BACH, JOHANN SEBASTIAN
German composer born of a
family of renowned musicians. Composer of many famed
chief of which are his Brandenburg
Concertos. Bach specialised in church music and composed 265 Cantatas. He also wrote
extensively for the organ and harpsichord. Today he is considered to be one of the world=s greatest composers.
BACON, FRANCIS (1561-1626)
Lord chancellor of England,
philosopher, essayist and statesman. Was a foremost representative of British empirical
philosophy? He stressed the importance of observation in scientific enquiry. Wrote The
Advancement of Learning and Novum
Organum which led to the development of modern science. A man of letters whose Essays
and other writings mark him as a master of English prose.
Considered by some to have been
the poet of modern civilization. Rejected Romanticism and became a seeker of God searching
Him in every manifestation of creation. Was the main French translator of Edgar Allan Poe.
He influenced the French school of advanced poetry. His major work is Les Fleurs Du Mal.
American writer and
philanthropist. Authored Uncle Tom=s Cabin, a book which contributed
to popular feelings against slavery and the ensuing civil war. Wrote many studies of
social life and published religious poems. Some
of her other works are The Mayflower and Dred: a Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp,
many studies of social life in both fiction and essay and religious poems.
BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN (1770-1827)
German musical composer and
creator of unparalleled original music. Composed many great works chief among which are 9
magnificent symphonies, the Moonlight and Appassionata sonatas, the opera
Fidelio, the Rasoumoffsky Quartets and two superb masses. While totally deaf,
he composed the magnificent 9th symphony. His music is considered to have
reached heights never exceeded since.
French vitalist philosopher. He
reacted against the static materialism of the
ninenteenth century. Postulated a Dynamic Life Force which can be recognized intuitively.
Called an anti-intellectual by academics. He made significant contributions to metaphysics
and has deeply influenced the artists and poets of his age. He is considerered to have
influenced William James, George Santayana and
Alfred North Whitehead.
English painter, poet and
engraver and visionary mystic. Considered one of the earliest and most important figures
of the Romantic movement. Wrote and illustrated his own books. Blake=s favourite subjects were
scenes from the Bible and Dante=s works. Some of his finest
works are The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Visions of the
daughters of Albion and Songs of Innocence and experience.
BOIARDO, MATTEO (1440
Italian poet and Count of
Scandiano. Wrote the chivalrous epics Orlando Innamorato and Orlando Furioso which
combine elements of Arthurian and Carolingian traditions of romance. Loved study and
poetry and wrote many works in both Latin and Italian. Future epic writers emulated and
expanded on his style.
English novelist and poet.
Considered by some to be the greatest of the Bronte sisters. Only wrote the highly
imaginative novel: Wuthering Heights. Little is known about her because of her
reserved life. Her contributions in the area of poetry indicate, according to some, true
English poet and wife of famed
English poet Robert Browning. Known predominantly for her love poems. Wrote Sonnets from the Portuguese, but her most
ambitious work was Aurora Leigh which became a huge popular success. Spent the last
years of her life in Italy where she died in her husbands arms.
Major English poet of the
Victorian age. His greatest work was The Ring and the Book. Also wrote Paracelsus,
Sordello and a great number of poems. Married Elizabeth Barrett with whom he had a
very happy marriage. In his last years
wrote long narrative and dramatic poems often
dealing with contemporary
many modern poets such as Robert Frost and Ezra Pound.
philosopher, astronomer and mathematician whose theories anticipated modern science.
Burned at the stake because declared heretical.
Saw God as the only reality. Wrote
metaphysical works, dialogues, satire and poetry. Stands as one of the most important
figures in the history of western thought.
Platonic philosopher, poet and writer. Sought to reconcile Renaissance Humanism
with Roman Catholic theology. Best remembered for his work Citta Del Sole, written
while he was a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition. While in prison, he wrote poetry which is considered to be the most original of the
period. He also wrote a collection of thirty books titled Theologia.
