and became an English citizen. (Afterward, he often referred to himself as Anglo-Catholic.) In 1932, he returned to the United States to teach at Harvard for a year, leaving Vivien behind; the two separated when he returned, and he never saw her again, though they remained legally married. LATER LIFE He remarried 10 years after Vivien’s death in 1947. By all accounts, his second marriage—to Esme Fletcher, who had been his secretary for eight years—was happy. The wedding was kept a secret in the interest of his privacy; by then, he was a well-known literary figure. A heavy smoker, he died of emphysema at the age of 77. WRITING Eliot was a writer who favored quality over quantity; although he did not produce vast swathes of poetic work, he endeavored to ensure that each of his poems should be as perfect as possible. “Each should be an event,” he once wrote to his former professor. In some circles, Eliot’s best-known work is Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, a collection of light verse upon which the Broadway musical “Cats” is very loosely based. His groundbreaking work, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, was written in the stream-of-consciousness technique (a method of portraying an individual’s point of view by giving the written equivalent of the character’s thought processes), from a middle-aged perspective, even though Eliot was only 22 at the time and still a graduate student at Harvard). These days, it’s hard to remember a time when a poem could be called offensive for an opening like this:
      Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table; Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, The muttering retreats Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells: Streets that follow like a tedious argument Of insidious intent To lead you to an overwhelming question … Oh, do not ask, “What is it?” Let us go and make our visit.
      The images of cheap hotels, and comparing the sky to an unconscious patient, were offensive to critics in the early 20th century. They saw nothing beautiful or elegant in this prose. The poem proceeds in the stream-of-consciousness form and is full of literary and classical allusions that belie this “crassness.” The Waste Land followed soon after, an elegiac of disillusionment, followed by The Hollow Men, which contains Eliot’s most quoted stanza:
      This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.
      Less interesting for the casual reader, but as important historically, is Eliot’s literary criticism. He is perhaps the most famous American literary critic, having been an enormous influence on the school of New Criticism. Tradition and the Individual Talent, his essay arguing for the appreciation of art in the context of art history, is still required reading in most college English programs.

      An American poet who expatriated to Great Britain, Nobel Prize recipient Thomas Stearns Eliot, better known as T.S. Eliot (1888–1965), is widely considered one of the 20th century's most influenti...

      LE CORBUSIER (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965) Swiss-French architect, designer, writer, and modern artist. Main accomplishments:
      • Laid the foundation for what would become the Bauhaus Movement, a Classical architectural style of design that eventually involved into the International Movement.
      • Oversaw the design of over 60 buildings, including the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Palace of Justice in Chandigarh, and the Palace of the Soviets in Moscow.
      • Wrote several treatises about architectural design that pioneered new ideas, involving the Modulor system and his famous “five points of architecture.”
      • Recipient of the Frank P. Brown Medal in 1961
        Arguably the most influential architect, designer, and urban planner of the 20th century, Swiss-born Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, 1887–1965), played a decisive role in the development of modern architecture representative of the industrial age. EARLY LIFE The central figure of Modern Architecture—not its first architect, but its unquestioned master—was Le Corbusier, the Swiss-born Frenchman, who changed his name from Charles-Edouard Jeanneret. Born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, Charles-Edouard was the second son of dial maker Edouard Jeanneret and musician Jeannerct-Perrct. He began school at the early age of 4, and at 13 entered the local school of Arts and Crafts. Although the school’s entrance examination typically took up to three days to complete, Jeanneret finished it within the first. Much of Le Corbusier’s later style could be traced back to the influence of his early childhood. His family tree dated back to the Cathars who fled the Jura Mountains during the 12th-century Albigensian Wars, and his family maintained an enthusiasm for the mountains that Jeanneret inherited which combined with their Calvinist beliefs and natural love of the arts, left a significant impact on Le Corbusier’s later architectural designs. But the single greatest influence on Le Corbusier’s early life was his teacher at a local art school, Charles L’Eplattenier. L’Eplattenier, whom Jeanneret affectionately referred to as “My Master,” was an enthusiastic proponent of Art Nouveau and taught its principles to a young Jeanneret. It was L’Eplattenier who first recognized Jeanneret’s natural affinity for architectural design, and tasked him with his first project. On L’Eplattenier’s advice, Jeanneret spent three years traveling throughout central Europe and the Mediterranean, teaching himself principles of design that he picked up during his journey. After returning to Paris at