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Mark Twain

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Mark Twain Biography

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910) was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer.  Originally from Florida, United States. He grew up on his Uncle Jonh’s farm, a rich slave trader who owned about twenty slaves, and Mark’s father would take care of the crops. The farm was located in Hannibal, a small town in Mississippi, place that would work as a source of inspiration for Twain’s future literary creations.

At the age of eleven, he had to face the death of his father which left him only with his mom. Therefore, he decided to leave school. Over time, with the help of his brother, he entered as a typographer’s apprentice in the Hannibal Journal, where he began getting interested in writing and he would continue to make his first newspaper articles in other publishers.

At the age of eighteen and with some economic independence, he decided to leave the house to start a new life. Life led him to settle for the first time in New Orleans; where he began as an apprentice pilot of a riverboat on the Mississippi River, a profession that was easy for him and in which he worked for until the river traffic was affected by the consequences of the Civil War of 1861. Because of this, together his brother enlisted in an irregular company of cavalry volunteers belonging to the Confederate army. They were sent to Nevada, where they tried their luck in the rudimentary silver mines.

He always kept in mind that his goal was to make a fortune. Therefore, in the mines, he worked hard to achieve it, but the situation was not as pleasant as he imagined it, so he decided to start working as a journalist in the Territorial Enterprise of Virginia City, writing articles with great ease, which produced a rapid popularity. Being twenty-eight years old, he understood that looking for fortune could bring him an unhappy life, and he decided to put all his effort to do what he enjoyed the most. Writing. He traveled to San Francisco, in 1864, where he would meet writers like Artemus Ward and Bret Harte.

“It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt” ― Mark Twain

A year later, he was inspired by the stories of the gold miners of California and wrote his famous short story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, achieving a great reputation throughout the country. This short story was published in the literary session of several newspapers in the city, where he signed with the pseudonym Mark Twain, although this pseudonym had been already adopted by him since 1863. This artistic name was chosen by him because it is an idea that expresses the depth necessary for optimal navigation.

Each of his trips was undoubtedly the birth of a story. In 1867, he made a trip through Europe and the Holy Land and based on this experience, he would write the story of “The innocents abroad” (1869). This story is really an excuse for Mark to express his vision about the experiences, the perspective of the places he visited: what his agents were like, his railroads, his hotels, etc. All with a view free of prejudice and very sincere. At this time, Mark was dating Olivia Langdon, the daughter of a businessman convinced of the anti-slavery struggle. He would marry her in 1870 and settled in Hartford, Connecticut.

In that place, he wrote many stories such as “Roughing it” (1872), in which he tells his experience as a journalist and gold seeker. Undoubtedly, one of his most famous stories was the novel “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” (1876) in which he described his childhood in the small town next to the Mississippi River where he lived great adventures. From that moment on he published a considerable amount of stories, the most popular are: “A tramp abroad” (1880) which tells the journey of a character between the Black Forest, in Germany, and the Swiss Alps; The Prince and the Pauper (1882) that is a story developed in the England of the Tudors; “Life on the Mississippi” (1883) is an autobiography in which he describes his experience as a boat pilot; “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1884), sequel of Tom Sawyer; “Following the equator” (1897); “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” (1889) it is a strong satire on the atmosphere of oppression in feudal England.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” ― Mark Twain

Some of the titles mentioned above were edited and published by his own publishing house Charles L. Webster and Company founded in 1884. In this editorial, he also supported the emergence of small authors. Ten years later, he decided to improve his editorial and invest in an automatic printing press. However, this idea did not go well and Twain ended up with a large debt. Therefore, he had to stop the role of the publisher and use his fame to promote several conferences around the world to obtain funds.

Between 1890 and 1900, his writings changed some of the style and content, exposing his remarkable pessimism due to the failure of his printing press and the closure of the Charles L. Webster and Company. In addition to the unfortunate death of his daughters by meningitis and epilepsy, his wife would become ill and die. During this period he would write Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894), a story that perhaps was inspired by the anti-slavery fight of his son-in-law, about a murder on racial grounds. In addition, he wrote Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896). Besides, he was the author of stories such as The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg (1899) and The war prayer (1905), also he created some political essays, such as The Mysterious Stranger (1916).

In recognition of his outstanding work as a journalist and writer, he was awarded by the University of Oxford the Honoris Causa doctorate in 1907. Three years later, Mark Twain dies in Redding, Connecticut due to a heart attack.