French painter and one of the
greatest post-impressionists. Influenced many other artists and the
ACubism@ movement. Specialized
mostly in landscapes and still lifes. Created many masterpieces such as
AThe Mills of Gardane,@
AThe Card Players@ and
AThe Boy in a Red Waist Coat.@ His finest achievements
in his final years when he created many masterpieces.
poet. Considered to be the greatest English poet preceding Shakespeare. Traveled across
Europe as an English diplomat .Wrote Book of the Duchesse, an elegy for the Duchess
of Lancaster, Hours of Fame, a love
vision narrative poem and the
romance Troylus and Criseyde. His greatest work is his unfinished masterpiece, Canterbury
Tales, ranked as one of the greatest poetic works in English.
Major Russian playwright,
foremost master of the modern short story and a major representative of the Russian
realist school of the late 19th century. Some of his greatest masterpieces are The
Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. Today he is chiefly
known for his plays, but critical opinion
increasingly views his stories as greater.
Polish astronomer. Famous for
being the proponent of the idea that the earth rotates around its axis and around the sun.
Wrote the Commentariolus a manuscript summary of his theory and later his complete
work De Revolutionibus Orbum Celestium. His views had a profound impact on science
The greatest poet of the
Renaissance. Also a prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher and political
thinker. Wrote many important works such as The New Life, Il Convivio and De Monarchia. His
greatest work, the Christian epic, The Divine Comedy, is considered to be one of
the landmarks in world literature.
DA VINCI, LEONARDO
sculptor, architect and engineer. Revolutionized Italian painting by emphasizing soft
transitions in light. In science, he anticipated the invention of planes and submarines.
Executed some of the finest anatomical drawings ever achieved. Painted the famed
AMona Lisa,@ and
AThe Last Supper.@ He is considered to be one
of the greatest geniuses of all time.
English novelist and political
writer. The publication of The Review
was a landmark in English journalism. Wrote the world famous Robinson Crusoe,
Moll Flanders, Roxana and Journal of the Plague Years. His style is said to
have been influenced by the Bible, John Bunyan and
the pulpit oratory of the day.
Major proponent of the French Romantic movement. His use of colours influenced both
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements. His
inspiration came chiefly from historical and contemporary events. Some of his most famous masterpieces are
Dante and Virgil in Hell, Liberty Leading the People and
Death at Sardanapalus.
DELEDDA, GRAZIA (1875-1936)
and writer of the AVerismo@ (Naturalistic) school of Italian literature. Was awarded the Nobel Prize for
literature in 1926. One of her favourite themes was the effect of temptation and sin among
primitive human beings. Her most important
works are Dopo il Divorzio (After the Divorce), Elias Portolu, and Cenere
DESCARTES, RENE (1596-1650)
philosopher and mathematician. Also called Cartesius. Founded modern philosophy and was
one of the world=s most
influential thinkers. His foundational principle is expressed in his AI Think Therefore I Am.@
existence to be a self-evident truth. Made significant contributions to physical sciences.
DICKENS, CHARLES (1812-1870)
to be the greatest English novelist of the Victorian era. Heavily interested in social
injustices and dedicated to producing social reforms. Wrote world-famous works such as Oliver
Twist, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Great Expectations and A tale of Two
Cities. Ranked by some as the greatest English novelist.
DONNE, JOHN (1573-1631)
poet of the metaphysical school and dean of St. Paul cathedral in London. Started with
lyric poetry. Later he wrote intensely religious poetry and became known for his eloquent
sermons. Had a powerful influence on the writers of the 17th and 20th century. Wrote Devotions upon Emergent
and Essays on the Divinity.
DOSTOEVSKY, FEDOR (1821-1821)
novelist journalist and short story writer. His novels explore human freedom, the
justification of religion and psychological conflicts. Among his greatest works are Crime
and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. His understanding of the dark side
of the human mind and his profound insights had a profound impact on the 20th
DRYDEN, JOHN (1631-1700)
poet, critic and dramatist. Made poet laureate by Charles II. Wrote several plays such as The
Indian Princess, The conquest of Granada and Auren-Zebe. Known primarily as a
poet. Author of AOde For
St. Cecilia=s Day,@ AAlexander=s Feast@ and AOde to
the Memory of Mrs. Anne Killigrew.@
EINSTEIN, ALFRED (1878-1955)
physicist. Most famous for conceiving the general theory of relativity. Also contributed a
mathematical description of Brownian movement and to the quantum theory. Was awarded the
Nobel prize in physics in 1921. His scientific contributions are recognized as the most
important of the century.