the age of 30, Jeanneret was introduced to Amédée Ozenfant, a painter and designer who soon became his artistic collaborator. Ozenfant introduced Jeanneret to Purism, a style of design that rejected the complications of Cubism in favor of simple geometric everyday objects. Ozenfant and Jeanneret, together with the poet Paul Dermée, founded the L’Esprit Nouveau, an avant-garde Purist journal that advocated efficiency and functionalism over flair and style. While writing several articles together for the journal, the pair decided to begin using pseudonyms; it was Ozenfant who suggested that Jeanneret take up the name “Le Corbusier” after a paternal ancestor. L’Esprit Nouveau served as a springboard for the beginning of Le Corbusier’s rise to architectural fame. In 1922, he partnered with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, and together the two opened a studio marking the beginning of Le Corbusier’s first period of work, which lasted until World War II’s interruption in 1940. When the war ended in 1945, Le Corbusier’s second period of work began as he assisted in the reconstruction of France. This period would continue until his untimely death in 1965. GROUNDBREAKING WORK In the early twentieth century, artists and art movements didn't limit themselves to painting, sculpture, and the like. Futurists rebelled against "pastism" (the reverence for tradition and history) and glorified war as an artistic expression. Others called for art that could be smelled instead of just seen and touched. Modernists responded to the changing times in the years after the Industrial Revolution by introducing changes to art, in all forms. In architecture especially, modernism wasn't just about looks and aesthetics—new building materials had become available, skyscrapers were born, and using old designs would make as much sense as building a log cabin out of cement. Le Corbusier’s approach to architecture might be called holistic now: not content merely to design buildings, he also worked as an influential furniture designer and was one of the first serious urban planners. Even before Henry Ford, Le Corbusier realized that the popularity of the automobile would change the shape of cities, and the relationship between where people lived and where they worked. A pragmatist, Le Corbusier foresaw a future filled with apartment buildings and parking lots—and applied the artist's gift for aesthetic not to making things look pleasing, but to designing buildings and cities that would avoid the overcrowding that was such a problem in cities still adjusting to modernity. That was typical of his practical approach. The rationalism of the century pervaded his work, which removed ornamentation and useless decoration from both buildings and furniture, focusing on clean lines and a strong sense of function. He didn't just set an example; he wrote extensively about his work, which helped to further his influence. His Modulor system (outlined in two books published in 1948 and 1955) treated architectural design from an elegantly mathematical perspective, using the Fibonacci sequence, the golden ratio, and the proportions of the human body to create spaces in harmony with human needs and activities. His essay collection Towards an Architecture (Vers une architecture), was published in 1923, and set forth the tenets that would guide the construction of his most famous work, the Villa Savoye. The villa, in the suburbs of Paris, was made of reinforced concrete—the material of the new age—and combined classic and modern elements. At the ground level, columns both supported and elevated the building, permitting the garden to continue to grow underneath—while more garden area was set aside on the flat roof. The windows were oriented horizontally instead of vertically, for more even lighting and a less interrupted view of the yard. And Le Corbusier's use of the columns instead of interior load-bearing walls meant that each floor could be divided according to the desired rooms, treated on their own terms. Like most of Le Corbusier's buildings, the Villa was predominantly white, with little decoration. His writings often called for white houses—white was functional, white was practical, and colors only distracted from the landscape. Many of these ideas failed to take hold in Europe, but became instrumental in American and Soviet urban planning. His dislike of "decoration" and plain aesthetics were an irritant to many of his fellow architects, including the equally famous Frank Lloyd Wright. Le Corbusier, like many Modernists and the Futurists in general, supported industry and industrialism. His aesthetics borrowed ideas from modern ocean liners, while his pragmatics drew on the opportunistic utilitarianism of the factory. Of course, he's often criticized for this: today's featureless blocky buildings, winding hospital corridors, and laundromat-like cafeterias all owe a debt to Corbusier. He virtually invented the modern-day apartment building, an affordable necessity for an urban age, but also a deeply impersonal living space compared to the family homes of previous generations. While he called for public parks and streets organized according to a grid, he also proposed the demolition of older districts, in order to replace their antiquated buildings with modern ones. END OF AN ERA Le Corbusier died in 1965 at the age of 77, having suffered a heart attack during a morning swim in the Mediterranean. His influence may not have always taken hold the way he envisioned, but its hold is undeniable. His writing was as significant to his legacy as his buildings were—as Wright remarked, "Now that [Le Corbusier] has finished one building, he'll go write four books about it."

