Archive for the ‘Classic Authors and Their Works’ Category

Celebrating Jane Austen’s 238th Birth Anniversary

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Today is 238th birth anniversary of Jane Austen, one of the most celebrated and widely read authors of English literature. Born on December 16, 1775, Austen was the seventh of the eight children of the rector of Steventor, Hampshire. She Jane Austenlived her entire life as a part of a supportive family that let her to learn the custom and the lifestyle of the middle class, upper class and the gentry. At a very early age she started writing stories, sketches and satires of the most acclaimed novels for her family’s entertainment.

Though the realm of Austen’s works was as circumscribed as her life, her biting irony, social commentary and keen observation made her equal of one of a handful of authors who have found enduring fame with both popular and academic readers. She was known for addressing the issues of class-consciousness and gender politics through her well-plotted characters and storyline. On her birthday, let’ remember this legendary soul through the works of literature. Here we have compiled the most popular major and minor works of Jane Austen, dating from her early life to the last incomplete works of her later years.  

She earned a huge fame as a published writer with her four major works:

Sense and Sensibility (1811):

Sense and SensibilityThough Sense and Sensibility was not the first novel written by Jane Austen, it was the first published novel in 1811 under the pseudonym “A Lady”. Set in the Southwest England, this novel revolves around the dreams, love, romance, desires and deeds of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne.  

 

Pride and Prejudice (1813):

Pride and Prejudice

Sold more than 20 Million copies all over the world to date, this is one of the most popular published works in English literature. A romantic novel set in the early 1800′s, Pride and Prejudice was initially entitled “First Impressions.” This much admired love story centers on the main protagonist Elizabeth Bennet who deals with the issues of family, education, women, class-distinctions, manners, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England.

Mansfield Park (1814):  

Mansfield Park

Written at Chawton Cottage between 1812 and 1814, Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound. After undergoing several revisions and corrections, the novel was finally published in May 1814 by Thomas Egerton.

Emma (1816):

Emma

A well written and an enormously funny Jane Austen’s novel Emma explores the concerns and intricacies of well-intentioned women living in 19th-century English village. Her finely drawn personalities along with a lively comedy of provincial manners make this one of Jane Austen’s finest novels.

 

These two additional novels were published posthumously in 1818:

Northanger Abbey (1817):

Northanger

One of Jane Austen’s earliest novels, Northanger Abbey was brought out posthumously in late 1818. Of all her highly acclaimed novels, this one is the most explicitly literary in that it is primarily concerned with books and with readers. The novel concerns over the matters of courtship and marriage. Throughout the novel, Austen elaborates the economic importance of marriage: in 18th century England, fortunes were built through family alliances.

Persuasion (1818):

Persuasion

Published in 1818, this is the last finished novel by Jane Austen. Set partly in Bath, a fashionable city with which the author was well acquainted, this novel chronicles the story of the Austen’s most appealing heroine Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth and their meeting after years of separation; Anne declined the proposal of Captain in order to satisfy familial and social duties.

Minor Works:

The Watsons (1803, 1805):

The Watsons

The Watsons is an uncompleted novel by Jane Austen. Jane started penning down this novel circa 1803 and probably stopped writing it after her father’s death in January 1805. Austen’s niece, Catherine Hubback completed this untitled and unfinished manuscript in the mid 19th century. Catherine gave the title Younger sister to this approximately 18000 words long novel.

Sanditon (1817):

Sanditon

Austen began writing this book on the 17th January 1817 and abandoned it on 18th March 1817. This is the last unfinished novel by Jane Austen set in a newly established seaside resort, offers a wonderful cast of speculators, and presents an author considering the great social commotions of the industrial revolution with a blend of skepticism and delight. The original title of the manuscript was “The Brothers” likely after the Parker brothers in the story. Later, after the death of Jane Austen, her family renamed it “Sanditon”. The original manuscript includes only the first eleven chapters of the story.

Unfinished works:

Lady Susan (1794, 1805):

Lady Susan

Lady Susan is a short epistolary novel by Jane Austen depicts the behavior of the main protagonist- the widowed Lady Susan- who engages in affairs and seeks a new suitable husband for herself, and one for her younger daughter. This novel was possibly written in 1794 but the author never submitted it for publication.