ELIOT, THOMAS STEARNS (1888-1965)
poet. A leader of the Modernist movement in poetry. He was very influential over 20th
century culture in the period between the two world wars. Received the Nobel Prize for
literature in 1948. Some of his best poetic works are
and Other Observations,@ APoems@and AThe Waste Land.@ Among
his best known plays in verse are Murder in the Cathedral, Family Reunion, The Cocktail
Party and The Elder Statesman.@
EMERSON, RALPH WALDO (1803-1888)
poet, essayist, lecturer and the leading exponent of New England transcendentalists. Known
for his inspirational writings such as Nature and The American Scholar. Some
of his best known poetic works are
Rhodora,@ and ACondor
Hymn.@ His works stressed, above all, the spiritual potential of man.
FICHTE, JOHAN (1762-1814)
philosopher and disciple of Kant. One of the greatest transcendental idealists. Believed
that knowledge and love of God were the end of life and that the divine order of the
universe was the highest aspect of the life of reason. Wrote The Vocations of Man, The
Characteristics of the Present Age and The Way Toward the Blessed life.
FIELDING, HENRY (1707-1754)
novelist and playwright. Considered to be one of the national founders of the English
novel. Among his major works are Joseph Andrews, Tom Jones and Life and Death of
Tom Thumb. His works abound in a concern for morality and compassion for human
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN (1706-1790)
statesman, scientist, philosopher, inventor, publisher and scientist. Spent much time in
scientific pursuits. Helped draft The Declaration of Independence of which he was a
signer, and helped draw up The American Constitution. At the end of the
Revolutionary war, he was one of the diplomats chosen to negotiate peace with Britain. He
also contributed to science with his experiments in electricity.
GALILEO GALILEI (1564-1642)
scientist, mathematician, astronomer and physicist. Considered a founder of the
experimental method. Supported the Copernican Theory and was declared a heretic as a
result. His major works are Dialogue
Concerning Two Chief World Systems and Dialogue Concerning Two New Sciences. Proposed
the Law of Uniform Acceleration for falling bodies, developed the astronomical telescope,
discovered craters on the moon and showed that the Milky Way is composed of stars.
GILBERT, WILLIAM (1544-1603)
the most distinguished man of science in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the
First. His major work, On the Great Magnet of the Earth, describes fully his
research into magnetic bodies and their electrical attractions. He concluded many things
about astronomy which where later proven to be true.
GLUCK, CHRISTOPH (1714-1787)
composer. After producing operas in current styles for 20 years, he produced the
revolutionary Orfeo and Euridice, characterized by simplicity, naturalism
and an emphasis on drama rather than vocal virtuosity. Composed the operas Alceste,
Iphigenio, and Aulide which departed from tradition because French librettos
were used. Influenced Mozart and Cherubini.
GOETHE, JOHAN (1749-1832)
novelist, playwright and natural philosopher. The greatest figure of the German Romantic
Period. His greatest work, Faust, dramatizes
the battle between good and evil and is considered to be the greatest masterpiece in
German literature. His written works are contained in 133 volumes (Weimar edition).
GOGOL, NIKOLAY (1809-1852)
born, Russian humorist, dramatist and novelist. By writing Dead Souls, considered
to be his masterpiece, and The Overcoat, he established the foundations of the
great 19th century tradition of Russian Realism. Preaching and pleasing God were his first
aims until the end of his life. Believed that God had endowed him with literary talent to
teach the Russians the righteous way of living in an unrighteous world.
HANDEL, GEORG, FRIEDRICH (1685-1759)
composer. Combined German and Italian styles, and later English and French. Composed
successfully in Italy and England. Wrote 46 operas and then moved to compose Oratorios.
Among his best are Israel in Egypt and Samson and Jeptha. His most loved
oratorio remains his Messiah. Was particularly appreciated by the British
people for his sense of charity and concern for other people.
HARVEY, WILLIAM (1578-1657)
physician who discovered the true nature of the circulation of blood and of the heart as a
pump. Was appointed physician extraordinary to the king. His major work is On the
Motion of the Heart and Blood of Animals. Harvey=s
exacting scientific method of research influenced scientific research for generations.