      Arguably the most influential architect, designer and urban planner of the 20th century, Swiss-born Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, 1887–1965), played a decisive role in the development o...

      ERWIN SCHRÖDINGER (August 12, 1887 - January 4, 1961) One of the fathers of quantum mechanics, he made revolutionary advances in physics. Main Accomplishments:
      • Won the Nobel Prize in physics for his Schrödinger equation (1933).
      • Earned the Max Planck Medal, the highest award in German physics. (1937).
      • Taught at prestigious universities such as Princeton, Oxford, and the University of Vienna.
        Best known for his cat thought experiment, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger contributed significantly to fields of wave mechanics and wave equation. In 1933, he co-won the Nobel Prize for Physics for the introduction of Schrödinger’s wave, which is still widely used in modern quantum theory. EARLY LIFE Born in Vienna, Austria, on August 12, 1887, Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger was the only child of Rudolph and Georgine Schrödinger. Schrödinger’s father was interested in a variety of subjects. He earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry, studied botany, published a series of essays on plant phylogeny, and even took to painting. Schrödinger’s years in Gymnasium provided him with a deep affection for poetry and the sciences. In 1906 he enrolled at the University of Vienna, where he studied physics under Franz S. Exner and Friedrich Hasenöhrl. He obtained his doctorate in 1910. Following his studies, he took a research position at the university’s Second Physics Institute.  CAREER After serving as an officer in World War I in the Austrian artillery, Schrödinger took a professorship at the University of Zurich, where he remained for the next six years. As a professor of theoretical physics, Schrödinger's pupils regarded him as a fantastic instructor. He performed research on thermodynamics, atomic spectra, and the heat of particular solids. It was during this time that he married his wife, Annemarie Bertel. Schrödinger's personal life was confusing. While he was married to Bertel, he fathered a daughter with the wife of a colleague. He lived in a household with two different women as romantic partners. While in Ireland, he fathered two more daughters with another woman.  In 1926, he published the foundational articles of quantum wave mechanics, the first being, “Quantisierung als Eigenwertproblem” or “Quantization as an Eigenvalue Problem.” Through this paper and those that followed, Schrödinger built upon previous work performed by Louis de Broglie, who claimed that particles of matter sometimes act like waves in certain circumstances. He described this behavior through his famous Schrödinger equation.  His theories drove controversy in the scientific community, and in response to this criticism, Schrödinger developed a thought experiment popularly known as Schrödinger’s cat. In this experiment, he placed a cat in a steel box. There is a minuscule amount of radioactivity within the box, such that there is an equal probability of an atom decaying or not decaying. If the atom decays, it released a vial of poisonous gas inside the box, killing the cat. In this state, the wave function of the atom is in two states: decay, and non-decay. This means that it also traps the cat into two states: dead and alive.  Schrödinger thought that the outcome of this thought experiment was quite fantastic. Many physicists at the time pondered how this cat could be in the superposition of both death and life, which is a question that popular science fans and physicists still ponder to this day. In 1933, Schrödinger was a professor at the University of Berlin and served among great intellectuals such as Albert Einstein. Hitler rose to power that same year, and Schrödinger left Germany for England. While staying there, he earned a fellowship at the University of Oxford. He then traveled to the United States and lectured at Princeton University in 1934 and was offered a tenured position at the prestigious institution; however, he rejected the offer. He traveled around the world lecturing at various universities such as the University of Graz in his home country of Austria and Ghent University in Belgium. In 1954, Schrödinger wrote his book Nature and the Greeks. This book traces modern science's roots back to ancient Greece and the foundations of Western thought. In this book, he expressed his apprehension to uphold science as the only means to seek answers to the mysteries of human existence. He expounded upon this metaphysical idea in later works.  After working at the University of Ghent, Schrödinger started working at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin. He became Director of the School for Theoretical Physics and remained there until his retirement in 1955.  It was in Dublin that Schrödinger performed research in the philosophy and history of science, as well as physics. Here he wrote, What Is Life, a book that attempted to explain how to use quantum physics to explain the formidability of genetic structures. This book remains one of the rudimentary works on this topic.  In 1956, Schrödinger retired from the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies and returned to the University of Vienna, taking the position of professor emeritus.  END OF LIFE After contracting tuberculosis in his seventies, Schrödinger died on January 4, 1961, in Vienna. In 1993, scholars dedicated the Erwin Schrödinger International Institute for Mathematical Physics to him in Vienna. Along with this humbling honor, they named the larger crater on the far side of the moon after him as well. He is immortalized and remembered as one of the fathers of quantum mechanics. 

