Category Archives: Books

March 19

Tarzan and the Story of White Settlers in Africa

On the 19th of March 1950, the American writer widely known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs, died in Enciano, California. After doing various low paid jobs, first at a ranch in Idaho, then at his father’s firm, and later as a pencil sharpener wholesaler, he did not take up […]

March 07

Alice B. Toklas and Her Famous Pot Fudge

On the 7th of March 1967, Alice Babette Toklas, a longtime lover, secretary, editor, cook, and companion of the writer Gertrude Stein, died in Paris, France. An American of Polish descent, Toklas met Stein in Paris on the 8th of September 1907, and fell in love with her. The feeling was mutual, and so the […]

February 25

Bullfighting: Art vs Moral Dilemma

On the 25th of February 1906, the Spanish bullfighter Domingo Ortega was born in Borox, Toledo, Spain. His career as a bullfighter had been prompted by a spectacular incident, which took place in the summer of 1928 during a novillada – a bullfight of young bulls. Ortega, witnessing the bullfighter being dangerously injured, jumped into […]

February 17

Sadeq Hedayat: Forbidden Voice of Iranian Literature

On the 17th of February 1903, the Iranian modern writer Sadeq Hedayat was born in Tehran, Iran. A child of Iranian aristocratic parents, Hedayat went to a French catholic school, and in 1925, was selected together with a few other students to travel to Europe to continue his studies. There, he pursued various unsuccessful enterprises […]

January 17

Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard’: Comedy or Tragedy?

On the 17th of January 1904, The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov had its premiere at the Moscow Art Theatre. The play was staged by the famous actor/director and creator of the eponymous Stanislavski method, known as “method acting”, Constantin Stanislavski. The original intention of Chekhov was for The Cherry Orchard to be a comedy; […]

January 04

Charlotte Lennox’s ‘The Female Quixote’

On the 4th of January 1804, the English author and poet Charlotte Lennox, née Ramsay, died in London. The fact that she was buried in an unmarked grave at Broad Court Cemetery is, in some metaphoric way, meaningful. In her writing, and especially in The Female Quixote (1752) (or The Adventures of Arabella) – a novel imitating […]

January 03

The Good Soldier Švejk: A Fool Against the System

 “When Švejk subsequently described life in the lunatic asylum, he did so in exceptionally eulogistic terms: ‘I really don’t know why those loonies get so angry when they’re kept there. You can crawl naked on the floor, howl like a jackal, rage and bite. If anyone did this anywhere on the promenade people would be […]