HAYDN, FRANZ, JOSEPH (1732-1809)
composer. Wrote 85 string quartets and 104 symphonies. While visiting London, he composed
the two greatest works of his old age. The Creation and The Seasons. In 1797 he wrote The Emperor=s Hymn, which became Austria=s
national anthem. Has been called the father of symphony for his development of symphonic
form and orchestration.
HEGEL, GEORG, WILHELM (1770-1831)
idealist philosopher who created the dialectical scheme. He influenced the development of
Existentialism, Positivism and Analytic Philosophy. Some of his great works are The
phenomenology of the mind, The science of logic and The philosophy of
right. Taught that matter was the counterpart of spirit. Was one of the foremost
exponents of Idealism. He conceived the very influential concept of
ADialectic,@ that is that thesis and antithesis will lead to synthesis.
HEINE, HEINRICH (1797-1856)
poet. Wrote Romanzero which contains some of his finest poems and Poems
1853-1854, considered to be of the same caliber. Accepted the idea of a personal God
after falling gravely ill. Wrote many satires in prose and poetry on German life and the
unfairnesses of the social order. His works were banned during the Nazi regime.
INGRES, JEAN (1780-1867)
of the French tradition of Neo Classical painting after David. Heavily influenced by
Raphael, he was the leading classicist of his period and an excellent draftsman. His works
are today found in some of the world=s
greatest museums. Because of his fame, he was made a life-long senator and received many
honours. Some of his greatest works are ATurkish
women at the Bath,@ and
great portraits such as AMme
Poitessier@ and ALa
KANT, IMMANUEL (1724-1804)
metaphysician and philosopher whose work in the theory of knowledge, ethics and aesthetics
had a very strong influence on subsequent philosophy .His greatest works are Critique
of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical reason,
Critique of Judgement and Religion within the Boundaries of Pure Reason. In addition to he also wrote various scientific
works. He is considered to be one of the greatest modern thinkers.
KAFKA, FRANZ (1883-1924)
born, German-Jewish writer of visionary fiction, which expresses the anxieties of 20th
century man. In philosophy, Kafka is akin to the Danish thinker Søren
Kierkegaard and to 20th-century existentialists. His work has the qualities both of
expressionism and of surrealism. His best works are The
Judgement, The Castle and The Metamorphoses. Was rediscovered after WW
II and had a strong influence on German literature and modern writers.
KEPLER, JOHANNES (1571-1630)
German astronomer and natural
philosopher, known for formulating and verifying the three laws of planetary motion. These
laws are now known as Kepler's laws.
discovered that the earth and planets travel about the sun in elliptical orbits, thus
transforming the old description of the heavens.
He became imperial mathematician and court astronomer to Rudolf
II, Holy Roman emperor. His
greatest works are Tabulae Rudolphinae and Admonitio and Astronomos.
KIEKERGAARD, SOREN (1813-1855)
religious philosopher and critic of Rationalism. Regarded as the founder of Existential
Philosophy. Kierkegaard's influence was at first confined to Scandinavia and
to German-speaking Europe, where his work had a strong impact on Protestant theology and
on Austrian novelist Franz Kafka. As
existentialism developed into a European movement, Kierkegaard's work was widely
translated, and he was recognized as one of the important figures of modern culture. Wrote Either Or, Stages of
Life=s Way, Fear and Trembling, Works of Love and Christian Discourses.
LEIBNIZ, GOTTFRIED WILHELM (1646-1716)
German philosopher, mathematician. Important as a metaphysician, a logician and for
inventing the differential and integral calculus. In metaphysics he conceived a system in
which substance consists of atoms which form a pre-established perfect harmony with God as
Creator. Among his works are his New Essays, On Human Understanding, The Theodicee and
LEOPARDI, GIACOMO (1798-1837)
Considered by some to be one of Italy=s
greatest poets. By age twenty, had written several outstanding odes, including On a monument to Dante. Leopardi
first attracted public notice with his patriotic ode "All'Italia" (To Italy). Today he is known as the greatest lyric poet of
19th-century Italy. Operette Morali is his outstanding prose work. He is best known
for his lyrical odes.