After his death, he was recognized as the father of American literature. A talented writer who had the gift of turning every experience of his life into an admirable story.

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Author

Walter Scott

Walter Scott Biography
Henry Raeburn / Public domain

Walter Scott Biography

Sir. Walter Scott (August 15, 1771 – September 21, 1832) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. British writer, poet, and lawyer considered the founder of the historical novel. Scott was one of the key figures of the Romantic Movement in the United Kingdom. He began his long career as a writer at the end of the 18th century, at which time he published the translation of the ballads of G.A. Bürger, The Chase, and William and Helen (1796). Among his most acclaimed writings, are The Lady of the Lake (1810), Guy Mannering (1815), Rob Roy (1817), Ivanhoe (1819), The Monastery (1820), and The Talisman (1825). Most of these works were published anonymously. However, towards the end of the 1820s, the identity of the author was revealed.

Early years

Son of Walter Scott, lawyer, and Anne Rutherford, with only two years of age, contracted polio. Disease that seriously affected his health, leaving as a limp in his right leg. At this time, he lived with his grandfather Robert Scott in Sandyknowe. After four years he returned to Edinburgh, city in which he carried out his studies. Subsequently entered the University of Edinburgh, where he studied law, as did his father.

After graduating he began to practice his profession. At this time, he began to collect information about the myths and legends of Scotland while carrying out his duties. This theme was addressed by Scott in different works.

Literary career

Towards the end of the 1790s he began his career, translating the work of Gottfried A. Bürger, Leonore, as well as the ballads included in The Chase, and William and Helen (1796). Shortly thereafter translated Götz von Berlichingen of Goethe, book based on the life of the poet and adventurer Götz von Berlichingen, known as Iron Hand. At the beginning of the 19th century, he published the collection of ballads collected during his travels, entitled Minstrels of the Scottish Border (1802). This includes famous Scottish ballads such as The Young Tamlane, The Twa Corbies, The Douglas Tragedy, The Wife of Usher’s Well, The Cruel Sister and The Daemon Lover. After its publication, the work had little reception, however, the author continued to update this collection until 1830.

In the mid-1800s, he published the poem The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), a writing that was well-received, followed by Ballads and Lyrical Pieces (1806), a written work while serving as secretary of the courts of justice in Edinburgh. Later, Scott published Marmion: a Tale of Flodden Field (1808), a romantic historical poem that ends with the death of the protagonist in the Battle of Flodden Field. Two years later, he published The Lady of The Lake (1810), one of his most acclaimed poems by the author.

He later published The Vision of Don Roderick (1811) and The Bridal of Triermain (1813). In 1814 he published his first novel Waverley, a work set in the Jacobite uprising of 1745 in the United Kingdom; it was published anonymously since the author was a public official. After its publication, the work became a success.

Since then, he published several novels using different pseudonyms as Author of Waverley, Jebediah Cleisbotham, Crystal Croftangry, and Lawrence Templeton, among others. It should be noted that at this time the author’s identity was a fairly well-known secret. After Waverley (1814) wrote Guy Mannering (1815), The Antiquarian (1816), Rob Roy (1818) and Ivanhoe (1819), a novel story set in medieval England that tells the story of Wilfredo de Ivanhoe, noble Saxon, likewise, delves into the contradictions between the Saxon people and the Normans. This is one of the most outstanding works of the author.

Three years later he published The Adventures of Nigel (1822) and Peveril of the Peak (1822), followed by Quintin Durward (1823), a novel set in France by Louis XI. Later published Redgauntlet (1824), Tales of the Crusaders (1825) and Woodstock or The Knights: A Story of 1651 (1826).

That same year the author’s identity was revealed; year in which the author went through one of the most difficult moments of his life, given that his wife Charlotte Carpenter died and the Constable publishing house, in which he had invested a large amount of money he went bankrupt. Leaving a debt of 130,000 pounds, which he paid for the rest of his life.

At the end of the 1820s, he published The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte (1827), a book in which he delves into the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. The following year he published The Beautiful Young Woman of Perth (1828) and Tales of the Grandfather (1828), followed by History of Scotland (1829-1830), The Daughter of the Mist (1829), Bonnie Dundee (1830) and Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft (1831), the author’s last work. At this time, Scott, stopped writing and his health began to deteriorate rapidly. Scott passed away on September 21, 1832, was buried in Dryburgh Abbey.

