BACH, JOHANN SEBASTIAN (1685-1750)
German composer born of a family of renowned musicians. Composer of many famed orchestral works, 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.
BAUDELAIRE, CHARLES (1821-1867)
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.
BEECHER-STOWE, HARRIET (1811-1896)
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.
BERGSON, HENRI (1859-1941)
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.
BLAKE, WILLIAM (1757-1827)
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 ?- 1494)
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.
BRONTE, EMILY (1818-1848)
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 poetic genius.
BROWNING, ELIZABETH (1806-1861)
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.
BROWNING, ROBERT (1812-1889)
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 themes. Influenced many modern poets such as Robert Frost and Ezra Pound.
BRUNO, GIORDANO (1548-1600)
Italian Renaissance 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.
CAMPANELLA, TOMMASO (1568-1639)
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.
CEZANNE, PAUL (1839-1906)
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 were. Reached in his final years when he created many masterpieces.
CHAUCER, GEOFFREY (1342?- 1400)
English 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.
CHEKHOV, ANTON (1860-1904)
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.
COPERNICUS, NICOLAS (1473-1543)
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 and philosophy.
DANTE ALIGHIERI (1265-1321)
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 (1452-1519)
Italian painter, 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.
DEFOE, DANIEL (1660?-1731)
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.
DELACROIX, EUGENE (1798-1863)
French painter. 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)
Novelist 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 (Ashes).
DESCARTES, RENE (1596-1650)
French 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.@ Believed God=s existence to be a self-evident truth. Made significant contributions to physical sciences.
DICKENS, CHARLES (1812-1870)
Considered 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)
Leading 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 Occasions, Biathanatos and Essays on the Divinity.
DOSTOEVSKY, FEDOR (1821-1821)
Russian 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 century novel.
DRYDEN, JOHN (1631-1700)
English 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)
German-American 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)
ELIOT, THOMAS STEARNS (1888-1965)
US-British 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 APrufock 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)
US 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 ABrahma,@ AThe Rhodora,@ and ACondor Hymn.@ His works stressed, above all, the spiritual potential of man.
FICHTE, JOHAN (1762-1814)
German 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)
English 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 weknesses.
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN (1706-1790)
American 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)
Italian 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)
Considered 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)
GLUCK, CHRISTOPH (1714-1787)
German 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)
German poet, 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)
Ukrainian 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)
German 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)
English 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)
HAYDN, FRANZ, JOSEPH (1732-1809)
Austrian 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)
German 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)
German-Jewish 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)
Leader 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 Comtesse D=Haussonville.@
KANT, IMMANUEL (1724-1804)
German 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)
Check 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. He 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)
Danish 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 Monadologie.
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 developments.
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 of Christianity.
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 symphony.
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)
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.
In 1489 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 of music.
NEWTON, ISAAC (1642-1727)
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 national hero.
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 Metricae.
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 neo-classic poetry.
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 songs.
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 A Birthday.
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 songs.
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 place.
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 Suite.
TEILHARD DE CHARDIN, PIERRE (1881-1955)
French, 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.
TENNYSON, ALFRED (1809-1892)
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 darkness
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 Philosophical Investigations.
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
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