LISZT, FRANZ (1811-1886)
Hungarian virtuoso and composer. Aside
from his achievements as pianist and conductor, Liszt taught more than 400 pupils, turned
out some 350 compositions, and wrote or collaborated on 8 volumes of prose, not counting
his correspondence. Among his best works are twelve symphonic poems, two piano concertos
and several sacred choral works. He influenced the music of his times and anticipated many
LOCKE, JOHN (1632-1704)
English philosopher. One of the first outstanding liberals and empiricists in
British thought. His main ideas are expounded in his Essays Concerning Human
Understanding. He advanced ideas in education and the sovereignty of the people. Some
of his other major works are Two treatises on Government and The Reasonableness
LONGFELLOW, HENRY WADSWORTH (1807-1882)
American 19th century poet. During his lifetime, was considered to be
one of the most popular American poets. Longfellow=s contemporaries praised his
poetry for its clarity and simplicity. Recognition as a poet came with his Voices in
the Night, followed by Ballads and Other Poems. He is one of the most
loved American poets.
LOWELL, JAMES RUSSELL (1819-1891)
American poet, essayist, editor, diplomat, and critic best known for his poetry. Opposed the Mexican War and slavery. His works
include A Fable for Critics, The Vision of Sir Launfal, Biglow Papers and My
Study Windows. His volumes of verse
include Under the Willows, The
Cathedral, Three Memorial Poems, and Hearts
ease and Rue and Political Essays.
MAHLER, GUSTAV (1860-1911)
Austrian-Jewish composer and conductor, whose works contributed greatly to the
post-romantic development of the symphony. He was noted for his 10 symphonies and various
songs for orchestra. Also composed songs for voice and piano and left an unfinished tenth
MANZONI, ALESSANDRO (1785-1873)
Italian novelist. Wrote several tragedies and some poetry. His most famous work is
the greatly loved, The Betrothed, which made him the leading Italian Romanticist. The
Betrothed is ranked among the masterpieces of world literature. Also wrote Sacred
Hymns, Adelchi and Il Conte Di Carmagnola. Was revered by men of his time, and
was made senator in 1860.
MARITAIN, JACQUES (1882-1973)
Roman Catholic philosopher, and the modern interpreter of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Influenced by the French philosopher, Bergson. He also devoted much of his time to a
philosophy of the arts. Among his major works are Art and Scolastique, The
Degrees of Knowledge, Men and the State and Moral Philosophy.
MASCAGNI, PIETRO (1863-1946)
Italian composer and representative of
Verismo in operatic music. Studied at the Milan Conservatory, conducted for a
travelling opera company and taught piano. His first opera, Cavalleria Rusticana,
won a major musical competition and became world famous. His other successful operas are
L=Amico Fritz, and Iris.
He often conducted his own works.
MICHELANGELO, BUONARROTI (1475-1564)
Italian sculptor, painter and architect who was one of the great titans of the Italian Renaissance. In sculpture,
architecture, painting and poetry he had a great influence on his contemporaries and
Western art in general. Created some of the world=s greatest masterpieces. He
painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgement. Sculpted the
great David, The Moses and The Pieta. Also composed many remarkable sonnets.
MELVILLE, HERMAN (1819-1891)
American novelist, short story writer and poet. Best known for his novels of the
sea. Wrote the masterpiece Moby Dick. Also wrote Typee: A Peep at Polynesian
Life, Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas
and Mardi: And a Voyage Thither. These and other novels
contributed to making him the most celebrated American writer.
MILL, JOHN STUART (1806-1873)
English philosopher, economist, political scientist. His major publications are A
System of Logic and Principles of Political Economy. Also wrote Three Essays
on Religion and On Liberty. Made important contributions to inductive logic. Did much reform work, helped the poor, and
advocated universal suffrage and franchise.
MILTON, JOHN (1608-1674)
English poet who had a powerful influence on succeeding poets. Dedicated to the
defence of civil and religious liberty. Authored pastoral poems and political works. His
greatest work is Paradise Lost, considered to be one of the world=s greatest masterpieces.
Twelve books long, it describes Satan=s revolt against God and
the fall of man. Also wrote the sequel, Paradise Regained, and high caliber sonnets
in Petrarchan form in both Italian and English.
MIRANDOLA, PICO DELLA (1463-1494)
Italian Renaissance scholar and humanist philosopher. Belonged to the group of
Florentine humanists and was noted for great learning. Wrote an eloquent essay on human
dignity. He also wrote works on philological, mystical and other subjects.