The author’s work is considered a pioneer in the field of the historical novel, his writings are exalted by critics, since in these he realistically addresses historical events linked to his native Scotland and the Middle Ages, vividly evoking the context in which the protagonist of the history. Scott profoundly influenced the work of European writers, as well as painters and musicians; the writings of this have been represented in the theater, cinema, and television on several occasions.

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Author

Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo Biography
Taken from @mariekondo. Link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BsRK-MvhQNw/

Marie Kondo Biography

Marie Kondo (October 9, 1984) was born in Tokyo, Japan. Writer and businesswoman, famous for being the creator of the Konmari method. A system that explains the proper way of organizing the home so that only the necessary is available and what makes the owner happy, avoiding the accumulation derived from the tendency to cling to the past. Kondo’s method has become a trend, after the publication of her first book The Magic of Order (2011), in which she delves into the method and highlights the positive aspects of order, emphasizing the serenity and relaxation an organized house inspires, which will be reflected in the daily life of people living in the home.

Early years

Kondo was interested at an early age in order and cleanliness, influenced by magazines about decoration and the home that her mother bought. While growing up, she spent a lot of time alone, since her mother took care of her younger sister, who at that time was just a baby. During these years she studied and continued to cultivate her love for order. When she entered the institute she began ordering the shelves while other students practiced sports.

Upon entering the University of Tokyo, she noticed that ordering helped her stay calmed and release the stress produced by the studies and partials. One day she organized for the first time she experienced a state of total calm and perfect order, which motivated her to choose the organization as a profession.

The Konmari method

At 19, while studying at the University of Tokyo, she became a consultant and created the Konmari method, a System in which she explains the proper way to organize the home and other spaces, so that they become spaces of inspiration and serenity, which to some extent influences the mental health of the people who inhabit the place. The Kondo method proposes the elimination of unnecessary things, likewise, on a more personal level, it promotes the termination of unproductive relationships that do not positively influence the person. The goal of the system is to bring happiness and serenity to the person who carries it out.

Konmari is based on the steps that Kondo followed in the organization of her home, as well as certain aspects of Eastern philosophy, feng shui, and inspirational coaching. This is divided into five steps: the first is the selection and organization of clothing, only what is used is chosen, looks good or produces happiness to the owner. After the selection must be organized so that everything is visible and accessible.

The second is focused on books, only those that are of great importance are chose, preventing them from exceeding 30 books. The next step is the papers, keeping what is in force or necessary, then they are stored in folios. The fourth step is the komono, also understood as various objects that you have in the home such as photos, CDs, magazines, among others, of these should only remain what has great emotional value.

Finally, sentimental articles should be selected and organized, as mentioned above, only objects that have a deep sentimental value and that produce happiness should be chosen. If that is not the case, it should be discarded since only objects that do not contribute to growth would be accumulating and peace of the person. This method has been widely disseminated since the publication of Kondo’s first book, entitled The Magic of Order (2011), which was well-received by the public. Shortly thereafter launched happiness after order (2012), in which delves into the method and well-being that it brings; subsequently published The magic of order. An illustrated novel (2017).

These books were transformed into lectures, audiobooks, and articles, through which, Kondo, has become one of the most prominent figures of recent years. After the publication of these, the author has participated in various radio and television programs in Japan and other countries, such as Ellen Show and Rachael Ray Show. Also has been interviewed by the Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue Magazine, among others.

In 2015, she was included in the list of the 100 most influential people in the world created by Time magazine, list in which the outstanding Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has also been included. At present, her company has a long list of clients whom she helps transform her spaces into places of inspiration and serenity. In January 2019, the series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo was launched from Netflix, in which Kondo is seen visiting and organizing homes based on her method.

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Author

Joël Dicker

Joël Dicker Biography
Krimidoedel / CC BY-SA

Joël Dicker Biography

Joël Dicker (June 16, 1985) Born in Geneva, Switzerland. Swiss writer considered one of the most relevant writers of recent years. Before devoting himself fully to writing he studied for a short time Drama in Paris, and Law at the University of Geneva, a career that ended in 2010; Dicker rose to fame that same year, winning the prestigious Prix des Ecrivains Genevois award, an award aimed at highlighting unpublished works.  Subsequently published the successful books: The Last Days of Our Fathers (2011), The Truth About The Harry Case Quebert (2012), The Book Of The Baltimore (2015) and The Disappearance Of Stephanie Mailer (2018). Their success turned Dicker into a phenomenon of international sales.

