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Donald Trump has dramatically demonstrated how frighteningly easy it is to render character assassinations of opponents, manufacture fake news, and distort otherwise well-documented facts. There is, however, precedence for this kind of malfeasance: French government and the country’s historians have been doing it since 1870 and focusing on one victim in particular. Indeed, no man, […]
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The following piece on poet and Nobel Prize laureate T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), whose birthday is on Sept. 26, was written by Joseph Maddrey, who is contributing a book on Eliot’s life and work for our Great Lives series. Maddrey is a freelance writer, TV producer and author of several books, including The Making of T.S. Eliot: A Study […]
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With Halloween only days away, now is a good time to remember one of the most haunting moments in cinematic history—the iconic shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 movie Psycho. It shows the female protagonist, Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh) being stabbed to death by a shadowy figure, as she is taking a shower in her motel room. The...
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The following piece on poet and Nobel Prize laureate T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), whose birthday is on Sept. 26, was written by Joseph Maddrey, who is contributing a book on Eliot's life and work for our Great Lives series. Maddrey is a freelance writer, TV producer and author of several books, including The Making of T.S. Eliot: A Study of the Literary Influences (2009). He...
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Born a son of a village church sexton in rural Germany, Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) became known as one of the 20th century’s most influential philosophers. Heidegger, whose birthday is on Sept. 26, made significant contributions to the field of existentialism, as well as psychology, political theory, and theology. His main interest, however, was ontology or the study of being. His...
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When John Coltrane was born in 1926, the Jazz Age was in its heyday. At 17, when his mother gifted him his first saxophone, the teenager’s musical talent was already budding. And by the time of his untimely death in 1967, Coltrane, whose 91st birthday would have been on Sept. 23, was hailed as one of the most influential and...
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Forty-one summers have passed since that once-only event when a single writer, a poet, won the trio of the most prestigious literary awards: Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in the same year. His name? John Ashbery (1927–2017), whose death on September 3 was confirmed by his husband, David Kermani. Ashbery received the...
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To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death on July 18, 1817, the Bank of England is introducing a new £10 banknote featuring the likeness of the celebrated English novelist (1775–1817). The unveiling ceremony of the new bill will take place this Tuesday at Winchester Cathedral where she is buried. “Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and...
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"Science is opposed to theological dogmas because science is founded on fact." When the Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) wrote this line in a 1935 article,  he couldn’t have known that he would posthumously become the subject of a fierce debate between these two opposing factions. Given his stated preference for science, Tesla, whose birthday is celebrated on July 10,...
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With his gloom-ridden mind that spawned somber novels and short stories, Czech writer Franz Kafka (1883-1924), whose birthday was celebrated on July 3, seems like an unlikely source of a fun endeavor. But earlier this year, his books—long enjoyed in print, adapted for the big screen as well as the stage—were given a new medium: The Franz Kafka Videogame. Loosely...
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