Pico completed his Heptaplus, a mystical account of the creation of the universe.
His library was one of the largest and comprehensive of his times. Gave away all his
possessions and became a wandering preacher.
MOZART, AMADEUS (1756-1791)
Austrian composer. Began playing the clavier by three and composing by five. Toured
Europe as a pianist at six. By age eight his first symphonies where published. Wrote
musical masterpieces throughout his life. His most famous works are his operas The
Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosi` Fan Tutte,
and The Magic Flute.
Also wrote the Jupiter and Coronation symphonies.Was a master in every field
NEWTON, ISAAC (1642-1727)
English mathematician, physicist and philosopher. One of the leading pioneers of
science. Had a revolutionary influence on man=s view of the physical
world. He enunciated his universal laws of gravitation and motion. Made important
contributions to the Corpuscular Theory of Light, the construction of the telescope and
other works in optics. Discovered Calculus at the same time as Leibnitz. His chief works
are the Principia and Optics.
PASCAL, BLAISE (1623-1662)
French mathematician, physicist, religious
philosopher and writer who was the founder of the modern theory of probabilities.
Influenced other thinkers such as Rousseau, Bergson, and the existentialists. His major
works are Les Provinciales and Pensee. Pascal
is considered one of the great minds in Western intellectual history.
PASTEUR, LOUIS (1822-1895)
World renowned French chemist and biologist who founded the science of
microbiology, proved the germ theory of disease, invented the process of pasteurisation
and developed vaccines for several diseases, including rabies. His major works are Oeuvres
Completes and Correspondence. By the time of his death , Pasteur had become a
English Quaker leader and advocate of religious freedom, who founded Pennsylvania.
Was jailed in the Tower of London for having published the religious tract The Sandy
foundation Shaken. During his imprisonment he wrote
his most famous book, No Cross,
No Crown. Later, in Newgate Prison, he wrote The Great Case of the Liberty of
Conscience in defence of religious tolerance.
PETRARCH, FRANCESCO (1304-1374)
Italian scholar, poet and humanist whose poems addressed to Laura, an idealized
beloved, contributed to lyric poetry in the Renaissance. Regarded as the greatest scholar
of his age. His humanist ideas were a major contributor to the development of the
Renaissance. His major works are De Vita Solitaria, De Otio Religioso, Rime and
POPE, ALEXANDER (1688-1744)
English Poet and satirist of the
English Augustan period who modelled himself after great poets of classical antiquity. Was
the foremost poet of his age. He is best known for his poems. Some of his greatest
literary works are, An Essay on Criticism, The Rape of the Lock, The Dunciad and An
Essay on Man. His Essay on Man is believed to be a classic of English
PUCCINI, GIACOMO (1858-1924)
Italian operatic composer. Wrote several very successful operas, which are often
played in opera houses around the world. His most loved operas are Manon Lescaut, La
Boheme, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, The Girl of the Golden West and Turandot.With
Verdi and Rossini, he is considered to be one of Italys greatest operatic composers.
PURCELL, HENRY (1659-1695)
Englands greatest native composer who wrote virtually all kind of music known
during the restoration. Composed much official and church music. His greatest
accomplishments lay in theatre music. His masterpiece is Dido and Aeneas. He also
composed five operas, incidental music to forty-two plays, sonatas and about one hundred
PUSHKIN, ALEXANDER (1799-1837)
Russia=s greatest poet. He was the
founder of modern Russian literature. Wrote exceptional epic and lyric poems, plays,
novels, and short stories. Exerted a profound impact on Russian operatic composers who
based several of their operas on his works. Some of his major works are The Queen of
Spades, Eugene Onegin and The Captain=s Daughter.
RABELAIS, FRANCOIS (1483?-1553?)
French writer, scholar, physician and humanist. Mostly known for authoring the
comic and satirical masterpieces Pantagruel and Gargantua. His work
emphasised individual liberty and excitement for knowledge and life. He is an energetic representative of Renaissance
humanism. Had a great influence on Voltaire, Balzac, Swift and Kingsley.