      Best known for his cat thought experiment, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger (1887 – 1961) contributed significantly to fields of wave mechanics and wave equation. In 1933, he co-won the...

      NIELS BOHR (October 7th, 1885 – November 18th, 1962)  
      Danish physicist.
      Main accomplishments:
      • Won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1922, the 1957 Atoms for Peace Award, and the Copley Medal and the Max Planck Medal.
      • Developed the complementarity principle and the correspondence principle.
      • Developed breakthrough atomic theories of electron movement.
        One of the most influential physicists of the 20th-century, Denmark’s Niels Bohr made significant contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, the work for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. EARLY LIFE 
      Bohr was born in Copenhagen, Denmark to a Baptist father Christian Bohr, a physiology academic, and a Jewish mother, Ellen Adler. Christian supported Bohr's and his brother's interests in physics and math, and Ellen came from a distinguished educational family as well. Not much is known about his childhood other than he attended Gammelholm Grammar School in 1903. He attended Copenhagen University, earning master's and doctorate degrees in physics in 1909 and 1911. Later that year, he traveled to Cambridge, England, to study under scientist J. J. Thomson.
      While at Copenhagen, Bohr entered a science competition. He worked in his father's lab investigating oscillating fluid jets to discover a theory of surface tension. He received a gold medal and his work published in the 1908 Transactions of the Royal Society. From this beginning, his work became more theoretical rather than practical, including his doctoral thesis. It is today a classic on the properties of metals in coherence with electrons, and was when Bohr first discovered Planck's quantum theory of radiation.
      Radioactivity became his primary interest, and in 1913, his work on the structure of the atom based on Rutherford's nucleus discovery was published in the Philosophical Magazine. In 1912, Bohr married Margrethe Norlund. They had four children, one of whom grew up to be the well-known physicist Aage Bohr.
      Bohr taught at Manchester's Victoria University for a few years before transferring to be a professor at Copenhagen University in 1916. By 1920, he had established the Institute of Theoretical Physics there. While Bohr was researching at the Cavendish Laboratory, Thomson was not supportive of Bohr's ideas. However, Bohr expanded Ernest Rutherford's theory about atomic structure by including electron movement. Discovering the orbits of electrons and how they carry energy won him the Nobel Prize in 1922. His discoveries are the foundation of quantum mechanics, which he was the first to apply to molecular and atomic structures.
      His two central concepts include the correspondence principle and the complementary principle. The first holds that new theories must apply to atomic phenomena in order to correspond with old theories. The latter refers to waves and particles being separate but complementary, though never both true at the same time.
      In 1927, Bohr worked with Werner Heisenberg and presented their ideas at an Italian conference. Albert Einstein disagreed with some of Bohr's theories, and within the scientific community, their conversations were well known. Bohr contributed to the liquid droplet theory in the 1930s as well as nuclear fission.
      During WWII, Bohr took his opportunity to flee Denmark because of his Jewish roots. He had been sheltering German Jewish physicists with asylum in Copenhagen University, sending many to the United States. When Germany invaded Denmark, Bohr took his family to Sweden and eventually the U.S., where he worked on the nuclear Manhattan Project in Nevada.