Early years

Son of a high school teacher and a bookstore; he has three brothers. Dicker spent his childhood in Geneva, the city where he began his academic training. While studying he began to be interested in writing, an interest he cultivated by becoming the manager of nature and animal magazine. After attending elementary school, he entered the Collège Madame de Staël, an institution where he continued polishing his writing skills. It is worth mentioning that although he was attracted to writing, he did not like to study.

At the end of this training period, he moved to Paris, where he began taking acting classes at the renowned French drama school, Cours Florent. After a year he dropped out of school and returned to his hometown, where shortly thereafter he began studying law at the University of Geneva. At 19 he wrote his first work, The Tiger (2005), a short story set in Tsarist Russia, specifically in the government of Tsar Nicholas II. Five years later he graduated, obtaining the title of Lawyer.

Joël Dicker’s work

The trajectory of the young writer began in the mid-2000s, at which time he published the story, The Tiger (2005), a work he presented in a youth literary contest but was dismissed since for the judges it was suspected that such work was written by someone so young. In the story, he deepens on topics such as existential dilemmas, violence, the possibility of redemption and the great questions that human beings pose, this was set in the government of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II.

Five years later he won the Prix des Ecrivains Genevois prize, awarded by the Geneva Writers Society for the best manuscript not published for the work The Last Days of Our Fathers, written that was published a year later thanks to the prize. The Last Days of Our Fathers (2011), set in the period covered by World War II, focused on the strategy of Winston Churchill and the actions of the Special Operations Executive, an espionage agency infiltrated in the Nazi army lines.

In 2012, he published the criminal mystery, The Truth About The Case Harry Quebert (2012), a work that revolves around Marcus Goldman’s investigation of the murder of Nola Kellergan, who was close to the friend and mentor of writer Harry Quebert. This paper was awarded the Goncourt Prize and the Novel Grand Prix of the French Academy.

In 2018, the work was adapted to television in the miniseries format, which was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and starring Patrick Dempsey. Three years after the publication of The Truth About The Harry Quebert Case (2012), The Baltimore Book (2015) came out, written that continues the investigations of the young writer Marcus Goldman, this time he investigates the Goldman family of Baltimore, from the period of opulence to the decline of the family and the emergence of drama.

The most recent work of the author is The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer (2018), a thriller that revolves around the mysterious disappearance of a journalist who at that time had discovered the irregularities of an old homicide case, by revealing this information to the police officer in charge of case disappears.

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Author

Henri de Saint-Simon

Public domain

Henri de Saint-Simon Biography

Claude Henri de Rouvroy, Count of Saint-Simon (October 17, 1760 – May 19, 1825) was born in Paris, France. Historian and political theorist, he was one of the founders and theorists of modern socialism. The Count of Saint-Simon was part of the military who fought in the War of Independence of the United States (1775-1783), later joined the revolutionary cause in Paris becoming a Republican.

He was appointed president of the Paris Commune in 1792, at which time he renounced his noble title and changed his name to Claude Henri Bonhomme, after being accused of speculation and spending a short time in jail focused on writing, publishing the books The industrial system (Du système industriel) and New Christianity (Nouveau Christianisme).

Early years

He was born into an aristocratic family. Among his relatives is Duke Louis de Rouvroy de Saint-Simon, author of Memories (1739-1752), a book in which he described the court of Louis XIV of France. Due to family tradition, he began his military career at an early age actively participating in the United States War of Independence (1775-1783), in favor of the colonies. After returning to the country began the revolutionary movement that ended in the outbreak of the French Revolution (1789-1799), political and social conflict that marked the history of the eighteenth century, driving profound changes in various parts of the world as the establishment of the republican model. During the development of the revolution, Saint-Simon became a Republican and was appointed president of the Paris Commune in 1792.

In the course of his government he was accused of speculation of national assets and criticized for his close relationship with Georges-Jacques Danton, which caused him to be detained between 1793 and 1794. During the Directory (1795-1799), Saint-Simon lived on comfortably, since he had a good fortune, at that time his home was visited by prominent figures of the time such as Gaspard Monge, Joseph-Louis de Lagrange, and Guillaume Dupuytren. Later, he traveled to Germany, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, in the course of the trip he began writing his first works.