RENOIR, PIERRE AUGUSTE (1841-1919)
French painter. Considered to be one of the greatest painters of the Impressionist
period. He is noted for his brilliant colours and the charm of his human subjects. In the
mid 1880's broke away from the movement to a more formal style. Some of his greatest works
are, Le Bal au moulin de la Galette, Madame Charpentier
and her Children, Woman with Fan, and The Swing. His art is greatly appreciated worldwide and is
found in all great museums.
RILKE, RAINER MARIA (1875-1926)
Austro-German poet and novelist who wrote mystical, symbolic, impressionistic and
lyrical poetry. His works include The Book of Hours, and The Tale of the Love
and Death of Cornet Cristopher Rilke. Also wrote his famous Eulogies and Sonnets
to Orpheus. He is regarded as one of the most important and influential modern poets.
ROSSETTI, CHRISTINA (1830-1894)
English poet and writer who excelled in poems of fantasy, verse for children and
religious poetry, homilies and discourses. Considered to be one of the world=s greatest female poets. Her major works are Goblin Market and Other
Poems, and Verses and New Poems. Also wrote, When Im Dead my
Dearest, Uphill, and
RUBENS, PETER PAUL (1577-1640)
Flemish painter Considered to be the greatest and most influential of the Flemish
masters, and one of the most important artists of the 17th century. Known for
his vibrant vigorous style and his luminous colours.
Several of his paintings are in the
Louvre museum in Paris and in other major museums worldwide. Some of his greatest works
are The Raising of the Cross, The Descent From the Cross and The Assumption of
the Virgin. Influenced other great artists such as Watteau and Delacroix .
ROUSSEAU, JEAN JACQUES (1712-1778)
French philosopher, writer and political theorist musician, botanist and one of the
most capable writers of the Age of Enlightenment. He inspired the romantic generation and
offered ideas on how to minimise social inequality. Was propelled to fame by the essay
ADiscourse on the Sciences and the Arts@ written for the Academie De Dijon. Other major
works are The New Eloise and The Social Contract.
SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM (1564-1616)
English poet, dramatist, and actor often called the English national poet and
considered by many to be the greatest dramatist of all times. Some of his greatest
comedies are Comedy of Errors, Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Taming of
the Shrew. Also wrote great tragedies such as , Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth,
Hamlet and King Lear. Because of his
great plays and his exquisite sonnets, he is now recognized as one of the worlds
greatest literary giants.
SHAW, GEORGE BERNARD (1856-1950)
Irish comic dramatist, literary critic and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature
in 1925. Considered to be one of the most important British dramatists since Shakespeare.
Some of his works are The Apple Cart, Caesar and Cleopatra and St. Joan for
which he received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1925. Was a significant
influence on his and later generations.
SIBELIUS, JEAN (1865-1957)
Finnish romantic and nationalistic
composer. Gained his first success with Kullervo. Wrote eight symphonies and the
popular tone poem, Finlandia. Also composed En Saga, The Swan at Tuonela,
and Valse Triste as well as incidental music for plays, violin and piano solos and
SOLZHENITZYN, ALEXANDER (1918- )
Soviet novelist and historian. Imprisoned for criticising the Soviet regime. Exiled
to Central Russia he taught Mathematics and wrote One Day in the Life of Ivan
Denisovich. Later he wrote his major works, The Gulag Archipelago, The Oak and the
Calf and The Mortal Danger. Considered to be the most important Russian
literary artist of the second half of the twentieth century. Was awarded the Nobel Prize
for literature in 1970.
SPINOZA, BENEDICT DE (1632-1677)
Dutch rationalist philosopher and
religious thinker of Portuguese-Jewish
descent. Believed to be one of the world=s
greatest philosophers. His ideas appear in Ethica and Tractatus
Teologico-Politicus. His Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata captures best the
essence of his thought. Influenced Leibnitz
and German Idealism.
STRAVINSKY, IGOR (1882-1971)
Russian-American composer and one of the most influential musical composers of the
20th century. Had a significant influence on contemporary music. Composed the
masterpiece The Firebird Ballet and the revolutionary Le Sacre Du Printemps.
Also created neo-classical piano and violin concertos and the Mozartian opera The Rake=s Progress.
SWIFT, JONATHAN (1667-1745)
Anglo-Irish satirist and political. Considered one of the greatest Masters of
English prose and one of the most effective satirist of his times. Known mostly for his
brilliant satire, Gulliver=s Travels,
which became a classic story for children. Some of his other major works are A Modest
Proposal and Tale of the Tub.