Happy 238th Birthday, Jane Austen! On this special day we remember one of the most beloved writers of all time with all our heartwarming wishes.

 

Paying Tribute to Global Icon Nelson Mandela

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

new imageToday the world mourned the loss of a great iconic and inspiring figure of our time-Nelson Mandela. An international hero, whose struggle against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Noble Prize, died at the age of 95 in Johannesburg, after a prolonged lung infection. Jacob Zuma, South African President, announced his death on late Thursday.

First democratically elected president of South Africa, Mandela survived decades in prison for his fight against the ruling National Party’s apartheid policies. In his lifelong dedication to the freedom of his people, Mandela became an enduring icon of humanism, integrity, dignity and resilience.

Born the son of a tribal chief on July 18, 1918 in the Umtata province of Transkei, Nelson Mandela was expelled from University of Fort Hare for his participation in a student strike. In 1941, he left Transkei and ran away to Johannesburg to avoid his marriage, which was arranged by the Themby chief.

In Johannesburg, he earned a law degree from the University of Witwatersrand and joined the African National Congress (A.N.C). In order to infuse new enthusiasm into the A.N.C body, he formed the A.N.C youth league that would take radical steps against the white minority’s supremacy. On 5 December 1956, Mandela was charged along with the 156 leading members of ANC with high treason ended with their acquittal 5 years later. Due to Mandela’s perseverance in fighting the apartheid system, he was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island in 1964.

Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 prison years in Robben Island and rest in Pollsmoor Prison. During that time, his name as the powerful figure of the resistance of anti-Apartheid system grew progressively. On Feb Long Walk to Freedom11, 1990, all TV channels around the world broadcast live Mandela’s walked out of prison to freedom. He was awarded more than 695 awards, including the Noble Peace Prize in 1993 and the U.S. Congressional medal in 1998.

During the course of his 27 years in prison, Nelson began writing his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom that reveals his involvement in the African National Congress and his lasting devotion to public works. He wrote many books, mostly autobiographical that gives a lot of insight into the man, his political and personal beliefs. A few books by him that disclose the horrors of apartheid and the liberation movement are “No Easy Walk to Freedom,” “Conversations with Myself,” and “In His Own Words.”

From a young boy, to a political protester, to President, to peacemaker, Mandela never wavered in his convictions. He is an epitome of forgiveness and his leadership style is an inspiration to mankind.

We extend our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to the Mandela Family and friends at this difficult time.

20 Famous Mark Twain Quotations

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

Mark TwainToday is the 178th birth anniversary of Mark Twain. A genius American author and humorist who is best known for his masterpiece, The Adventures of Tom  Sawyer (1876), and its follow-up, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). Known for his excellent works, sharp wit and brilliant quotes, the author inspired many great authors, including Kurt Vonnegut and Ernest Hemingway.

To celebrate Mark Twain’s birthday today, we have compiled here 20 dazzling quotations by him.

 1) Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

2) Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

3) It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.

4) Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.

5) Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

6) If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

7) Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.

8) I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

9) A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

10) In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.

11) Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

12) The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.

13) The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

14) Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.

15) I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.

16) Honesty is the best policy – when there is money in it.

17) Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

18) The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you figure out why.

19) I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won’t.

20) Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

Tell us in the comment section if we missed your favorite that continues to motivate you.

 

Remembering Ernest Hemingway And His Greatest Works

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

“In order to write about life, first you must live it!”  – Ernest Hemingway

ErnestOne of the most famous American novelists of the world, Ernest Miller Hemingway (nicknamed Papa), who left an indelible mark on the 20th century American Literature, is best known for his epic work, The Sun Also Rises. It was a spellbinding story written in tight and crystalline prose that had a strong influence on numerous crime fiction novels.