      By the end of the war, Bohr returned to Denmark and advocated peace around nuclear weapons. He envisioned a world of cultural exchange rather than isolationist. He was known for his humanitarian ethics in nuclear development, particularly in light of his principles on the complementary and correspondent.
      In 1954, Bohr contributed to the founding of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. He established the Atoms for Peace Conference in 1955. He received the Atoms for Peace Award in 1957 for nuclear ethics and responsibility.
      On November 18th, 1962, Bohr suffered a stroke. He died in Copenhagen.

      One of the most influential physicists of the 20th-century, Denmark’s Niels Bohr (1885–1962) made significant contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, the work for wh...

      FRANZ KAFKA (July 3rd, 1883 – June 3rd, 1924) 
      Bohemian surrealist author.
      Main accomplishments:
      • Wrote over 45 short stories, novels, and plays, including The Trial (1914), The Metamorphosis (1915), and A Country Doctor (1919).
      • Pioneered his own dark, bizarre writing style that frequently dealt with black humor and absurdist situations; his writing would eventually become the basis of the term “Kafkaesque.”
        The dark, surrealist writings of Franz Kafka may not have attracted much attention during his lifetime, but today he is remembered as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. The author of such famous works as The Metamorphosis and The Trial was a sickly and frequently miserable man whose stark personality is reflected in his bleak, somber works. Despite the brief length of his career, Kafka left behind a legacy of surrealist writing that stands alongside the works of Kurt Vonnegut and Pierre Naville as cornerstones of the 20th-century literary canon. EARLY LIFE 
      Kafka was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Prague, Bohemia, in what is now the Czech Republic; at the time, Prague was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His father, Hermann Kafka, was an overbearing and oppressive man whose expectations Kafka tried and failed to meet throughout his life. As a Jewish family in early 20th-century Europe, the Kafkas faced the constant threat of discrimination. Hermann, however, was a self-made man who intentionally made the family learn German in order to integrate with the mainstream Prague society. As a result, Kafka spent his life attempting to reconcile his Jewish identity with the increasingly anti-Jewish sentiment growing around him.
      As the oldest—and, after the deaths of his brothers in infancy, only—son, Kafka suffered the brunt of the pressure of his father’s expectations which combined with the strict rigors of his early education, had a profound impact on shaping his nervous, anxiety-ridden personality. As part of his father’s desire for social prominence, Kafka, and his younger sisters were educated in German schools. Franz was an astute student, and in 1902, he graduated from the Altstädter Gymnasium. He attended the Charles-Ferdinand University of Prague intending to study chemistry, only to switch to law after the first two weeks. It was while at Charles-Ferdinand that Kafka met his lifelong friend Max Brod, a fellow law student, and native of Prague.
      After earning his law degree in 1906, Kafka entered the soul-crushing world of bureaucracy, taking various clerk positions before finding work with the Workers’ Accident Insurance Institute. Although he was a hard worker and got on well with his co-workers, Kafka often referred to the work as a “bread job” he took only to pay the bills. His personal life was plagued by the insecurities and anxieties instilled in him since childhood; although, by all accounts, he was regarded as pleasant and polite, he was terrified of being perceived as ugly and rude.
      Writing had been Kafka’s escape since childhood, when he used to write short plays for his sisters to perform. He was highly critical of his work, however, and frequently destroyed it. Were it not for the encouragement of Brod, it can be assumed that Kafka’s literary talent would never have been revealed to the world. It was in 1908 that Kafka was published for the first time, submitting eight short stories to Hyperion; these stories would form the bulk of his “Meditations” collection. Tentatively, Kafka began to write more.
      Kafka’s short stories, indicative of their time, depicted the loneliness of a man who saw himself as a mere cog in a vast, uncaring machine. His works drew attention for their bleak tone and stark outlook, particularly in regards to the same government bureaucracy that Kafka himself was immersed in daily. In 1912, after growing friction between Kafka and his father, he began to write his most famous work, the short story The Metamorphosis. In the story, Gregor Samsa awakens one morning to discover he has transformed into a giant bug, placing a tremendous burden on the family that must now care for him. Metamorphosis is an excellent symbol of the self-loathing and bitterness that Kafka was experiencing at the time.