TASSO, TORQUATO (1544-1595)
Italian poet. Considered the most influential poet of the Italian Renaissance. His work includes the beautiful pastoral play Aminta,Torrismondo,
the epic poem Rinaldo and his immortal epic Jerusalem Delivered. He was
summoned to Rome to be crowned poet laureate, but died before the ceremony could take
TCHAIKOVSKY, PETER ILICH (1840-1893)
Russian composer. Considered to be a master melodist. He composed several
outstanding works among which are the Synphonie Pathetique and the operas Eugene
Onegin, and Pique Dance, the
ballets Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty and his world renowned Nutcracker
TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, PIERRE (1881-1955)
Roman Catholic priest, geologist philosopher-theologian and palaeontologist, known for his
revolutionary views on humanity and the universe. Blended
science with Christianity. His fundamental work is The Phenomenon of Man. Also
wrote The Appearance of Man.
English poet, often regarded as the chief representative of the Victorian age in
poetry. His first work , Poems Chiefly Lyrical, appeared while he was still a
student at Cambridge. Some of his works are The Princess, In Memoriam, The Charge of
the Light Brigade and Ballads and Other Poems. Also wrote several plays . He
was raised to peerage in 1884.
THOREAU, DAVID HENRY (1817-1862)
American essayist and naturalist. Lover of the simple life. Lived in a cabin at
Walden Pond for two years and, as a result, wrote
the classic Walden, or Life in the Woods. Was a strong anti-slavery man and an
energetic Transcendentalist. His fame grew after his death. Also wrote The Maine Woods,
Excursions and Cape Cod.
TOLSTOY, LEO (1828-1910)
Russian novelist and philosopher. Wrote two of the greatest of all novels: War
and Peace and Anna Karenina. His conversion to religion is described in his Confessions.
By the time of his death he had given away all of his possessions to the poor and needy.
He was devoted to social reform. Also wrote Resurrection and The Power of
UNGARETTI, GIUSEPPE (1888-1970)
Italian poet and founder of the Hermetic Movement. Wrote several works including Allegria
Di Naufragi, Sentimento Del Tempo and Il Dolore, in which he expressed his
grief over Nazi atrocities. Ranks with Montale as one of the foremost European poets of
the 20th century. With him begins a period of great revival in Italian poetry.
VICO, GIANBATTISTA (1668-1744)
Italian philosopher of cultural history and law who is recognized today as the
forerunner of cultural anthropology and ethnology. In his work Scienza Nuova, he
tried to bring about a convergence between history and the more systematic social sciences
so as to create a single science of humanity. His other major works are On the Method
of the Studies of our Times and Bibliotheque. Recognized as one of the most
important figures in European intellectual history.
VOLTAIRE, FRANCOIS (1694-1778)
French author, playwright, philosopher and one of the greatest authors of the
eighteenth century. A crusader against tyranny and bigotry. Noted for his satire and
critical ability. His best known plays are Zaire, Merope and
Mohamet. His satirical stories, Candide, and Zadig and his long
epic La Henriade are also famous.
WEIL, SIMONE (1909-1943)
French mystic social philosopher whose works had particular influence on French and
English social thought. Wrote Cahiers Du
Sud, La Pesanteur et La Grace, Waiting for God, The Need for Roots and Fully
Dedicated to God and Christ.
WITTGENSTEIN, LUDWIG (1889-1951)
Austrian born English philosopher who was one of the most influential figures in
British philosophy during the second quarter of the twentieth century. Produced two
original and influential systems of philosophical thought: his Logical Theories and his
Philosophy of Language. Wrote the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and
WORDSWORTH, WILLIAM (1770-1850)
Major English Romantic poet and poet laureate of England. His Lyrical Ballads,
written with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped launch the English Romantic movement. Also
wrote The Prelude, very fine lyrics and The Excursion. His theories and
style contributed to a new tradition in poetry
Drimmer, H. The New University One
Volume Encyclopaedia. New York: New University Encyclopaedia Division, 1967.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, . Toronto: Encyclopaedia
Britannica, Inc., 1989.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia
99. Microsoft Corporation.