literature

Your World Poetry Day Poet: Federico Garcia Lorca

In our latest Facebook poll, in honour of World Poetry Day, you voted Spanish writer Federico García Lorca as your favourite poet. In second place was William Shakespeare and in joint third, Walt Whitman and Polish Nobel prize winner, Wisława Szymborska. Whilst at university, the drama society I was part of put on one of […]

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Where would the Oscars be without European literature?

Last night saw the ever glamorous Academy Awards, or Oscars, take place in Hollywood. This year – the awards’ 85th –  saw many nominations for two films derived from  great works of European literature: Les Misérables and Anna Karenina. Les Misérables, which was up for ‘Best Picture’, is based of course on French novelist Victor […]

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Francis Bacon, Shakespeare and Secret Societies

Sir Francis Bacon, first Viscount of St Albans,  was born on 22 January 1561. He is well-known for his contribution to science. In fact, science and research is what it is today because of Bacon. The methodology of science and research, something we may not even think about as having an origin, of ever not […]

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Cicero: greatness and a grisly end

January 3rd marks the anniversary of the birth in 106BC of a man called Marcus Tullius Cicero. I have to admit that prior to today, I had only heard the word Cicero mentioned in the context of the song ‘Cell Block Tango’ from the musical Chicago. In the song, though, it refers to the city Cicero, […]

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Nobel Prizes 2012: Literature

The winners of the 2012 Nobel prizes are being announced this week. So each day, we’re looking to see what Nobel-related content we have in Europeana. Today, we congratulate Mo Yan on winning the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature. Follow @NobelPrize_org on Twitter for the latest info! However, if you’re wondering who the first winner of the […]

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Celebrating Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë, author of classic novel Wuthering Heights was born on this day in 1818. Portrait of Emily Brontë by her brother, Branwell. Public Domain image. Emily was the third eldest of the four surviving Brontë siblings. Sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne were all writers. Their first volume of poems was published under the pseudonyms Currer […]

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All for one and one for all!

210 years ago this week (on July 24th 1802 to be exact), Alexandre Dumas, the writer of classic adventure novels The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers was born. Dumas was the grandson of a French nobleman and a Haitian slave, and was born into poverty. Les Mousquetaires, drame d’Alexandre Dumas et Auguste […]

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Dear Diary… Is there still a place for you?

Image by incurable_hippie, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License. Today, 6th July, marks the 70th anniversary of Anne Frank’s family going into hiding in their Secret Annex at 263 Prinsengracht, Amsterdam. 13-year-old Anne had been writing her now-famous diary for less than a month. Her work, which has sold over 31 million […]

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Man of Letters: Manuel José Quintana

Manuel José Quintana was a Spanish patriot and neoclassical poet born on April 11th 1772 in Madrid. He is one of the most important names in Spanish Literature during the transition from Enlightenment to Romanticism. Quitana  was at the forefront of liberal ideas in politics and advocated his ideologies through his work until his death in […]

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Jules Verne, the master of science fiction

Today we are celebrating the 184th birthday of Jules Verne, one of the founding fathers of science fiction and the second most translated author in the world after Agatha Christie. Born in the harbour city of Nantes, France, the young Jules Verne spent a great amount of time watching the ships navigate the Loire River. […]

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Charles Dickens

Today we are celebrating Charles Dickens‘ 200th birthday. Charles Dickens, the author of some of the most iconic novels and characters in English literature, was born at Landport, Portsea, on 7 February 1812. There he spent perhaps the happiest time of his life. In 1822, the family moved to London due to financial difficulties, which […]

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Charles Perrault’s fairy tales

Charles Perrault is a name that is familiar to the young and old all over the world.  Who doesn’t know his Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty? Perrault was born on 12 January 1628 to a wealthy Parisian family. After studying law, he pursued a career in government service. When the Académie des […]

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Understanding Pessoa through his library

Contributed by our Prod­uct Devel­oper David Haskiya: I’ve recently discovered a collection in Europeana that quickly has become one of my favourites: the digitised library of the Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa. Checking out his library gives me that same feeling I get when I visit someone’s house or apartment and study their bookshelves in an attempt […]

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Venice and famous Venetians

On this day in 1866, after Austria lost control of Venice, the city was ceded to the newly created United Kingdom of Italy. Venice is known not only for its splendid beauty, but also for being home to some of the most renowned people in history. According to UNESCO, “[t]he whole city is an extraordinary […]

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French philosopher and writer Denis Diderot

A prominent figure of the Enlightenment, philosopher and writer Denis Diderot was born in Langres, France, on 5 October 1713. After receiving his degree in philosophy and briefly studying law, he decided to become a writer. Because of his refusal to enter one of the learnt professions, Diderot was disowned by his father. In 1745, […]

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This week in history

August 1 – One of the most renowned victims of the Holocaust, Anne Frank made her last diary entry in 1944. Three days later, the Frank family was discovered and arrested by the Nazis. August 2 – The opera house La Scala (Teatro alla Scala) opened in Milan in 1778. August 4 – Elizabeth, Queen […]

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