Legend has it that as soon as Thoth, an Egyptian god, invented writing, he shared his discovery with King Thamus. But the King was all but impressed with the new system because he believed that it would cause forgetfulness in students. Since they would no longer need to rely on their internal recall system, they would begin to depend on these external marks. The King saw it as an unnatural intrusion.
But what was actually unleashed with the invention of writing? Just take a look around you and notice how people are constantly writing. Whether it’s on paper, on a computer or on a phone, writing has become more important as civilization progresses.
Thousands of years ago, artists took to etching and painting images of the animals they saw around them. Since paper had not been invented as yet, their works of art were made in the... read more
A selection of Beethoven’s letters from the compilation by Dr. Ludwig Nohl and translated by Lady Grace Wallace. (Summary by Scott D. Farquhar)
FROM THE COLLECTION OF DR. LUDWIG NOHL.
LETTERS TO THE ARCHDUKE RUDOLPH, CARDINAL ARCHBISHOP OF OLMÜTZ, K.W., FROM THE COLLECTION OF DR. LUDWIG RITTER VON KÖCHEL.
TRANSLATED BY LADY WALLACE.
WITH A PORTRAIT AND FAC SIMILE.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
OLIVER DITSON & CO., 277 WASHINGTON STREET.
NEW YORK: C.H. DITSON & CO.
Since undertaking the translation of Dr. Ludwig Nohl's valuable edition of "Beethoven's Letters," an additional collection has been published by Dr. Ludwig Ritter von Köchel, consisting of many interesting letters addressed by Beethoven to his illustrious pupil, H.R.H. the Archduke Rudolph, Cardinal Archbishop of Olmütz. These I have inserted in chronological order, and marked with the letter K., in order to distinguish them from the correspondence edited by Dr. Nohl. I have only omitted a few brief notes, consisting merely of apologies for non attendance on the Archduke.... read more
Sky Island (1912) was the second of three titles written by Baum featuring a spunky girl from California, Trot, and her companion, the old sailorman, Cap’n Bill. Baum had hoped to end the Oz series in 1910 and the following year he introduced Trot and Cap’n Bill in The Sea Fairies. In Sky Island, they journey to an island in the sky by means of an enchanted umbrella belonging to Button Bright, a character who first appeared in The Road to Oz (1909). The trio is then captured by the Boolaroo of the Blues, a monarch who is both comical and dangerous, escape to the country of the “Pinks”, and eventually regain the magic umbrella and return back to earth. This is one of Baum’s best fantasy books and contains enough not-so-veiled commentary on race and politics to interest adults as well. However, it (and The Sea Fairies) did not sell as well as the Oz books and Baum resumed writing them in 1913. He subsequently brought Trot and Cap’n Bill to Oz in 1915 in The Scarecrow of Oz.
(Summary by Judy Bieber)... read more
Diary of a Madman (1835; Russian: Записки сумасшедшего, Zapiski sumasshedshevo) is a farcical short story by Nikolai Gogol. Along with The Overcoat and The Nose, Diary of a Madman is considered to be one of Gogol's greatest short stories. The tale centers on the life of a minor civil servant during the repressive era of Nicholas I. Following the format of a diary, the story shows the descent of the protagonist, Poprishchin, into insanity. Diary of a Madman, the only one of Gogol's works written in first person, follows diary-entry format.
By using the diary form for his story, Gogol sets for himself the task of limiting the point of view to first person while, at the same time, showing the progressive nature of the clerk’s madness and the reasons for it.
The clerk is a copyist living in poverty, subjected to and buffeted about by the whims of his superiors in the hierarchical order, without access to comforts or solace. Because of his daily frustrations, he withdraws to an imaginative world where he hears dogs speaking and reads their letters, where he fantasizes about his position, his goals, and his relationship with the director’s daughter. Since his life is so circumscribed, he experiences feelings of terrible impotence magnified by his reading that a woman could accede to ... read more
Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev (1818-1883) was a great Russian novelist and playwright. His novel Fathers and Sons is regarded as one of major works of 19th-century fiction. After the standard schooling for a of a gentleman's family, He studied for one year at the University of Moscow and then moved to the University of St Petersburg, focusing on the classics, Russian literature and philology. Turgenev was impressed with German Central-European society, and believed that Russia could best improve itself by imitating the West. Like many of his educated contemporaries, he was particularly opposed to serfdom. He first made his name with A Sportsman's Sketches, also known as Sketches From a Hunter's Album; or, Notes of a Hunter. He wrote several short novels like The Diary of a Superfluous Man, Faust and The Lull. In them Turgenev expressed the anxieties and hopes of Russians of his generation. Amongst his other works are Liza: A Nest of Nobles, The Jew and Other Stories, On the Eve, A Reckless Character and Other Stories, The Torrents of Spring,... read more
Ulysses is a novel by James Joyce, first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on February 2, 1922, in Paris. It is considered one of the most important works of Modernist literature. Ulysses chronicles the passage through Dublin by its main character, Leopold Bloom, during an ordinary day, June 16, 1904. The title alludes to the hero of Homer's Odyssey (Latinised into Ulysses), and there are many parallels, both implicit and explicit, between the two works (e.g., the correspondences between Leopold Bloom and Odysseus, Molly Bloom and Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus and Telemachus).
Ulysses begins at about 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 16, 1904, in Dublin, Ireland, when one of its major participants, young Stephen Dedalus, awakens and interacts with his two housemates, the egotistical medical student, Buck Mulligan, and the overly reserved English student, Haines. The narrative ends some twenty-four hours later, when Stephen, having politely refused lodgings at the home of two other principal characters, Leopold and Molly Bloom, discovers he is no longer welcome to stay with Mulligan and Haines.... read more
The Souls of Black Folk is a well-known work of African-American literature by activist W.E.B. Du Bois. The book, published in 1903, contains several essays on race, some of which had been previously published in Atlantic Monthly magazine. Du Bois drew from his own experiences to develop this groundbreaking work on being African-American in American society. Outside of its notable place in African-American history, The Souls of Black Folk also holds an important place in social science as one of the first works to deal with sociology.
W.E.B. Du Bois was the foremost black intellectual of his time. The Souls of Black Folk (1903), his most influential work, is a collection of four beautifully written essays, by turns lyrical, historical, and autobiographical. Here, Du Bois records the... read more
The Iron Heel is a dystopian novel by American writer Jack London, first published in 1908. Generally considered to be "the earliest of the modern Dystopian," it chronicles the rise of an oligarchic tyranny in the United States. It is arguably the novel in which Jack London's socialist views are most explicitly on display. A forerunner of soft science fiction novels and stories of the 1960s and 1970s, the book stresses future changes in society and politics while paying much less attention to... read more
Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Polish-born writer Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski). Before its 1902 publication, it appeared as a three-part series (1899) in Blackwood's Magazine. It is widely regarded as a significant work of English literature and part of the Western canon.
This highly symbolic story is actually a story within a story, or frame narrative. It follows Marlow as he recounts, from dusk through to late night, his adventure into the Congo to a group of men aboard a ship anchored in the Thames Estuary.
The story details an incident when Marlow, an Englishman, took a foreign ... read more
The setting of the novel ranges all over Europe, emphasizing places with which Shelley herself was familiar: Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, and even the Arctic.
Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, is one of the most celebrated classic of world literature. If you have yet not read it, this is your chance to discover that the most heinous of human existence is selfishness and pride.
Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus remakes the myth of Prometheus, a Titan of Greek mythology, who ... read more