      The Metamorphosis was followed in 1914 by Kafka’s second-most famous work, The Trial, in which the central character is placed on trial without being told of his crime and shuffled between the uncaring offices of the law. Again we see Kafka railing against a dominating, unyielding higher forcethe parallels to his father are not difficult to spot. Kafka’s father issues would finally hit their peak in 1919, then he wrote a Letter to his Father, a furious diatribe against Hermann’s emotional abuse. Kafka gave the letter to his mother, who never delivered it; Hermann never read its contents. DEATH
      Two years earlier in 1917, Kafka began to suffer a debilitating malady: tuberculosis. He was cared for by his sister Ottla, and the parallels to his character Samsa’s situation must have unnerved him. Hoping to escape his family, he briefly moved to Berlin in 1923, but his worsening disease forced him to return to Prague for treatment.
      Tuberculosis ravaged Kafka’s throat and made it impossible for him to swallow food; lacking any other method of feeding himself, he died of starvation at the age of 40 in 1924. Before his passing, he requested that Brod, as his editor, destroy the body of Kafka’s work. Unfortunately for Kafka, but, fortunately, for the world, Brod refused his friend’s wishes and instead chose to publish the rest of Kafka’s works after his death.

      The dark, surrealist writings of Franz Kafka (1883 -1924) may not have attracted much attention during his lifetime, but today he is remembered as one of the most influential authors of the 20th centu...

      JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES (June 5, 1883 – April 21, 1946) British economist and philosopher. Creator of the school of Keynesian economics. Main accomplishments:
      • Wrote several articles, treatises, and books, including The Economic Consequences Of Peace (1919) and The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936).
      • Provided the groundwork for the economic policies used by most major industrialized nations from the 1940s through the 70s. While his ideas fell out of favor in the latter half of the 20th century, they have recently made a comeback in the form of policies enacted by US Presidents Bush and Obama.
      • Prominent member of the “Bloomsbury Group,” a collection of English writers, artists,  and other intellectuals, whose work had significantly influenced the culture, sciences, and politics of the 20th century.
      EARLY LIFE The son of an economics lecturer and author Florence Ada Brown, John Maynard Keynes, was born to a semi-wealthy British family in Cambridge. Growing up, he excelled in science and mathematics, becoming the envy of his peers. He attended King’s College in Cambridge, becoming President of the University Liberal Club, and graduated with a degree in mathematics. Keynes found his first job in late 1906, becoming a clerk in the London India Office. While at first, he enjoyed his work, he soon found it tedious and used his frequent spare time to investigate probability theory. It was most likely his work at the India Office that inspired his first book, Indian Currency and Finance, published in 1913. In the same year, he accepted a position with the Royal Commission to investigate Indian finances. Although he married a Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova in 1925, Keynes carried on open homosexual relationships with several male colleagues during his time at King’s. He had a serious relationship with a fellow member of the Bloomsbury Group, the painter Duncan Grant, who would later serve as the best man at his wedding to Lydia. FUNDING THE WAR 1914 saw the beginning of the First World War, which wreaked havoc on world finances and upset Keynes both professionally and personally. "I am absolutely and completely desolated,” he wrote to English biographer and critic G.L. Strachey. “It is utterly unbearable to see day by day the youths going away, first to boredom and discomfort, and then to slaughter." A year after the war began, Keynes took a position with Her Majesty’s Treasury. He proved to be a godsend for the Allied financiers: his bold and innovative economic strategies, including the invention of allied war loans, led to universal acclaim from his peers. When the war ended with Germany’s defeat, Keynes was horrified by the terms of Germany’s surrender. British diplomat Harold Nicholson wrote that Keynes considered the “German Treaty” to be “immoral and incompetent,” at one point even threatening to resign his position in protest. Keynes fervently believed