Category Archives: Books

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 […]

December 31

Andersen’s Little Match Girl

Here is an aspirational dramatic story about hope, love and generosity, the important matters in life, set in the last day of the calendar year, 31st of December. The Little Match Girl  (Danish: Den Lille Pige med Svovlstikkerne) is a short story by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), first published in 1845. The editor […]

December 30

Guru Ramana Maharshi on Meditation

We all want to be that little bit better in the new year, both on the inside and on the outside . Love yourself, love the world around you, better yourself through meditation! Heed the advice of Ramana Maharshi (1879–1950), born on the 30th of December 1879 in Tamil Nadu, South India; here are some snippets from interviews with […]

December 29

The Awakening of Joyce’s Lust for Beauty

For those soul-searching, here is an excerpt from  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the first novel of Irish writer James Joyce (1882 – 1941). This autobiographical Künstlerroman is unprecedented in literature for its use of free indirect speech prefiguring Joyce’s stream of consciousness technique. American modernist poet Ezra Pound had the novel published in book format […]

December 28

How to Read a Book

You might have some welcome time on your hands in the holiday season, so why not dig into a new book! But do you really know how to read a book? Mortimer J. Adler (1902 – 2001) was born in New York City on the 28th of December 1902 to Jewish immigrants. Adler co-founded the […]

December 27

Darwin’s Beagle Journals

Here is something for those explorers planning a new year full of exciting travels! On the 27th of December 1831, Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) embarked on his first journey aboard the HMS Beagle, during which he began to formulate the theory of evolution. The trip lasted almost 5 years taking him from Plymouth to […]