Literary Works

At the beginning of the 19th century, he published his first work entitled Letter from a resident in Geneva to his contemporaries (Lettres d’un habitant de Genève à ses contemporains), where he outlined what he would later define as capacity theory. After spending several years living comfortably, his fortune began to decrease, which is why he faced serious economic problems. To sustain himself he wrote several scientific and philosophical articles with which he managed to stabilize his economic situation. For this same period he mentioned one of his best-known phrases in the newspaper L’Organisateur:

 If France lost its main physicists, chemists, bankers, merchants, farmers, blacksmiths, etc., it would be a body without a soul. On the other hand, if I lost all the men considered most important in the State, the fact would not bring more pain than the sentimental one

This statement was seen negatively and he was prosecuted for it. Starting the 1820s he published his next work called The Industrial System (Du système industriel, 1821) and four years later he published his most exalted work New Christianity (Nouveau Christianisme, 1825), a work in which he criticized the doctrine of Jesus and sat the basis for establishing a new Christianity that was more in line with the original evangelical teachings. After the publication of the book, he was ruined again, which is why he planned to take his life off of a shot. However, he failed and was injured in one eye, a short time later driven by one of his disciples decided to create the newspaper Le Producteur, but shortly before his appearance, he passed away. The renowned French theorist died on May 19, 1825, in Paris.

After his death, his approaches and ideas were disseminated by his disciples who created the ideological movement known as Saint-simonianism which was of great relevance in later generations influencing the formation of utopian socialism. His ideas were exalted by philosophers Karl Marx and Émile Durkheim. Saint-Simonianism’s thinking was based on his personal experience during the development of the French Revolution and the fall with the coup d’état orchestrated by Napoleon Bonaparte. In this, he stated that the government should be managed by industrialists such as workers, peasants, and owners, mentioned that the place that clerics had in the social order should be occupied by scientists; religion should guide social classes so that they improve their quality of life.

Finally, he mentioned that the redistribution of goods should be based on the capacity of each individual. These ideas influenced the work of Auguste Comte, John Stuart Mill, and various socialist philosophers.

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Art

John Ruskin

John Ruskin Biography
https://www.instagram.com/p/BtniEAND1uz/

John Ruskin Biography

John Ruskin (February 8, 1819 – January 20, 1900) writer, painter, art critic, and reformer. He was born in London, England. His parents were Margaret Cox and John James Ruskin, a rich merchant who instilled in him a passion for art, literature, and adventure. He studied at the University of Oxford. In 1837, he entered the University of Oxford. Then, he founded a drawing school for students: the Company of St George, for social improvement, useful arts, and the defense of an ornamentalism linked to the reform of society.

He received socialist influences, especially from the group of “Sheffield socialists,” as did William Morris. He advanced a postulate regarding the relationship between art and morals, these dissertations appear in the first volume of Modern Painters (1843), a work that provided an important place among art critics. Later, he published The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849) and The Stones of Venice (1851-1853), where the moral, economic and political importance of architecture were analyzed. In 1851 he became interested in pre-Raphaelist painters such as Dante Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, and John Everett Millais.

His ideas denounce the aesthetic numbness and the pernicious social effects of the Industrial Revolution. His work at Oxford ended in the rejection of the vivisection practices carried out in the laboratories of that institution. After marrying Effie Gray, he published Conferences on architecture and painting (1854), Conferences on the political economy of art (1858) and Fors Clavigera (1871-1884).

Ruskin suffered some psychiatric episodes and little by little he lost the sense of reality. Finally, he died in Lancashire on January 20, 1900. He aroused the admiration of generations of Victorian artists, especially as an introducer of the neo-Gothic taste in England, the greatest champion of pre-Raphaelism. Currently, part of his works is preserved between drawings of nature and different Gothic cathedrals at the University of Oxford.

 

WORKS

  • Modern painters
  • The seven lamps of architecture
  • The stones of Venice
  • Conferences on architecture and painting
  • The political economy of art
  • Two ways
  • Sesame and lilies
  • The morale of dust
  • The crown of wild olive
  • Fors Clavigera
  • The Amiens Bible
  • Preterite
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