that the proposed Treaty of Versailles —the provisions of which required Germany to disarm, give up some territories, and pay reparations to certain countries—was far too harsh and would lead to disastrous consequences - a view that did not leave him popular with his superiors in the government. Although we now know that Keynes was correct in his predictions, he was unable to exert enough influence to prevent the Treaty’s enactment, and he eventually returned to Cambridge in disgust. Despite his own attempts to let go, Keynes could not withhold his anger at the Treaty, and in 1919, the same year that the Treaty was signed, he wrote The Economic Consequences of Peace, the book that made him internationally famous. This work was heavily damning of the Treaty, which outraged the conservatives, who believed that Keynes was defending the same monsters who had started the war in the first place. Consequences virtually predicted World War II well ahead of its time, with Keynes writing: “If we aim deliberately at the impoverishment of Central Europe, vengeance, I dare predict, will not be limp.” The book’s publication made Britain’s government wary of Keynes, and it was not until World War II had passed that his predictions were given their due. THE GREAT DEPRESSION Since Consequences and Keynes’ subsequent reformative tracts left him unpopular in the government, he decided to turn to the private sector. He took on many different jobs at once and continued to write for magazines and newspapers while simultaneously making his name in London as a member of the Bloomsbury group. The rise of the Great Depression saw Keynes writing financial advice for both Britain and the United States. While not implemented, it was seriously considered by both nations and most likely laid the bedrock for future use of Keynesian ideas. Indeed, Keynesian economics has been credited as the theoretical basis for Roosevelt’s New Deal, which in turn led to the development of modern programs such as Social Security. Keynes was fiercely critical of Britain’s use of the gold standard—another unpopular opinion, but one he crusaded nevertheless. Again, he was ultimately unsuccessful in his efforts, as Winston Churchill eventually restored Britain to the gold standard in 1925—a move that Churchill would later refer to as “the greatest mistake of my life.” It wasn’t until six years later that the British government eventually acted on Keynes’ advice and devalued sterling by 20%. LATER LIFE A heart attack in 1939 diminished Keynes’ ability to speak out during World War II as he had during its predecessor, but he wrote several letters railing against the internment by Britain of Jews fleeing Germany. He also made several trips to America to negotiate on Britain’s behalf. During this time, he was involved in matters of international currency, a discussion that would eventually lead to the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In 1942, he was awarded the title of Baron and took a seat in the House of Lords. The final challenge of Keynes’ life was persuading America to lend postwar financial assistance to Britain, which had suffered heavy losses during the war. Despite his own frequently failing health, Keynes succeeded in his negotiations, and America granted a generous loan to Britain that may have saved the country. Although upset at how he saw America—as taking advantage of its strong economic position to exert influence over other countries—Keynes did not have much time left to address this issue. He died in bed in 1946, but his ideas would continue to influence global economics for at least another 30 years—and have seen a resurgence in the 21st century as well.

      The policies and tactics developed by John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946) in the early part of the 20th century continue to impact the global economy today, after having been revived during the 2008 f...

      IGOR STRAVINSKY (June 17, 1882 - April 6, 1971) Russian-American composer, pianist, and conductor. Main accomplishments:
      • Composed over 120 works ranging from operas (The Nightingale in 1914 and Oedipus Rex in 1927), ballets (The Firebird in 1910 and The Rite Of Spring in 1913), and orchestras (Symphony In C in 1940 and Symphony In Three Movements in 1945), among others.
      • Winner of 4 Grammy Awards, including a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the 1959 Léonie Sonning Music Prize.
      • Embodied the neoclassical style and consistently experimented with new techniques, revitalizing European orchestral music in the process.