Born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois, United States of America, Ernest was a renowned novelist, storywriter and journalist who started writing as a high school pupil and served in World War I before publishing his story collection In Our Time. He described the incident of bullfighting in Spain in his non-fiction book Death in the Afternoon, which was released in 1932. He started from the American literary customs, which he transformed in the light of a contemporary European outlook on literature.

the sun also rises ernest hemingway 0743297334The influential American legendary icon became famous for his succinct and lucid writing style. Hemingway always wrote about those facets of life he has encountered personally like warfare, women, sport fishing, bullfighting, big game hunting, etc. He once said that my aim as a writer is “to put down what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way I can tell it”! He found a kind of mystical experience in Pain, Violence and Death and therefore portrayed these things in his novels in a totally objective manner. He had also become a cult figure due to the disastrous end of his four marriages that were widely covered in the press.

The Old Man And the SeaMost of his work published between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, including six short story collections, seven novels, and two non-fictions. His three novels— “The Garden of Eden” (1986), “Islands in the Stream” (1970), and “True at First Light” (1999, four collections of short stories, and three non-fiction works were released posthumously.

His significant last work The Old Man and the Sea, a novella, proved to be a magnum opus for him that brought him Pulitzer Prize in May 1952. He received Noble prize in literature in 1954 for his mastery of the art of modern fiction, most recently shown in The Old Man and the Sea. Sold half a million copies within months, his book For Whom the Bell Tolls became a Book-of-the-Month Club Choice. He wrote Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories, which is an anthology of short stories comprising “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” which was a tragic history of losing and regaining dignity that was considered an extremely intense short story.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

He was a savvy world traveler whose 10-week trip to East Africa for a safari in 1933 inspired much of his work including Green Hills of Africa, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro“. However, on his trip to Safari, he survived two successive plane crashes that made him increasingly fearful and depressed. In the summer of 1961, he committed suicide with his shotgun in his Ketchum home.

Although Hemingway’s legacy is at times seen as being homophobic, yet undeniably his writing and his larger-than-life personality had a profound impact on literature. His stunning success proved his knowledge of the deadlock of human values and understanding of the need of a modality to convey it effectively using artistic possibilities.

 

Let’s Commemorate Douglas Adams 61st Birth Anniversary

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”

Today, we are celebrating the 61st Birth Anniversary of a renowned author,  amateur musician and terrific satirist- Douglas Adams, who was recognized for his cult classic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series for the radio. His book was published in 1979, which was adapted from the first four episodes of this series, topped the chart only in second week of its release.

Born in Cambridge, England on 11 March 1952, Douglas Adams started his career as a BBC radio comedy, and produced an astounding number of incarnations like Television series, comic books, a towel, stage plays and a “trilogy” of five books, which sold over 15 million copies worldwide during his lifetime.

After completing his graduation in English Literature, Douglas Adams moved back to London with an aim to break into TV and radio as a writer. Here, he met Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, and the two formed a brief writing partnership. Adams was credited with writing in episode 45 of Monty Python. 

During his lifetime, he wrote a variety of mind boggling novels.His second book, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, in the five classic novels from Douglas Adams’s beloved Hitchiker Guide to the Galaxy comic science fiction pentalogy series was at first published by Pan Books as a paperback.

The third novel of the famous ‘trilogy’ Hitchhiker’s Guide (actually consisting of five books), Life, The Universe and Everything, was originally intended to be a “Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen story”. Adam dedicated his book Life, the Universe and Everything to the novelist Sally Emerson with whom he was romantically involved.

Besides his literary power, he became known as an environmental activist who campaigned the cause of wildlife conservation, which included the development of the non-fiction series “Last Chance to See,” in which he and Zoologist Mark Carwardine recorded some of the most exotic, endangered creatures throughout the world.

In between his trip to Madagascar, Adams wrote two other novels- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, which was a kind of humorous-detective-time-travel-romantic-comedy-novel and the other is a sequel novel The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

Adams was also a staunch atheist and an aficionado of music, cameras, and cars. He was an ardent technologist, who was the first person to use Macintosh from the time the original Mac came out in 1984 until his death in 2001. His posthumously published work, The Salmon of Doubt, shows several articles by him on technology that initially published in MacUser magazine, and in The Independent.

His style of humor in his comic science-fiction series “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” has left a long lasting impression on other authors. He also wrote TV: The Pirate Planet and TV: Shada and worked as a script editor for Season 17. Known as Bop Ad to some of his fans, Adams died of a heart attack on 11 May 2001.

 

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