(Photo by Eddie Boyd, from Flickr.com) I was disturbed and entranced while in Prague to visit a museum dedicated to the life and work of Czech writer Franz Kafka (1883-1924). In describing Central and Eastern Europe's past, I fear he may be describing the modern world's authoritarian future. His letters, diaries, and photographs are on... Continue Reading →
John Dos Passos, in The Theme Is Freedom (1956), writes about Spain in a way that resonates in modern America. Jay Nordlinger reports: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/434896/re-encountering-john-dos-passos-part-iii
Cervantes' classic Don Quixote turns 400 this year. "One must live life in a genuine way, passionately, in spite of what other people think. That is the central tenet of "Don Quixote," according to Professor Ilan Stavans. Stavans is not alone in his love for that book. A few years ago, the Norwegian Academy polled... Continue Reading →
It is inspiring to read the biography of J.K. Rowling and to imagine her sitting in the corner of a cafe in Edinburgh writing out the first Harry Potter novel that would catapult her from divorced, depressed young mother on welfare to one of the most successful writers in the world. Drill Deeper: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._K._Rowling Literary... Continue Reading →
"Brig-a-Doon" (Bridge over the River Doon, built in the early 15th century) near Robert Burns' childhood home and museum, that was the inspiration for the mystical and mythical Brigadoon, which was turned into a famous Broadway musical. Lucia on a rainy Scottish day at the Brig-a-Doon. This was the setting for Robert Burns' poem Tam O'Shanter.... Continue Reading →
In our summer travels, my wife and I kept running into the literary legacy of George Orwell, the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair. In Barcelona, we learned that in the 1930s, he covered the Spanish civil war and wrote a book, Homage to Catalonia. In the 1940s, he published the classics, Animal Farm, and 1984,... Continue Reading →
Lucia writes: "We spent a fascinating day in the company of Damien Brennan, president of the Yeats Society who has really made the poet's life and works his life work. He knew everything and had fascinating stories about his own family's life in County Sligo since 1824. He took us to spots central to Yeat's... Continue Reading →
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dmj3HjtdtQQ "Leo Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' is not only a historical novel but also an exercise in theoretical history. Using the example of Napoleon and his march on Moscow in 1812, Tolstoy attempts to show that the role of history's great figures is 'superficial' and 'illusory'."