        Igor Stravinsky was one of the most influential composers of the 20th-century. His career spanned from the early twentieth century when he composed ballets inspired by Russian myth and the era’s revived interest in distinctly Russian culture, to the experimentation in compositional styles that followed the Second World War. Though born in the nineteenth century, he lived and worked long enough to see his works inspire progressive rock music, just as he had been inspired by earlier masters like Bach and Tchaikovsky. His importance in the history of music is unquestionable. EARLY LIFE A lonely but brilliant boy, Igor Stravinsky grew up in St Petersburg, Russia, and found early solace in music. Though his father was a singer, young Igor pursued music theory and instruments, following in the footsteps of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who died when Igor was 11. Tchaikovsky was the first major composer to approach Russian music with its broader European context in mind, and that blend was one Stravinsky would continue as he became older. He became a lawyer at his parents' insistence, but trained with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the brilliant composer (one of "The Five," a group of Russian nationalist composers) who recognized the young man's genius. His early work greatly resembles Rimsky-Korsakov's, though Stravinsky's own compositional voice developed rapidly. After the 1908 premiere of Feu D'artifice (Fireworks), a five-minute orchestral fantasy written for the wedding of Rimsky-Korsakov's daughter Nadezhda, Stravinsky was commissioned by the director of the Ballets Russes to compose a full-length ballet. Rimsky-Korsakov had died between Feu D'artifice 's composition and its premiere and Stravinsky gradually came into his own. The ballet was L'Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird), still one of his best-known pieces. The Firebird takes its name from the famous mythological creature from Russian legend; like many artists in the early twentieth century, Stravinsky was interested in combining the traditional and distinct ideas of his country with those of an increasingly global culture. The story of The Firebird is reminiscent of Russian hero-tales: Prince Ivan catches the Firebird in the realm of the evil immortal Kashchei. The Firebird promises a favor in exchange for its life. Ivan falls in love with one of the princesses of the realm, whom Kashchei won't permit him to marry, and the Firebird helps to defeat the evil wizard, freeing the realm. EARLY CAREER AND RISE TO FAME The ballet was a success, and Stravinsky left Russia to pursue his career in Europe. He wrote three more ballets for the Ballets Russes, completing his Russian period: Petrushka, Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), and Pulcinella. The Rite of Spring is especially famous. While The Firebird drew on Russian mythology and fairy tale, The Rite was grounded more specifically in pre-Christian Russian religion and pagan rituals. The choreography called for rhythmic pelvic motions; the music was complex and intense, and the audience was shocked. Comments were shouted at the female dancers, while arguments and fistfights broke out among audience members, some of whom defended the piece as avant-garde, while others accused it of being brazenly sexual and burlesque. The disagreements and general mayhem escalated into a riot, and the police were unable to contain it—but the ballet went on amidst the clamor. Stravinsky's fame was sealed, and the piece was the apex of his Russian period, though he composed a few more pieces influenced by Russian folk motifs in the next few years. Pulcinella, though, began his Neo-Classical period. Now that he was established as Russia's first truly twentieth-century composer, he looked backwards to the great classical composers in emulation, stripping away the large orchestration of his ballet pieces and focusing on piano and wind instruments. This is the longest period of Stravinsky's work, lasting some thirty years. Much of his work recalled classical themes—the Orpheus symphony and Oedipus Rex are explicitly focused on the mythology of ancient Greece, to which Russia had considered itself as much an heir as western Europe was of Rome. His 1951 opera The Rake's Progress reflected his voracious reading and the wandering of his tastes—in recent years he had become especially interested in English literature, and the opera's libretto was written by the Anglo-American poet W. H. Auden (based on the eighteenth-century paintings by William Hogarth). LATER WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE In the 1950s and 60s, Stravinsky experimented with dodecaphony, Arnold Schoenberg's compositional technique in which all twelve notes of the chromatic scale are given equal importance and works cannot be said to be "in a key." Many of his later works used Biblical themes the way he had earlier used Russian folklore and classical motifs. Meanwhile, for years Stravinsky had romanced two women—his wife Katerina and his mistress Vera. Though Katerina learned of the affair, there seemed to be nothing she could do about it. When she contracted tuberculosis, it infected both Stravinsky and their daughter Ludmila. Ludmila and Katerina died; Stravinsky survived after months spent in the hospital and moved to the United States soon after, where he married Vera. It was in the United States that he met Auden, as he became involved with the artistic community in Los Angeles, and Stravinsky had a number of high-profile affairs but remained married (happily, by all accounts) to Vera for the rest of his life. He died in 1971. His work is well-known for its use in movies and its influence on later artists: both "The Firebird" and "The Rite of Spring" are featured in Walt Disney's Fantasia cartoons, and his Russian period proved profoundly influential on the progressive rock movement that was building in momentum at the time of his death. He's one of the few classical composers to receive a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys. SUGGESTED READING [table id=43 /]

      Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971) was one of the most influential composers of the 20th-century. His career spanned from the early twentieth century when he composed ballets inspired by Russian myth and...