Franz KafkaFranz Kafka is identified as a German-speaking Bohemian writer because he was born and lived in Prague, now part of the Czech Republic but then the capital of Bohemia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He is considered one of the major figures of 20th century literature, writing works that combined realism and fantasy, surrealism and … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Franz Kafka
Ida M. TarbellI haven't written many Classic Author Focus posts about nonfiction writers yet, but I thought it would be interesting to write about Ida Tarbell, who was a ground-breaking investigative journalist. She was the author of many muck-raking articles and books and is particularly famous for an exposé about the Standard Oil Company and … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Ida Tarbell
I don't think we hear much about George Sand anymore, but she was one of the most popular novelists of her time, more renowned than her peers Victor Hugo or Honoré de Balzac, and her popularity never flagged during her lifetime. She was one of the most notable writers of the Romantic period, which emphasized … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: George Sand
Naguib Mafouz was a prolific Egyptian writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He wrote 34 novels, more than 350 short stories, movie scripts, and hundreds of op-ed newspaper columns. Many of his works have been made into films. Mafouz was the youngest child of a Muslim family in Cairo that was so strict … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Naguib Mafouz
Last month's discussion about what a classic book was very interesting and provoked a lot of response, I thought, so I figured I would suggest another topic, this one much more subjective. When you read classic literature, what's your preference, or will you read anything? Do you prefer the "literary" authors, like Dickens, Hugo, Austen, … Continue reading Monthly Meme: What Kinds of Classic Books Do You Prefer?
Christa WolfChrista Wolf was a literary critic, novelist, and essayist who was born into a pro-Nazi family in an area of Germany that now belongs to Poland, Gorzów Wielkopolski. After World War II, being German, they crossed into Germany, and ended up living in East Germany. After university, while working as an editor for two … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Christa Wolf
I know that the Classics Club has addressed this topic before, but it's one that I've struggled with, first when I made up my first list, and more recently as I post our club reviews. That activity more than any other has convinced me that members must have different definitions of a classic. I began … Continue reading Monthly Meme: A Topic Revisited: What Makes a Classic?
Amrita PritamWith over 100 books of poetry, fiction, biography, and essays, Amrita Pritam is beloved on both sides of the India-Pakistan border. She is considered the first major woman Punjabi poet and wrote in both Punjabi and Hindi. Born in the Punjab to a father who was schoolteacher and a preacher of the Sikh faith … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Amrita Pritam
I selected Miklós Bánffy to write about this month because I am reading Volume I of his Transylvania Trilogy, the work he is most famous for. This trilogy depicts the decline of Hungary heading toward the first world war. Bánffy was a nobleman, a member a distinguished family of Transylvania, which until 1916 was a … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Miklós Bánffy
Jean Rhys is, of course, best known for Wide Sargasso Sea, her imagining of the life of Mrs. Rochester, the "madwoman in the attic" in Jane Eyre. She was born on the island of Dominica in the British West Indies, and it was not until she wrote a book set in the Caribbean that she gained … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Jean Rhys
Mary Gilmore was an Australian socialist writer and poet who was the first woman to be awarded the honor of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She is considered a national literary icon of Australia. Gilmore was born in New South Wales as the daughter of a Scottish farmer, David Cameron, and … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Mary Gilmore
Miguel de CervantesCervantes doesn't fit into my plan of writing about lesser known classic authors, but he certainly led an interesting life. He was born into a family of minor gentry that was going steadily downward in the world. He may have been largely self-taught, although the head of a municipal school in Madrid referred … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Miguel de Cervantes
Dame Ngaoi MarshDame Ngaoi Marsh doesn't exactly fit in with my idea of focusing on lesser known classic authors, at least if you're a reader of classic mysteries, but then not all my choices have followed that theme. We also haven't focused on anyone from that part of the world yet. Ngaoi Marsh is best … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Dame Ngaio Marsh
Gabriela MistralGabriela Mistral was a Chilean poet, diplomat, and educator who was the first Latin-American author to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. She was also more recently shown through an archive of her letters to be a lesbian, despite her image being appropriated by Pinochet's military dictatorship as an example of a celibate, saint-like … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Gabriela Mistral
Thomas MofoloThomas Mofolo only wrote three books, but he is renowned for being the first author of Western-style novels in the language of Sotho. He is also world famous for his last book, Chaka, because it depicted European Colonialism as a bad influence on the native populations and celebrated the Zulu king. Mofolo was born … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Thomas Mofolo
When I thought it was about time I featured a classic Asian writer and looked for a woman writer, my searches did not find the name of anyone except modern writers or classic male writers. Then I remembered The Tale of Genji. No one actually knows who Murasaki Shikibu, the author of the Japanese classic The … Continue reading Classic Author Focus: Murasaki Shikibu